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Idled Fort Drum coal plant to have greener reopening

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An Albany energy company plans to buy an idled coal plant on Fort Drum and convert it to run on renewable biomass materials.

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In an announcement Monday, ReEnergy holdings said it will spend about $34 million to make the conversion.

The Watertown Daily Times reports the plant is expected to bring hundreds of new jobs, and generate enough sustainable energy to handle all the post’s power needs and sell some back to the grid.

The plan is for the plant to run off forest residue and wood from the area around Fort Drum, including some parts of trees that otherwise would be left behind by foresters.

The company estimates it will spend $11 million a year for fuel to run the facility.

ReEnergy CEO Larry Richardson says work on the plant will begin within the next six weeks—and it’s expected to come onto the grid in the first quarter of 2013. The plant hasn’t been used since 2010.

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