An alternative energy source may be coming to Ticonderoga. Vermont Gas Systems officials have told town leaders a natural gas pipeline planned to serve the International Paper Co. mill in Ti could be extended into other portions of the community.
An alternative energy source may be coming to Ticonderoga.
Vermont Gas Systems officials have told town leaders a natural gas pipeline planned to serve the International Paper Co. mill in Ti could be extended into other portions of the community.
“Vermont Gas is optimistic about the potential for natural gas expansion beyond IP,” Ti Supervisor Deb Malaney. “We’re probably talking about 2015.”
Donna Wadsworth, IP spokeswoman, said the 2015 date is when IP expects to have natural gas service. It could take several years longer to extend the service to the community, she said.
Vermont Gas Systems has plans to extend a natural-gas pipeline from the South Burlington area to provide service to Vergennes and Middlebury, Vt. Those plans, known as the Addison Natural Gas Project, include a pipeline under Lake Champlain to the Ticonderoga mill.
International Paper is planning an $8-10 million conversion of the mill’s power and recovery boilers to fire from natural gas. The boilers now use fuel oil.
Natural gas would be about 43 percent cheaper than the fuel oil for residential customers. IP gets its fuel at a lower price because it buys such a large volume, Wadsworth said.
A $1.75 million state grant through the North Country Regional Economic Development Council will assist the Ticonderoga mill with the conversion to natural gas.
IP’s 20-mile section of the pipeline is expected to be completed in 2015. Planning is now under way and construction is expected to begin in the spring of 2014.
“Right now the focus is getting natural gas to IP,” Malaney said. “After that everyone agrees there is a good possibility the line could be extended to other areas.
“The key will be Vermont Gas needs to find an energy partner on New York,” she added. “Everyone seems to think the outlook is good.”
Vermont Gas, based in South Burlington, said the line will travel near Route 116, then over to Vergennes on one spur and down to Middlebury on another.
The pipeline isn’t being extended from Chittenden County solely for IP; it will also benefit some communities along the route by providing them with natural-gas service.
According to a statement from Vermont Gas, the Ticonderoga project is good for Vermont.
“More than 15 percent of the wood supplied to the mill comes from sustainably-managed Vermont forests,” the statement reads. “The mill has 600 employees and an additional 700 independent loggers and truckers from New York and Vermont who directly earn a living by providing wood and fiber to the mill.
“After the Addison Natural Gas Project was launched, International Paper contacted Vermont Gas,” it continues. “Conversion to natural gas as a primary purchased fuel will lower energy costs for the mill and significantly reduce greenhouse gas emissions. Vermont Gas has entered into an agreement with International Paper to provide gas to the mill in 2015 at no cost to Vermont residents or Vermont Gas customers.
“Phase II will bring the transmission pipeline 17 miles closer to Rutland allowing Vermont Gas to serve Rutland 15 years sooner than previously planned,” the company said. “This project will also strengthen and support the regional economy, including the Vermont forest industry, by providing a major employer with affordable and clean energy.”