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NYPA Energy-Saving Projects Exceed $1-Billion Milestone: Equals Annual Cut in Oil Consumption of 1.8 Million Barrels

Michael Saltzman

September 25, 2006


WHITE PLAINS—The New York Power Authority’s (NYPA) total investment in energy-efficiency and other clean energy initiatives has surpassed $1 billion for nearly 1,500 wide-ranging projects completed at schools, police precincts, fire stations, hospitals, museums, libraries, and government buildings across New York State.

In aggregate, the measures equate to reducing oil use by 1.8 million barrels a year and avoiding annual greenhouse gas emissions of more than 750,000 tons.

“NYPA’s average annual expenditures on energy efficiency and clean energy technologies under the leadership of Gov. George E. Pataki are five times the level of the prior administration. We’re on track to exceed $100 million by the end of the year for our expenditures in these areas in 2006 alone, and we recently topped the $1 billion milestone for our cumulative-to-date spending on these technologies,” said Timothy S. Carey, NYPA president and chief executive officer. “Governor Pataki’s policy initiatives cleared the way for our undertaking stepped-up efforts for lowering the utility bills of tax-supported public facilities throughout the state, improving air quality and reducing dependence on foreign oil. These environmentally conscientious policies underpin what we’re doing for maximizing available power generation and contributing to the diversity of the state’s clean energy sources with self-sustaining, renewable technologies such as fuel cells and solar power.”

In 2001, Governor Pataki issued Executive Order 111, requiring New York State agencies and other affected entities to reduce their electricity use by 35 percent by 2010, compared to 1990 levels. The order also requires that renewables account for 20 percent of the electricity used by those facilities by the same year. The Governor later established the framework for a Renewable Portfolio Standard adopted by the New York State Public Service Commission in 2004 for at least 25 percent of all the electricity purchased in the state to come from renewables by 2013. (Currently, renewables account for about 19 percent, with a considerable portion produced by NYPA’s hydroelectric projects.)

“These are ambitious targets that the Power Authority, as an instrument of New York State government, is helping to make possible through its expertise, operating revenues and low borrowing costs,” Carey said. “We recognize the significance of these goals for the economy, environment and energy security, and we’re doing our best to support the Governor in making them a reality.”

Over nearly two decades, NYPA had completed 1,494 energy-efficiency and clean-energy projects at 2,400 facilities statewide, for annual savings on electric bills of more than $95 million and reduction in peak electricity use by about 200,424 kilowatts (kw), or enough electricity for about 160,000 homes.

The energy-saving projects include new fluorescent lighting that is up to 70 percent more efficient, yet brighter, than conventional fixtures, along with new heating, ventilating and air-conditioning systems, electric motors, sensors, and automated energy-management systems. Other initiatives have included replacing more than 186,000 refrigerators at public housing in New York City and Buffalo with more efficient units, and replacing polluting coal-fired furnaces at public schools in New York, Buffalo and on Long Island, with boilers fueled by cleaner natural gas or oil.

Before undertaking an installation, NYPA does an on-site energy audit to identify the most effective course. It then proceeds with the design, engineering and installation of the required equipment, contracting a substantial portion of the work out to New York businesses.

The Power Authority has financed most of the energy-efficiency and clean energy projects from its own funds, recovering its costs from the participating government organizations over periods that generally run up to 10 years, after which those organizations get to keep all the recurring savings.

The over $1 billion in invested money has included $120 million from the New York State Clean Water/Clean Air Bond Act of 1996, which supported the Clean Air for Schools program under which NYPA replaced the coal-burning furnaces.

“The Power Authority’s wide-ranging energy services for public facilities are keyed to state and local governments committing to customer installation contracts for the planned upgrades,” said Angelo Esposito, NYPA senior vice president, Energy Services and Technology. “They’re essential to our ability to undertake these worthwhile projects that not only reduce electric bills but are making an important difference for the electric power system and the environment.”

Some examples of these cooperative efforts are projects at the following locations:

  • Buffalo City Schools. Includes new lighting, automated energy management systems, more efficient boilers and electric motors, for annual savings of more than $1 million on the electric bills of 49 buildings. The installations also lowered greenhouse gas emissions by nearly 7,000 tons a year and oil combustion by 11,660 barrels.

  • Empire State Plaza and State Capitol building in Albany. New light fixtures, chiller upgrade, garage fan controls and other upgrades, provided in cooperation with the state Office of General Services (OGS), have lowered the annual electric bills of the state office buildings by $1.6 million, annual greenhouse gas emissions by 15,394 tons and annual oil use by 21,782 barrels.

  • State University of New York College of Environmental Science and Forestry in Syracuse. Two multi-ton chillers and variable-speed pumps and motors will save nearly $60,000 a year for classrooms and laboratories, in connection with a nearly $1.3 million investment by NYPA for the current air-conditioning season. NYPA also installed a new fuel cell, with funding from the New York State Energy Research and Development Authority (NYSERDA) and others, for providing 17 percent of the electricity used on the campus.

  • Mohawk Valley Community College (MVCC) in Utica and Rome. Lighting, energy management system upgrades and other improvements at the two MVCC campuses and other Oneida County buildings combine for a total investment of more than $5.5 million since 2002. The initiatives have cut the annual electric bills of some 18 facilities by more than $476,000, for annual reduction in oil use by 7,059 barrels and greenhouse gas emissions by 4,194 tons.

  • New York City subways. More than $10 million in lighting upgrades for subway stations, track signals and tunnel lighting, for annual savings on New York City Transit Authority’s electric bills of over $1.3 million and reduction in annual oil use by 24,555 barrels and of greenhouse gas emissions by 9,777 tons.

  • Perry B. Duryea State Office Building in Hauppauge. Recently completed upgrades of heating ventilating and air-conditioning systems will result in annual savings of $231,000 for the OGS building, from the first part of a multi-phase initiative that will also include a fuel cell funded by NYSERDA. The Duryea building is the latest of some 56 energy efficiency projects NYPA has undertaken in Suffolk County, for taxpayer savings of $8.1 million and reduction in annual greenhouse gases by nearly 42,000 tons and use of oil by 96,532 barrels.

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 facilities in various parts of the state and more than 1,400 circuit-miles of transmission lines.