Manhattan The Department of Energy has awarded Riley County, Kansas State University and a Lenexa architectural firm a three-year, $3 million grant to construct what amounts to a renewable energy test program at the county shops site.
Of the $3 million, $1.3 million will be used to build renewable energy features, and the rest will go toward implementing the “Resourceful Kansas” program. Manhattan was one of 35 communities in the U.S. to receive the grant out of about 200 applicants.
Federal stimulus money will fund the grant.
The new renewable energy features will include: four wind turbines, a thin-film photo-voltaic solar system, a solar hot water under-floor heating system, four photo-voltaic solar powered street lights and a waste-oil heater.
The energy produced by these new features will create enough energy to power the public works facilities. Rod Meredith, the Riley County assistant director of public works, said the new features could save the facilities $80,000 a year in electricity costs.
Meredith said the county shop site would enjoy the benefits of the renewable energy for up to 20 years. He said the public works facility has been looking for this kind of program. “It’s been a vision since we started the facility,” he said.
The Resourceful Kansas program engages communities in sustainability and efficiency of energy. The program will feature one-day seminars offered to other cities, counties, state agencies, and businesses across Kansas. The program will offer eight seminars during the grant’s three-year period.
“We’re bringing people in for seminars every three months and showing them what’s possible,” said Meredith.
As part of Resourceful Kansas, Kansas State’s Wind Applications Center will evaluate the energy produced at the facility, and GBA Architects & Engineers of Lenexa will provide energy audits and cost/benefit reviews for communities or organizations participating in the seminars.
Commission Chairman Mike Kearns said the evaluations and audits would be extremely valuable for communities participating in the seminars.
“Now, instead of guessing whether or not this alternative energy will work for them, businesses, ranchers and manufacturing companies can look at our data,” said Kearns.