MASHANTUCKET, Conn. - The Mashantucket Pequot Tribal Nation is spending millions to retool its power system to generate electricity while heating and cooling Foxwoods Resort Casino.
The tribe in Eastern Connecticut said it would start testing the $34 million project this spring and would bring it online in June.
Initially, it is expected to provide nearly 60 percent of the tribe’s electricity needs and heat and cool the casino.
Two 10,300-horsepower jet engines will power the system, which will convert natural gas into electricity and steam. The system is designed to produce 15 megawatts of power and burn cleanly and efficiently while easing demand on the regional power grid.
The new system is expected to cut the tribe’s electricity bill of $24 million a year.
Charlene Jones, a former tribal councilor and chairwoman of the tribe’s utilities authority, said it should pay for itself in three years.
“It just made sense in terms of value and the environment,’’ she said.
Mike Collins, sales manager for Yankee Gas, the Northeast Utilities company that supplies much of the tribe’s natural gas, said cogeneration also is better for the environment.
“It’s a way of going green, though it’s not totally green like wind or solar power - it’s light green,’’ he said.
The Mashantuckets’ cogeneration system would be among the five biggest in the state, he said.