Ridgewood, NJ – “It’s a win-win situation,” the Ridgewood Mayor Paul Aronsohn said. “It really gives new meaning to a green initiative.”
Ridgewood’s wastewater treatment plant, the largest public consumer of electricity in the Village, officially welcomed a new look this week.
The facility now captures waste methane, and uses it on site, through a new Combined Heat & Power Generator, to offset most of that electricity. The new solar field also adds to the renewable energy produced on site, which is located on Village-owned property on Prospect Street in Glen Rock.
“This is the first setup where a municipality in New Jersey obtained their renewable energy through a public-private partnership,” said Donald Rodgers, NSU’s chief development officer.
Private companies Natural Systems Utilities, Middlesex Water Company and American Refining and Biochemical funded the capital cost of the project. Through a Power Purchase Agreement, the village in turn purchases the electricity at a below-market price, according to officials.
These savings will accrue well into 7 figures over the 20-year life of the contract.
“The challenge we faced,” said Eco Ed Schwartz, Sustainability Consultant, “was to coordinate this sustainability project with no budget. We were able to package this in a way that benefitted both the investors and the Village.”
The public-private partnership was praised by Village officials and representatives of the companies involved, who said the financing arrangement had no precedents in New Jersey, and few if any in the country.
Chris Rutishauser, the Village of Ridgewood Engineer adds that, “Instead of waste going into the air and increasing our carbon footprint, we’re getting another use out of it.”
Mayor Paul Aronsohn, speaking to a small crowd on hand for the event Friday, noted that by going green, the Village was saving green – cutting costs while reducing its environmental impact.
“It’s a win-win situation,” he said. “It really gives new meaning to a green initiative.”
The overall Sustainability Project also included installing solar panels at Ridgewood’s Village Hall, the EMS building, fire department headquarters and other Village-owned locations.