The city is moving ahead with plans to add an emergency backup diesel generator for the Don Umerley Civic Center, which is a Red Cross designated shelter. City Council approved applying for an $88,000 NOPEC Energized Community Grant at its meeting July 22.

The city received an $88,000 grant last year from NOPEC for a diesel generator and carried it over into 2019. City leaders want to combine last year’s grant, this year’s grant and another $88,000 grant they plan to apply for next year to pay for the generator and installation, which they estimate will cost $264,000.

“It’s really important to us if there were power outages, the residents have somewhere to go that is going to stay warm, be well lit and have running water,” Safety and Service Director Mary Kay Costello said.

NOPEC is a nonprofit group of over 235 communities that negotiates lower utility rates. As Ohio's largest energy aggregator, NOPEC buys gas and electricity in bulk to help lower customers’ utility bills.

As a NOPEC member, Rocky River is eligible for grants for projects that will improve energy efficiency that are funded by NOPEC Inc.

The diesel generator will help keep costs manageable for the city and make it more energy efficient. This is because the generator can be used to offset peak energy usage from the electrical grid, or when the power is used the most due to its quick turn-on and turn-off phases.

“I think, the general operations of our indoor pool and keeping our facility warm will help moderate costs,” Costello said. “So that if we do have some ice storms or outages, we can bring the generator on so our costs will be level. Overall that tends to reduce costs.”

In 2011, the city used a $250,000 NOPEC grant to install a new generator to service the court, fire station and City Hall. The project also included an “energy audit,” which made sure that windows, insulation and construction components were acceptable.

Contact this reporter at or 440-871-5797.

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