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SEATTLE -- Seattle City Light and Birmingham Steel Corporation, Seattle Division celebrated the largest single project in their six year energy management business partnership with the successful completion of the Post Combustion Project.
The process recycles hot waste gas from melting steel in the arc furnace and reuses it as an additional heat source. The efficiencies created by these projects save Seattle City Light energy -- enough to power 1,700 Seattle homes and make the steel mill a stronger competitor.
"With this technology and others we've implemented, we produce a better product more quickly," says Ray Lepp, Managing Director of West Coast Operations for Birmingham Steel. "Efficiencies like this help us maintain our competitiveness in a tough market."
The project is one of ten that Birmingham Steel has conducted with the assistance of Seattle City Light since 1993. These projects include relamping, compressed air improvements, and installation of variable speed drives (VSDs), and arc furnace controls. Annual yearly energy savings for all projects combined exceed 17.5 million kWh.
City Light Superintendent Gary Zarker says that the industrial conservation programs of the utility produce some of the most cost-efficient energy the utility buys:
"We save money by not purchasing more expensive electricity in the marketplace and they save money by using less energy to manufacture a better product more efficiently. That's a good bargain for everyone."
Annual energy cost savings are estimated to exceed $567,000 dollars. Seattle City Light has contributed over $900,000 in total incentives with more than half of it supporting the Post Combustion Project. Additional projects are in the development stage for implementation in 2000.
Lepp said that Birmingham Steel Corporation, Seattle Division is committed to operating in an environmentally sound manner and supporting the Seattle area community with family wage jobs. He says staying competitive is the way to keep those jobs in Seattle.
In September 1999, the company was presented with the Governor's Award for Outstanding Achievement in Pollution Prevention.
Birmingham Steel Corporation, Seattle City Light, State Representatives Eileen Cody from the 11th District and Dow Constantine from the 34th District, and Seattle City Councilmember Margaret Pageler recognized the project management staff at the facility on October 20, 1999.