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A $22.7 million investment in a second cogeneration power facility at Toray Plastics (America) Inc. is an important development in the Ocean State’s efforts to help manufacturers use energy more efficiently, save money for ratepayers and reduce emission of greenhouse gases, according to R.I. Energy Commissioner Marion Gold.
“This development at Toray makes it a leader because there’s been a concern in Rhode Island, and in New England, about the high cost of energy,” said Gold. “It’s important because across the nation, there’s a concern about finding ways to help manufacturers use energy more efficiently.”
Cogeneration, or generating power for multiple purposes, has enabled Toray Plastics to take advantage of a pilot program, as well as two existing programs, to obtain more than $15 million in funding initiatives for the project, National Grid spokesman David Graves said last week.
Generally, cogeneration for the project means burning natural gas to heat water, which creates steam, which in turn powers electric generators, but can also be used to heat or to power cooling equipment, said Graves.
“The project is unique in that it enabled Toray to combine three programs to help get the job done,” said Graves.
The three programs include the Combined Heat and Power Program, a pilot program that directly benefits cogeneration projects; the Advanced Gas Technology Program, which will provide funding to help Toray install the most efficient gas-burning technology; and the performance Payment Program, which allows a company to set a target for reduced energy usage and get credit if it meets the goal.
The more than $15 million in funding initiatives comes from industrial and commercial ratepayers, said Graves.
Of the total, Toray will get $13.5 million through the state energy-efficiency plan and $1.8 million from the performance program, which sets the energy-reduction goals, said Gold.