Proctors received $500,000 in state funding to expand its heating and cooling system for downtown businesses and organizations to cut down on energy costs.
Assemblymen Phil Steck, D-Colonie, and Angelo Santabarbara, D-Rotterdam, each secured $250,000 in funding for Proctors’ Marquee Power, which currently provides heat and air conditioning for about 30 local businesses and organizations.
The funding will allow Proctors to boost its efficiency and add additional customers, Proctors’ CEO Philip Morris said during a press conference Wednesday afternoon outside the theater on State Street.
“The work is in two phases,” he said. “The first phase of the work was done last year and completed in time for winter. Now it’s upgrades to the heating side, which turns our steam system to hot water with big energy savings.”
Proctors’ Marquee Power now provides heat and air conditioning to Center City across the street, which includes the YMCA and Johnny’s restaurant, as well as the Hampton Inn.
Morris said the funding would expand service to the Parker Inn and Proctors Mainstage and add local software company Transfinder as a customer.
“The Parker Inn is new and they are on the heating side only right now,” he said. “The Mainstage at Proctors is a huge additional load. Cooling for the theater is the most difficult.”
Morris said the energy system also has the potential to provide electricity for customers, which is the next step for Marquee Power.
Last year Schenectady was awarded $100,000 in state funding as part of its proposal to establish a microgrid to expand power to local businesses and government buildings.
A microgrid is a standalone energy system that can operate separately from the main grid. Schenectady’s proposal would tap into Proctors’ Marquee Power.
Morris said the microgrid project is in the second phase of testing with a third phase expected to be done this summer.
“Then we’d be looking to take on the step to turn on electric capacity,” he said. “That could be a really big day in the fall. So far the second phase test has worked so we’re optimistic on the third phase.”
Morris said the microgrid would look at the ability to use microswitches to put electricity back into the grid. “No place in the country has anybody feeding backwards,” he said.
Santabarbara, whose Assembly district includes part of the city of Schenectady, said the heating and cooling system at Proctors was constructed in 2007 via underground water piping.
He said the funding for Marquee Power would help to reduce energy and save money.
“It will generate approximately $300,000 per year in cost savings,” he said. “Those dollars get invested right back here in our community. It also helps the city of Schenectady be a leader in clean and affordable energy for downtown businesses.”
The city’s microgrid proposal would expand power distribution to the City Mission, Salvation Army, Schenectady County Jail, Schenectady County Sheriff’s Department, Schenectady County Public Library and the city’s fire and police stations.
It might also be expanded to include Union College, Ellis Hospital, Golub Corp., Schenectady County Community College and the future Rivers Casino and Resort at Mohawk Harbor.
The city and Proctors are partnering with Ithaca-based ASI Energy, GE Energy Consulting, National Grid and Schenectady County on the proposed project.
Reach Gazette reporter Haley Viccaro at 395-3114, [email protected] or @HRViccaro on Twitter.