Fair conserves power as costs rise

Tuesday, September 9th 2008, 10:56 pm
By: News 9

By Colleen Chen, NEWS 9

OKLAHOMA CITY -- As talk of alternative fuels gains momentum, carnivals owners are paying close attention.

Each glittering light helps make up the magic of the carnival, but when thousands and thousands of lights are used to create the magic, the cost of power adds up.

Frank Zaitshik urged his employees to conserve energy. All 75 of his rides at the Oklahoma State Fair are powered by generators running on diesel.

"In 2003, our fuel costs were $800,000, in 2006, $1.8 million. We estimate this year's going to be around $2.8 million," Zaitshik said.

The growing costs contributed to why Zaitshik has become passionate about conserving the biodiesel used to power his rides.

"I'm an American and want to do what's right for our country," Zaitshik said. "I'm a business person and it's good for business and...I've got children and grandchildren. It's good for the environment, it's for the future."

Zaitshik's company was part of the first state fair to go green in Delaware. He also helped Florida make the change, where his company is based. In Oklahoma, Zaitshik preferred to use regular diesel fuel because there are few major manufacturers and even less infrastructure found in the state.

Oklahoma City's single 100-percent biodiesel pump is located at the University of Central Oklahoma.

"We are saving substantial amount of money on our biodiesel product," UCO Motorpool Supervisor Tom Groshong said.

UCO started creating its own biodiesel a few years ago, but only makes enough to sustain the campus, which would not be enough to supply the fair's carnival.

Although the rides are not considered green, Zaitshik said he loves Oklahoma so much, it's far from a deal breaker for him.

There are a few producers in Oklahoma who mass produce biodiesel. Most is shipped overseas where it can sell for up to $15 per gallon.

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