State Unveils New "Green" Cooling & Heating Plant

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(Sacramento, CA)
Monday, August 24, 2009
A new “green-energy” cooling and heating plant in Sacramento is now supplying the capitol and about two-dozen state buildings with air conditioning. 
It went online today/yesterday (Monday). Officials say taxpayers will save money because the new plant will use 90-percent less water than the old facility.
Capital Public Radio's Steve Shadley reports...
(Sound of demolition)
Workers use a crane to knock down the wall of the state’s old cooling and heating center located a few blocks from the capitol.
Standing nearby is Will Bush.   He’s the Director of the California Department of General Services.   It manages the state’s cooling and heating facilities. 

Bush says the old plant has been around for more than 40 years and was past its prime...
Will Bush “The existing plant is running over 25-percent of the capacity it was designed for. Last summer for example, we actually had some collapse of our wells. 
We couldn’t even pump sufficient water to keep this building running. So we got to a point where we were getting ready to tell the capitol and some other buildings that we were going to half to shut down operations at least during the hottest part of the afternoon...”
The new, 215 million dollar plant is right next to the old facility.   Construction isn’t finished, but enough has been done to bring it online.

Bush quickly touts the taxpayer benefits of the new plant, saying it will be less expensive to operate. And he says it will be environmentally friendly. Bush says the old plant actually violated environmental laws because of how it disposed

of billions of gallons of waste water...
Will Bush “We were dumping hot water into the Sacramento River. Absent the new plant we were actually subject to fines that could be as high as 25-dollars per gallon per day. So if you do the math you can see that it adds up pretty quickly...”
Bush says the new plant recycles nearly all of its water and the state won’t have to pay any more fines. 

He says it also uses solar power that’ll save money over the long run.

The state budget crisis isn’t holding up construction -- the facility is being paid for through bonds approved before the recession hit.  

Construction will be done by July of next year.