Downtown Bradenton chiller plant proposed

skennedy@bradenton.comMay 15, 2013 

MANATEE -- A $13 million project, part of which calls for a new "chiller plant" in downtown Bradenton, could cool government and private buildings less expensively -- and potentially provide income for the county, officials said Tuesday.

Government buildings that might benefit include Manatee County's Administration Building, its Central Library and a building housing the county property appraiser's office, according to a workshop presentation Tuesday before the Manatee County Commission.

Among the chiller plant's possible first clients could be the city of Bradenton, SunTrust Bank and South Florida Museum, said David Thompson and Darryl Blair, representing the county Property Management Department.

"They are very encouraging -- we have no contracts in place -- but they're very interested in this process," said Thompson. "They understand that, by buying energy services from us, they'll be able to cool their buildings for less."

Blair said: "We're looking at all possible customers that could be a revenue stream for this chiller plant."

The chiller plant, along with a number of other high-efficiency mechanical systems, are part of a project that requires county commission approval.

The plant would be built on county-owned land north of Bradenton's U.S. Post Office at 824 Manatee Ave. W., Blair said.

Pumping chilled water through underground piping could cool buildings up to a mile away, he said.

The project would require only $3.5 million in county funding due to savings culled from elsewhere and lower costs enabled by the

efficiency of the new systems, Thompson said.

The estimated 20-year revenue stream generated by three possible new customers was calculated at more than $2.7 million, officials said.

"It will be vastly more efficient than what we have now," said Thompson.

Eventually, the system could produce significant revenues for the county. In Hillsborough County, the same type of system is operated by a private firm.

Sara Kennedy, Herald reporter, can be reached at 941-745-7031. Follow her on Twitter @sarawrites.

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