What is WISP?

Harbec Photos Wind Turbine0001The Wayne Industrial Sustainability Park's goal is to develop alternative energy (wind, geothermal, solar voltaic) sources for industry.  For several years Wayne Economic Development Corporation (WEDC)  has been exploring this possibility and how to create symbiotic relationships between different industries to best utilize the power in one area. This is an innovative project and WEDC is excited by the potential benefits to the economic growth of the county.

The Ontario WISP is located, north of NYS Rt. 104, east of Dean Parkway, on the west and east sides of Harbec Plastics, 369 Rt. 104, Ontario, New York. 

"Wayne County IDA has assisted our company in becoming more innovative and energy efficient.  This has helped us to control our cost and ensure our competitiveness in the manufacturing world."  Bob Bechtold, President, Harbec Plastics, Inc.

ONTARIO-Standing in the shadow of Harbec Plastics' famous wind turbine, State Sen. Michael Nozzolio (R-54) met with local political and buisness leaders Monday to announce an investment of $300,000 to expand the town's alternative energy tech park.

The $300,000 state investment will be used to develop 40-acres purchased by the Wayne County Industrial Development Agency (WCIDA) to expand the Wayne Industrial Sustainability Park (WISP) off Route 104.  The money will be used to expand Timothy Lane and connect additional roads, utilities and other infrastructure to allow new tenants to move in quickly.

Peg Churchill, executive director of WCIDA, was on hand to introduce Nozzolio, saying this day was the culmination of five years of working and planning to create a park based on Harbec's model of efficient use of renewable energy.

She said the grant, which is the largest the organization has ever received, willdo much to move the project forward.

"Senator Nozzolio's commitment to help (WCIDA) encourage job creation and investment by securing funding for the (WISP) has moved this project forward dramatically and we are committed to the WISP concept, not only in Ontario, but in other areas of Wayne County as well," churchill said.

Nozzolio said the day was in some ways too long in coming, as the WISP, and in particular Harbec Plastics, had been ahead of the curve concerning energy use and production.

"New York has finally caught up with (Harbec president) Bob Bechtold," Nozzolio said of the recent decision from Albany to allow net metering, which would let companies such as Harbec to sell back unused power to energy utilities at the market rate.

Bechtold said the ruling would allow him to consider adding a newer, more powerful turbine to the Ontario skyline.

"Right now we have a 250 kilowatt wind turbine, but it doesn't make sense to go any bigger, because any excess energy was simply wasted."  Bechtold explained.  "But with net metering, we are thinking of putting up a 1.5 megawatt tower to provide over 75 percent of our power."

Harbec Plastics, which does injection plastic molding, currently employs more than 100 people at the Sustainability Park.  The company recently retrofitted and expanded the building to use less energy harnessing a combination of energy from the company's wind turbine, a series of micro turbines, and recaptured heat from the production process to power, heat and cool the building.

Over the next 18 months, Churchill and Nozzolio will be working to create more jobs in the region by adding alternative energy businesses to the park.

A number alternative businesses are already located at the Sustainability Park in addition to Harbec Plastics.  Next door to Harbec is Sustainable Energy Developments (SED), which constructs and installs wind turbines for municipalities, businesses, schools, farms and homeowners throughout the Northeast.  Located next to SED is Northern BioDiesel, a company which produces biodiesel from restaurant oil waste and seed oil.

In keeping with this environmentally-conscious philosophy, WISP uses renewable sources of energy to power the park's businesses, most famously the giant wind turbine standing in front of the Harbec building.

The long-term plan for the WISP is to create a synergy of alternative energy resources that would be shared among the businesses in the park. Current plans include the production of biodiesel and biogas from Northern BioDiesel, wind power from Harbec's turbine and geothermal heating and cooling on site.

Jim Hoffman, chair of the Wayne County Board of Supervisors, also spoke on the importance of the funding of this project by the state, and said success at this park could guide similar projects in the county.

"To compete in this new global economy, it is vital we develop better methods of sustainability," Hoffman said.  "Peg (Churchill) and Bob (Bechtold) have been green all along, and it is good to see this park being built on the model of Harbec Plastics, which will encourage companies to use energy in a more intelligent way.  We therefore welcome the senator's support and leadership in renewable energy as we move forward."

Nozzolio concluded his visit by saying the over arching goal of the energy-sharing project was to foster growth of green energy companies in Wayne County by encouraging cooperation among tenants at the site, and improving the local economy.

"Not only is sustainable energy the future of our economy, it is also an asset when it comes to recruiting new businesses here," he said.  "By lowering operating costs, this park is much more attractive to the type of high-tech, environmentally-friendly companies this region needs.

"Perhaps most important of all, we're keeping our money in America when we support these businesses, instead of spending $700 billion a year on foreign oil.

"The public is much more aware of the need for green energy, and are more willing now than ever to support funding that guarantees energy independence and new jobs at the loci, state and national level." the senator concluded.