Ticonderoga An alternative energy source may be coming to Ticonderoga.
Vermont Gas Systems officials have told town leaders a natural gas pipeline planned to serve the International Paper Co. mill in Ti could be extended into other portions of the community.
“Vermont Gas is optimistic about the potential for natural gas expansion beyond IP,” Ti Supervisor Deb Malaney. “We’re probably talking about 2015.”
Donna Wadsworth, IP spokeswoman, said the 2015 date is when IP expects to have natural gas service. It could take several years longer to extend the service to the community, she said.
Vermont Gas Systems has plans to extend a natural-gas pipeline from the South Burlington area to provide service to Vergennes and Middlebury, Vt. Those plans, known as the Addison Natural Gas Project, include a pipeline under Lake Champlain to the Ticonderoga mill.
International Paper is planning an $8-10 million conversion of the mill’s power and recovery boilers to fire from natural gas. The boilers now use fuel oil.
Natural gas would be about 43 percent cheaper than the fuel oil for residential customers. IP gets its fuel at a lower price because it buys such a large volume, Wadsworth said.
A $1.75 million state grant through the North Country Regional Economic Development Council will assist the Ticonderoga mill with the conversion to natural gas.
IP’s 20-mile section of the pipeline is expected to be completed in 2015. Planning is now under way and construction is expected to begin in the spring of 2014.
“Right now the focus is getting natural gas to IP,” Malaney said. “After that everyone agrees there is a good possibility the line could be extended to other areas.
“The key will be Vermont Gas needs to find an energy partner on New York,” she added. “Everyone seems to think the outlook is good.”