Proposed microgrid could cut energy costs in Carthage area

Published: Aug. 22, 2023 at 5:30 PM EDT
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CARTHAGE, New York (WWNY) - When you say cheaper power, people pay attention. That’s what a microgrid could do in Carthage.

It could use natural gas. It could use solar power. Maybe both.

Upstate New York-based Acadia Energy says one thing is certain about its proposed microgrid in Carthage - it will save people money.

“It’s savings of say 10, 20, 30 percent on your energy bill depending on how much energy we’re able to produce which depends on how much we’re able to create with how much land opportunity we have,” said Kris Betts, Acadia Energy.

A microgrid is a type of locally managed electrical grid that operates independently of larger energy services like National Grid. That means energy produced locally would be used locally.

“We should be benefiting from this. It’s our land. It’s our resources that are being used for these solar fields so we should be benefiting from it. We strongly believe in that,” said Betts.

Carthage is unique, and perhaps prime for a microgrid, given hydro dams in the Black River which could be used, or even an idle co-gen plant in the village, or build a new solar array just outside the village.

“We’re working hand in hand with the county to say where do you guys want this power? Where would it be best used? Who would be the best end-user for your economic growth,” said Betts.

the microgrid would benefit more than Carthage. The village, along with West Carthage, and the towns of Wilna and Champion are all in support of Acadia looking for funding to see if a microgrid is right for the communities.

Champion Town Supervisor Brian Peck says cheaper power could bring a lot to the table.

“We hope to have a more reliable grid but also one of the things I’m really hopeful for is the ability to attract new businesses to the town of Champion,” he said.

Acadia hopes to know more about the project’s potential in about 6 to 12 months.