Power generator upgrades begin over Intersession

The power generator behind Joe Bruno stadium has been in use since 2003.

The power generator behind Joe Bruno stadium has been in use since 2003.

Tyler McNeil

Creative Editor

Power generator upgrades were completed in late December in the first part of a two-stage project to repair the Physical Plant’s aging energy infrastructure.

“This is a busy time for us in Physical Plant,” said Richard Edwards, director of the Physical Plant. “We have completed the switchgear upgrade that was planned and are very happy with the current operation of the plant.”

The Physical Plant’s voltage regulators are scheduled to receive upgrades in February in phase two of upgrades for the college’s power generators. The upgrades are expected to cost $40,000 combined.

These projects intend to help Hudson Valley avoid the power failures that occurred at the beginning of last semester, along with major shortages such as the Sept. 16 rolling blackout.

On Sept. 16 last year, power surged campuswide at 2:30 p.m., ultimately shutting down the campus and cancelling classes. The outage was caused by a low battery power switch failure. The switch failed to open while receiving full demand load electric signals from the Physical Plant, resulting in a rolling blackout campuswide.

Along with generator upgrades, the Physical Plant plans to partially tie in the Hudson Valley campus to the National Grid public utility by August 2015, before students arrive for the fall 2015 semester. Edwards said that this construction is scheduled to start early in the summer.

“It hasn’t even started, only been awarded. Construction drawings will be completed sometime in the spring,” said Edwards.

National Grid plans to work with the Physical Plant to stabilize frequency in voltage and provide the college with another power source. Prior to 2004, when Hudson Valley’s Physical Plant became self-sustaining, power at Hudson Valley was provided entirely by National Grid.

“We provide some back-up power to the campus. When the school decided to self-generate over ten years ago, we didn’t keep up with infrastructure improvements that would’ve been necessary to serve the entire campus only because Hudson Valley was no longer our customer,” said Michael DiAcetis, Community & Customer Management manager at National Grid.

Edwards started discussing connecting the Physical Plant to the public power grid with last summer. “He has come to us and we’ve had many discussions,” said DiAcetis.

The project is still up for review, but DiAcetis said that if it is finalized, National Grid will provide the college with a limited amount of power between the hours of 10 p.m. and 6 a.m.

The Physical Plant has also requested that National Grid supply extra power to the campus’s power generators during the day.

Prior to requesting public utility, Hudson Valley last worked with National Grid during the creation of the Science Center, the only building to run solely on National Grid. “The school opted not to continue to add additional power load to their existing infrastructure, so they came to us a couple of years ago and we agreed to serve the new Science Center,” DiAcetis said.

The recent request by the Physical Plant to partner with National Grid is a small fraction of the department’s needs. Maintenance and operation of the Physical Plant is projected to cost $10,382,672 for the 2014-15 academic year, or 9.4 percent of the college’s operating budget.

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