A Gary-based energy company has bought a power plant in New York.
Sterling Energy Group Inc., an independent provider of green energy that is headquartered in downtown Gary, bought the Niagara Generation plant in upstate New York from US Renewables Group for an undisclosed sum. The 51-kilowatt plant powers the Niagra Falls and Buffalo areas, chief financial officer Jason Sharp said.
The power-generating plant operated as a coal-fired facility since the 1990s, but California-based US Renewables Group converted it to burn wood and tire-derived fuel in 2007.
Sterling purchases older coal-fired plants, and upgrades them with unique fuels or technology to reduce carbon and meet emissions standards, Sharp said. The company has developed "clean coal" technologies, including a slag bath gasification treatment that is supposed to capture 100 percent of the mercury and other heavy metals.
Sterling plans to invest $3 million to $5 million into the Niagara Generation Plant, which is now shut down for a maintenance outage. When it reopens, the plant will be fueled with wood, and a minor amount of coal for fluidized bed solids and flame stabilization.
"We're delighted to have completed the purchase of Niagara Generation LLC and to have preserved the jobs in New York, while supplying the area with green energy," said William Harrington, president and CEO. "The state of New York and local officials have been very welcoming in our desire to make this a sustainable plant and will add a minimum of 20 jobs in Niagara Falls, New York. With job creation and green energy production as our core business, we intend to establish a support center in the Midwest to support all our power-generating facilities and oil and gas production."
The privately held company has a corporate office in Gary, and operations in Kentucky and Crawfordsville, Ind. Sterling currently employs around a dozen employees in Northwest Indiana, and may need to hire more fabricators and machinists to support its power plants.
Sterling also owns and operates a pipeline and a natural gas field. The company plans to start independently generating electricity next year, and selling it wholesale.