The RiverWinds Advisory Board (RWAB) recommended unanimously Monday that West Deptford should get a state energy audit of the community center in the interests of lowering its operational expenses.
Jerome Prevete of the engineering consultancy Pennoni Associates—which has served on the township planning board since 2012—presented to the board on "budget-neutral capital projects” that could be undertaken to improve the infrastructure at the facility while lowering its electrical bills.
“The whole idea is for this project to cost you nothing,” Prevete said.
“There’s a charge on every utility bill you have that’s a societal benefit charge; this pool of money is now being distributed to schools and municipalities,” Prevete said.
“You’re paying for this now when you pay your utility bill; you just don’t have the infrastructure."
After the meeting, Prevete estimated the cost of such a project at the RiverWinds could run $1.5 to $2 million.
The first step, which RWAB will recommend that the township consider, is a Local Government Energy Audit (LGEA), the cost of which is fully reimbursable from the state.
Prevete estimated the LGEA could run the township $5,000-6,000 up front; the work would be done by one of a handful of state-approved companies.
Other options available to RiverWinds include a 15-to-20-year Energy Savings Improvement Plan (ESIP); ESIP plan improvements are built either through state-licensed energy service companies or by municipalities themselves.
Pay for Performance programs (P4P)'s must achieve 15 percent overall energy savings, no more than half of which can come from lighting improvements, at a minimum 10-percent internal rate of return.
In a pay-for-performance program, state dollars are available for every kilowatt-hour and dekatherm of natural gas saved, up to half the cost of a project.
“These are the most lucrative incentives that are available for all the programs, and you would qualify for them here,” Prevete told the board.
Up to an additional $2 million in funding could be made available from the state if the RiverWinds decides to build a small-footprint natural gas cogeneration system onsite.
A rough cost estimate for such a project with the cogeneration plant added could be about $3 million, with $700,000 coming back to the township, Prevete said.