Seward Announces Grant For Local Energy Study

James L. Seward

March 08, 2007

 Senator James L. Seward today announced $25,000 in senate economic development funding for a study to evaluate the feasibility of extending natural gas from northern to central/southern Otsego County. The study and grant will be administered by the village of Richfield Springs.

The study is the culmination of discussions held by local elected officials, state representatives and economic development officials and facilitated by former county representative Alexander Shields of Richfield Springs.

"We had some discussions a few years back about the benefits of making natural gas more widely available for residents, businesses and government entities. In 2006, a survey to measure interest was funded by the Otsego County Chamber of Commerce and supported by various county departments," Seward said. "Making the grant available facilitated the important first step of a formal study on the concept."

"I want to thank Senator Jim Seward for his interest and grant money to help with the natural gas feasibility study. The Village of Richfield Springs is optimistic that this study will help the five towns, three villages, the three school districts, BOCES and Otsego County plan and improve their energy options. I also thank the Villages of Cooperstown and Milford as well as the Towns of Exeter, Otsego, Hartwick and Richfield for their formal resolutions of support of this effort," said village Mayor Leonard G. Butler.

A survey was conducted last spring as part of the study and included more than 1500 families and businesses in the target area, Butler said.

The state money will fund a business plan for the development of a municipal natural gas distribution system that would bring natural gas to the Village of Richfield Springs and other nearby interested communities. The plan will cover 1) Proposed gas distribution pipeline; legal, economic, and environmental matters; public and community interests and benefits from natural gas service; financial feasibility and self sufficient operation; environmental benefits; 2) Obtaining contract and regulatory advice; 3) Advising and assisting interested municipalities on the development of possible sources of state and/or federal assistance for the natural gas local distribution pipeline.

The goal of the survey is to assess interest in, and the cost of, extending natural gas south toward the village of Milford and serving residents and businesses along the way.