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PR # 18 August 26, 2008


Somerset and Hunterdon County officials joined in the celebration on Monday, August 25 of the official opening of Raritan Valley Community College?s new power plant that is expected to save the College $400,000 a year in energy costs. The $14.5 million project will not only provide power more cost-effectively through a combined heat and power system, it will also build the structural support needed for the campus to continue to grow to meet the changing needs of the community.

The project is intended to add heating and cooling capacity to support future campus growth; enable the College to generate approximately 85 percent of its electrical needs; and improve the cost efficiency of all its major equipment components. The project?s first phase included the replacement of all the underground piping for hot and cold water distribution from the central plant. This part of the project corrected significant areas of corrosion and water leakages.

The second phase included the installation of a combined heat and power unit?a natural gas fired reciprocating engine that generates 1.4 megawatts of electricity coupled to an absorption unit that converts exhaust engine gases to either 320 tons of cooling or enough hot water to bypass conventional boilers. This equipment is located in a separate building adjacent to the existing power plant that houses all other components. Two larger, more efficient electric chillers with 600 tons of cooling capacity each were added, more than doubling the College?s previous cooling capacity. Finally, two new boilers replaced equipment that was beyond its life cycle.

The College was awarded a $1 million incentive grant from the New Jersey Office of Clean Energy (NJOCE) for the power plant improvements. The funding was provided from a joint program operated by the New Jersey Board of Public Utilities and the New Jersey Economic Development Authority (EDA). The initiative was designed to make it more affordable and cost effective for public institutions and businesses to make investments in renewable energy systems and energy efficient equipment.

RVCC, located on Route 28 and Lamington Road in North Branch, NJ, and serving Somerset and Hunterdon County residents for close to 40 years, offers more than 90 associate degrees and certificates. In addition, customized training programs and non-credit courses are available for those seeking personal and professional development.

The College is committed to offering a quality and affordable education through effective teaching, liaisons with the community?s businesses and state-of-the-art technology. For further information, visit www.raritanval.edu .

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