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Natural gas to ECI, UMES approved
April 3, 2019

Natural gas to ECI, UMES approved

Wood chip burner at ECI to be replaced; gas line to run from Eden

For the Crisfield-Somerset County Times


BALTIMORE — The Maryland Energy Admin-istration (MEA) and Maryland Environmental Service (MES) announced last Friday that Chesapeake Utilities will install critical energy infrastructure for both the University of Maryland Eastern Shore and Eastern Correctional Institution.


The awardee was selected after a competitive MES procurement process. That means a conversion to natural gas instead of wood chips for the generation of electricity at ECI — a retrofit for which $1.19 million was approved in Gov. Larry Hogan’s fiscal year 2020 budget.


“This project will create jobs while bringing lower energy prices to the residents and businesses on the Eastern Shore. It will also significantly reduce the carbon footprint for both facilities and provide a pathway forward for clean natural gas,” stated Dr. Mary Beth Tung, MEA director.


“Cleaner energy is the key to an improved environment and for expanded economic development for the residents of the Eastern Shore.”

 “MES will facilitate this project, providing a cleaner and more reliable fuel source for our state business partners Maryland Department of Public Safety and Correctional Services (DPSCS) and University of Maryland Eastern Shore,” said Roy McGrath, MES CEO and chairman.


“This project serves as an important transition to a much more environmentally sustainable and efficient method of operation, and an investment to spur further regional economic development.”


“This project demonstrates the State of Maryland’s commitment to finding the most environmentally responsible and efficient methods of supplying power to our facilities,” said DPSCS Acting Secretary Michael Ziegler.


“The University of Maryland Eastern Shore is pleased to welcome this new opportunity for our campus to be more environmentally friendly,” said President Heidi M. Anderson. “UMES thanks Governor Hogan and the Maryland Environmental Service (MES) for their work to make Maryland cleaner and greener.”


The awardee was selected after an exhaustive and competitive procurement process involving DPSCS, MEA, UMES, the University System of Maryland (USM),

and was led by MES. UMES is a public institution of higher education within the University System of Maryland, and operates 48 buildings on 745 acres. UMES currently uses a mix of fuel oils and propane to operate its heating system ECI is a medium- security state prison for men, owned and operated by the Maryland Department of Public Safety and Correctional Services and, currently utilizes de barked wood chips as its primary source of fuel.


The state has been working diligently to expand alternative energy options like natural gas to residents and businesses. Representatives of Chesapeake Utilities have also been working Somerset County and Town of Princess Anne officials to promote the extension of natural gas from Wicomico County into Somerset County.


The first phase is for Eastern Shore Natural Gas Company through its subsidiary Chesapeake Utilities Corporation to extend a high-pressure natural gas line from Salisbury to Eden.


Natural gas supports “continued economic growth in Somerset County,” said County Administrator Doug Taylor. The U.S. 13 corridor in particular “is ripe for development” and natural gas “is a win-win for our struggling county,” calling it “a priority for many years.”



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