Assembly Urged to Back
Gas Turbines to Avert New York City Blackouts
March 22, 2001
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
NEW YORKRepresentatives of three state agencies urged the New York State Assembly
on Thursday to support the New York Power Authoritys (NYPA) program to install
10 small, clean gas-turbine generators in New York City in
time to help stave off blackouts and price spikes this summer.
"A delay of even one day would bring us that much closer to the kinds of
blackouts, brownouts and price spikes that have created the crisis in California,"
said Eugene W. Zeltmann, NYPAs president and chief operating officer. "Our
gas-turbine initiative is in keeping with the Power Authoritys longstanding
tradition of meeting major energy needs in New York State, and doing so with utmost
respect and concern for the environment."
Zeltmann said at an Assembly hearing that NYPA is moving ahead quickly with
installation of the new units, to be fueled by natural gas, in an effort to meet the
crucial summer deadline while complying with all environmental standards and conducting an
ambitious public outreach program.
"We have had more than 25 face-to-face meetings with public officials, community
leaders and members of the public," he said. "And that doesnt count the
many, many telephone conversations weve had with interested people."
Noting that the gas-turbine generators will be the cleanest power sources in the city,
Zeltmann said that NYPA will invest an additional $50 million for the express purpose of
providing the most advanced available equipment to control air emissions and noise.
"We have also committed to offset even the minimal air emissions from these plants
by reducing emissions from other New York City sources," he said. "Were
looking at various options to accomplish that and have asked residents of the communities
in which the units will be located to provide their own ideas."
Joining Zeltmann in testifying at the Assembly hearing were Maureen O. Helmer, chairman
of the state Public Service Commission, and Glen Bruening, executive deputy commissioner
of the state Department of Environmental Conservation. The hearing at the City University
Graduate Center was conducted by the Assembly committees on Environmental Conservation;
Energy; and Corporations, Authorities and Commissions.
"There is a real shortage of generating capacity in New York City, a shortage that
undermines the provision of safe and reliable electric service to the city and, following
the laws of supply and demand, also serves to increase prices," Helmer said.
"The addition of clean, efficient generation will provide New York with the
in-city supply it needs due to constrained transmission lines, provide sufficient energy
to assure an adequate supply, bolster the reliability of the system, exert downward
pressure on prices, and serve to reduce the emissions of sulfur dioxides and nitrogen
Bruening said that "the NYPA facilities represent the next generation of clean
burning, state-of-the-art power plants that will allow New York State to meet its demand
for additional power while protecting public health and the environment. NYPAs
commitment to mitigate emissions from these plants goes above and beyond our regulatory
requirements and demonstrates their dedication to operating these low-emission turbines in
the most environmentally sound manner possible."
"By reaching out to the affected communities, NYPA will ensure that its mitigation
measures have the greatest benefit in the areas nearest the facilities," Bruening
He said the units will emit 400 times less nitrogen oxides, 140 times less particulates
and 30 times less sulfur dioxide than many existing facilities with similar generating
capacity and that equipment to be installed by NYPA will reduce carbon monoxide emissions
by 75 percent.
The gas-turbine generators will provide just over 400 megawatts of additional
generating capacity in the city, a figure virtually equal to the in-city generating
shortfall projected in a recent report by the New York Independent System Operator (ISO),
which administers the states wholesale power markets. The ISO requires that at least
80 percent of New York Citys power supply be produced within the city because of the
transmission constraints that limit supplies from outside sources. Its projection did not
include the NYPA units.
Zeltmann said that, in addition to installing the new units, NYPA will continue to
expand its ambitious energy efficiency programs in New York
City. He said these initiatives, in which the Power Authority has invested about $300
million at public facilities in the city, have averted the need for two additional gas
turbines. Projects include installation of energy-efficient lighting, motors and heating;
removal of polluting coal-burning furnaces at public schools; and installation of
super-efficient refrigerators in city Housing Authority apartments.
In addition, he said NYPA will again implement a program to encourage its government
and business customers to reduce their use of electricity in peak-demand periods this
summer. He also noted that NYPA has installed clean
fuel cell power plants at the Central Park
police station and North Central Bronx Hospital, as well as rooftop
solar energy projects at locations in
the Bronx and Queens.
The 10 gas turbines will be located at six sites in the Bronx, Brooklyn, Queens and
Staten Islanda technically feasible site in Manhattan could not be identified. NYPA
is also installing a unit on Long Island in Brentwood, Suffolk County