News
News Home
Quick Bites
Exploradio
News Archive
News Channel
Special Features
NPR
nowplaying
On AirNewsClassical
Loading...
  
School Closings
WKSU Support
Funding for WKSU is made possible in part through support from the following businesses and organizations.

Knight Foundation

Lehmans

Hennes Paynter Communications


For more information on how your company or organization can support WKSU, download the WKSU Media Kit.

(WKSU Media Kit PDF icon )


Donate Your Vehicle to WKSU

Programs Schedule Make A Pledge Member BenefitsFAQ/HelpContact Us
Government and Politics


Akron wants to donate energy plant to Akron Children's Hospital
The 34-year-old plant needs capital investment that the mayor says city cannot afford.
by WKSU's MARK URYCKI


Reporter
Mark Urycki
 
Akron Mayor Plusquellic says the city doesn't have the money to invest in updating the Recycle Energy System plant.
Courtesy of MARK URYCKI
Download (WKSU Only)
In The Region:
The City of Akron may give away its Recycle Energy Systems plant. The 34-year old-facility produces steam to heat or cool buildings downtown, but it now needs anywhere from $6 million to $47 million to modermize.
LISTEN: The future of Akron steam plant

Other options:
Windows Media / MP3 Download (1:27)


The plant was built to turn garbage into energy, a pretty progressive idea, thought a then-23-year-old councilman named Don Plusquellic

Looking back, the now-Mayor Plusquellic says, “It has been both good and bad for the city in terms of what we thought: both state-of-the-art, cutting edge.” 

The first big problem occurred in 1984, when an explosion killed three workers. Ten years later, the U.S. EPA told the city that burning garbage was sending mercury and dioxins into the air. So Akron stopped burning trash there in 1995.

Today's operator, Akron Energy Systems, says it now burns a mix of wood waste, tire-derived fuel (TDF), low-sulfur coal, and natural gas. 

Why the hospital?
But it needs to be updated, and to do that, Plusquellic wants to donate the plant to Akron Children’s Hospital, one of its biggest customers. Hospital President Bill Considine says he will, in turn, look to sell it to a private owner-operator.

“We’ll work with the city, we’ll work with the operators there; we’ll work with the other users to come up with a transfer plan during this period of time. You know, our area of expertise is not to be an owner or operator of a steam plant.” 

Plusquellic suggests that the hospital could form a separate entity that retains ownership under a long-term lease or  could sell the plant outright. If it cannot find a suitable operator, the hospital can refuse the donation.

Voters have a say
The transfer is a legal maneuver that voters will have to approve in November. And the mayor thinks that will go over better with voters than having the city sell it to a private company. 

“If Bill Considine and the staff and the board of Akron Children’s Hospital is in favor of something, they’ll probably figure it’s good for the community.”

Plusquellic says the transfer is also a commitment to any potential buyer that major customers like Children’s Hospital will stay on board. Tim Stover, the CEP of another big customer, Akron General Medical Center, also is expressing support for the project."

History of the Akron Recycle Energy Systems plant:
  • Ohio Edison begins serving 12 downtown buildings with steam generated at its Beech Street plant in 1927.
  • By 1947, Edison has added an electric substation at Beech Street and four more boilers. This same year, Edison invests $475,000 to increase capacity by almost a third.
  • By 1953, the Downtown steam plant has 531 customers. A decade later, 375 buildings are being served.
  • The City of Akron builds a Recycle Energy System in the 1970’s to burn trash and garbage from Summit County customers to produce steam. In 1978, Ohio Edison gives the City its Beech Street Steam Plant.
  • After 1979, the City employs operators to manage the RES plant.
  • December 1984, three workers die in one of several explosions at the plant caused by loads of chemical saturated sawdust trucked from New Jersey.
  • In addition to steam, the city develops a chilled water system for summer cooling of downtown buildings.
  • By 1994, the city of Akron has invested $100 million in cutting-edge technology to make the RES plant work. Without the cooperation of trash customers in the county, insufficient fuel is being generated to allow the plant to operate efficiently.
  • In October 1994, after the EPA identifies the plant as a source of dioxin in the air, Mayor Plusquellic shutters the recycle operation, rather than invest an additional $30 million to eliminate the dioxins.
  • In 1995, the City of Akron enters into a lease with Akron Thermal, a limited partnership, to supply steam and hot and chilled water to downtown buildings.
  • The RES plant is now operated by Akron Energy Systems, which has expressed interest in purchasing it.

SOURCE: City of Akron 


Listener Comments:

Are there any new developments on the steam plant and the hospital issue.


Posted by: dave (akron) on January 20, 2014 5:01AM
Add Your Comment
Name:

Location:

E-mail: (not published, only used to contact you about your comment)


Comments:




 
Page Options

Print this page

E-Mail this page / Send mp3

Share on Facebook




Stories with Recent Comments

ResponsibleOhio leader says the state is trying to set Issue 3 up for failure
Ohio suppose to believe that a group of investors were united under one cause to legalize marijuana.Once legal they all of sudden turn into 10 different compani...

Terry Pluto: U of A's new athletic director has the toughest job in town
It is a hard sell. The Students do not want to go to the football games and they do not want to pay for the program. They have a lot of student loan debt and t...

Akron considering the future of the B.F. Goodrich smokestacks
This BFGoodrich alumna says, "Thank you, Dave Lieberth!"

State creates panel to look at Ohio charter school sponsors
It is more than disturbing that charter schools, which seemed like a good idea years ago, have begun to cripple public school education.

DEVO mural in Akron is now on display downtown
The installation is not at the former site of Chili Dog Mac. CDM was one block north on the other side of Main St.

New report shows growth in white collar jobs for Northeast Ohio
Unfortunately, there are fewer jobs in comparison to the number of professionals applying for them. I have been had a full time job since June 2012. In order to...

Advocacy group: Ohio could lead in clean energy
Ohio Legislators, You are supposed to be our leaders but you're not taking us where we want to go - where we need to go!

Campaign for and against marijuana legalization begins
Cannabis legalization needs to happen as soon as possible! But not if it gives monopolies to a selected few to grow and sell the herb. Responsible Ohio's mono...

Heinen's in downtown Cleveland sponsors a contest for food entrepreneurs
Love that this took place right here! What a way to support local. Thank you Heinens! Love this quote, as a small local biz, I agree, it's big!! "To be a small...

Copyright © 2015 WKSU Public Radio, All Rights Reserved.

 
In Partnership With:

NPR PRI Kent State University

listen in windows media format listen in realplayer format Car Talk Hosts: Tom & Ray Magliozzi Fresh Air Host: Terry Gross A Service of Kent State University 89.7 WKSU | NPR.Classical.Other smart stuff. NPR Senior Correspondent: Noah Adams Living on Earth Host: Steve Curwood 89.7 WKSU | NPR.Classical.Other smart stuff. A Service of Kent State University