BY SARAH GREGORY
The Greeneville Water Department will receive $250,000 in state grants for installation of an energy-efficient pump and variable speed drives that will help save power costs.
The $250,000 Clean Tennessee Energy Grant was part of $2.1 million dispersed to 19 recipients by the Tennessee Department of Environment and Conservation (TDEC) to promote energy efficiency, benefit the environment, and save money, according to a a news release.
"We are so honored to have been selected for this grant," said Water Superintendent Laura White.
"We were allotted the maximum award of $250,000, which, from the document sent to us by the state shows, we are the only ones to have received the total awarded amount," White said.
"I appreciate the hard work by Eric Frye, engineer, and David Ricker, chief water plant operator, in submitting the grant proposal in such a way that we were awarded the maximum grant allotment," she added.
The money awarded to the Water Department will be used in two ways.
The first project will replace three existing, inefficient pumps at the water plant with one energy-efficient pump.
A second project will allow installation of two variable-speed drives on existing pumps in order to reduce energy consumption.
White said that, currently, the pumps are either on at full speed or off, meaning that every time a pump is turned on, it requires a large surge of power that comes with a premium rate.
The variable-speed drives "allow you to ramp up power usage slowly, resulting in significantly less peak-rate power demand," White said.
The change is expected to save more than 2.8 million kilowatt hours of energy each year, resulting in estimated cost-savings of $243,194.
TDEC says the estimated capital investment cost for the pump replacement is $546,863 -- meaning the new equipment would pay for itself in just under two-and-a-half years.
In addition to energy and cost savings, TDEC said the change will reduce carbon dioxide emissions by 2,042 metric tons each year.