Bowdoin College gets $400K to replace central boiler

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BRUNSWICK — Bowdoin College will receive a $400,000 grant to upgrade the boiler that delivers heat and electricity to the campus.

College officials said the new boiler will replace the 46-year-old central unit that provides heat for about 75 percent of the campus. They said the new system will reduce the college’s energy consumption by 9 percent and reduce greenhouse gas emissions by 2,400 tons.

Bowdoin was the only college to receive funds under the state’s Industrial Grant Program. It was among 16 recipients of $8.9 million awarded through the federal American Recovery and Reinvestment Act and the Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative.

The grant will be administered by the state Public Utilities Commission.

According to PUC spokeswoman Evelyn deFrees, the commission received more than 50 applications for projects worth more than $30 million.

Many of the projects that won funding were industrial in nature, including a new biomass boiler for Verso Paper Corp. in Bucksport and emission controls for Fairchild Semiconductor in South Portland. Both those projects will be funded through ARRA funds, which means they’ll have job-creation requirements.

Bowdoin’s grant will go toward a project budgeted at $3.4 million, $3 million of which will come from a bond issued by the college. The remaining $400,000 will be funded through the RGGI program.

According to deFrees, qualifications for RGGI funds were based mostly on efficiency thresholds rather than job-creation requirements.

Catherine Longley, Bowdoin’s senior vice president of administration, said the boiler project will generate a total of 74 “direct and indirect” jobs. She said most of those positions were indirect, through the boiler manufacturer and the turbine manufacturer.

Longley said Bowdoin will retain two full-time employees until at least 2011. She said two other full-time jobs would result from the project.

College officials said Bowdoin’s combined heat and power project is a key component toward achieving carbon neutrality by 2020.

Steve Mistler can be reached at 373-9060 ext. 123 or