New York [RenewableEnergyAccess.com] Laidlaw Energy Group is set to move ahead with its Buffalo area renewable energy project, the conversion of a natural gas fueled cogeneration plant into one that will solely use a renewable fuel source — clean wood chips.The project has a long-term power purchase agreement with Niagara Mohawk Power with about 16 years remaining. In addition to providing approximately 7 MW of electricity to New York homes and businesses, the plant will generate enough heat and power to operate an on-site hardwood lumber dry kiln operation. LLEG has received a grant of $1 million dollars for the project from the New York State Energy Research and Development Authority (NYSERDA). LLEG currently expects the facility to resume commercial operations during the summer of 2006. In a letter of support for the project to the NYSERDA, Senator Hillary Rodham Clinton referred to this project as: “smart for the environment, smart for our natural security, and smart for the local economy.” Such projects have the potential to serve as a driving force behind lower energy costs, reduced dependence on foreign oil and a cleaner environment, as well as the retention and creation of manufacturing jobs. During this period of extremely high oil and natural gas prices, LLEG believes that its fuel conversion project can serve as a role model for other projects throughout the region, where renewable fuel sources used for electric generation can be coupled with the thermal needs of manufacturing businesses to result in high rates of efficiency and favorable economics.