WATTS NEW? Alternate Energy Projects

Barry Isett & Associates has long embraced green design.  Now we are proud to play design roles in projects that promote alternate energy.

The Hazleton office civil team is currently preparing a feasibility study and land development plans for a proposed 20-megawatt flywheel energy storage plant at the Humboldt Industrial Park, Luzerne County, PA.  Beacon Power Corporation, our client, will receive a $24-million Smart Grid stimulus grant from the U.S. Department of Energy and $5 million in Redevelopment Assistance Capital Program (RCAP) funds to assist with the completion of the $53 million energy storage plant in the industrial park.

Flywheel technology stores electrical energy and puts it back on the electrical grid at times of high demand.  Unlike conventional fossil-fuel generators that are typically used to provide this service, flywheel technology consumes no fuel, produces zero emissions of any kind, and can perform faster and more cost-effectively.  Beacon estimates the facility could save Pennsylvania consumers an estimated $3.5 million to $4.5 million in annual electricity costs for 20 years.

Headquartered in Stephentown, NY, Beacon is recognized as a leader in electricity storage.  Beacon opened a plant similar to the one proposed for Humboldt in Stephentown, NY earlier this year.

BIA recently provided design services for a 896 panel solar array for an 1,800 acre farm in Lehigh County.  The farm received over $230,000 in financial help from the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) under the Rural Energy for America Program. Rated at 200 kilowatts, the array is projected to produce 240 megawatts of electricity each year, providing up to 70% of the farm’s electrical needs.  The farm’s hay compressing operation will be the major user of the electricity from solar power, but the system is also allowing the farmer to replace one diesel engine with five electric motors, projected to save over 8,000 gallons of diesel fuel annually.

Ben Mitten, PE, LEED AP, was the Electrical Engineering Project Manager.  Our services included designing an upgrade of the facility’s electrical service from a 240 Volt, single phase system to a 480 Volt, three phase system and the necessary distribution components.  Design components included a new switchgear, feeders, and transformers.  Ben provided the design review of the PV system, interconnection and coordination of the PV system to the new electrical distribution system with the design/build PV system installer, Solar Electric Power Systems Inc.  He also coordinated service with the local power utility.  BIA’s Structural Engineering department designed the supports for the solar panels.

Congratulations to all members of the BIA team involved in these exciting new technology projects.