ROCHESTER, N.Y. — It was the end of an era at the Eastman Business Park on Tuesday, as the last shipment of coal from Consol Energy arrived from a mine in Southwest Pennsylvania.
The Eastman Business Park is home to more than 100 tenants that come from a wide range of industries. These include chemical manufacturing, plastics, energy storage, biopharma and food production.
The site has used coal burning to produce power for companies like Kodak for more than 120 years. Now Business Park will use natural gas exclusively through RG&E. They say natural gas burns cleaner, and will significantly reduce greenhouse gas emissions.
"With all this natural gas that has been found in the Pennsylvania area, natural gas pricing is very competitive with coal,” said John Prunkl, from Ironclad Energy Partners. “In many cases it is actually cheaper than coal. So as you can imagine, taking coal, burning it, a lot of ash handling we will never have to do, so some of those expenses will go away."
"Even though we are a large manufacturing site, we are actually a small geographic area,” added Bernie Nee of Red Rochester. “So we're talking about using 50 to 60 megawatts a day. It's very difficult to create renewable resources of that size in the footprint of Eastman Business Park. So using a more sustainable resource like natural gas is a way for us to become more energy efficient and more environmentally friendly."
IronClad Energy Partners also says they have converted one of their original coal burning boilers to now burn natural gas. They plan on retiring the old, remaining coal burning infrastructure on the site.