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New York Power Authority Ranked Among the Nation's Cleanest Power Producers

Michael Saltzman

April 10, 2006


WHITE PLAINS—The New York Power Authority (NYPA) ranks among the cleanest utilities in the country, according to a comparative analysis of the emission rates of the nation’s 100 largest electricity producers.

The report measured 2004 data submitted by the power companies to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency and the Energy Information Administration for their nearly 2,000 power plants. A national coalition known as Ceres, which consists of environmental and investor groups and others, scored the utilities on the basis of their emissions and generating output.

According to the report, NYPA’s generating output makes it the 40th largest electric power producer in the country. Yet, its total emissions and emission rates place it among the nation’s cleanest large utilities. Its environmental record reflects a diversified energy mix, deployment of advanced pollution controls, and use of the lowest-emission fossil fuels.

“Under the leadership of Governor George Pataki, NYPA has significantly invested in modernizing its major hydropower projects, which produce emission-free renewable power, and installed the latest pollution controls for the remaining portion of our electrical generation,” said Timothy S. Carey, NYPA president and chief executive officer. “We’re proud to be rated among the top 10 percent of the very cleanest power producers in the nation.”

Carey noted, for example, that the Power Authority spent some $55 million on the most advanced pollution-control technologies for the six small, clean natural gas-fueled power plants it installed in 2001 in New York City and one on Long Island for meeting a forecasted shortfall in generating capacity for the summer peak-demand season. Those units, which combine for about 450 megawatts of power, also emit virtually no sulfur dioxide (SO2), a gas linked to acid rain, and included in the Ceres report.

NYPA further added to its clean generating capacity in December by placing into commercial operation a new 500-megawatt, natural gas-fueled plant in Queens. The plant’s superior efficiency and state-of-the-art emission controls make it among the cleanest, large power plants in New York City.    

“There is no mistaking the huge importance that NYPA has placed on clean power generation for meeting the electricity needs of its customers, and the Ceres study supports this,” Carey said. “We’re also making a difference for the environment in ways not reflected by this report, such as energy-efficiency projects that have reduced greenhouse gas emissions throughout the state by 730,000 tons a year through lowered electricity use at more than 2,300 public schools and government buildings.”

Carey noted that NYPA’s investment of up to $100 million a year in energy-efficiency and clean energy projects, such as fuel cells and solar power, help carry out the pioneering policy goals set by Governor Pataki. They include the Renewable Portfolio Standard requiring renewables to account for 25 percent of all the electricity consumed in New York State by 2013 and Executive Order 111, which established new energy conservation and clean energy standards for state office buildings.

The Ceres report (www.ceres.org) focused on utilities generating 88 percent of the nation’s electricity. It found that overall emissions of SO2 and nitrogen oxide fell by 44 percent and 36 percent, respectively, for the largest power producers, between 1990 and 2004, stemming from Clean Air Act amendments. Conversely, emissions of carbon dioxide (CO2) rose 27 percent over the same 14-year period for the collective group, according to the Ceres analysis.

Last December, Governor Pataki announced a historic regional agreement for reduction of CO2 emissions from power plants, centering on a mandatory cap-and-trade program, to help the Northeast states lead the nation in addressing concerns about global climate change.

 About NYPA:

 ■    NYPA uses no tax money or state credit.  It finances its operations through the sale of bonds and revenues earned in large part through sales of electricity.  ■    NYPA is a leader in promoting energy-efficiency, new energy technologies and electric transportation initiatives.  ■    It is the nation’s largest state-owned electric utility, with 18 generating plants in various parts of the state and more than 1,400 circuit-miles of transmission lines. 

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