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NYPA, State Police to Deploy Fuel Cells in $434,000 Communications Program         

Connie Cullen

December 28, 2006


WHITE PLAINS—The New York Power Authority (NYPA) said Thursday that it will work with the New York State Police in a $434,000 program to deploy fuel cells that will provide backup power at 22 public safety communications facilities.

 “There is no better use for advanced energy technologies than protecting public health and safety,” Timothy S. Carey, NYPA’s president and chief executive officer, said.  “These fuel cell installations will keep state communications on-line when they are often needed the most, during power outages and other emergency situations.”

Carey noted that the new program reflects two of Gov. George E. Pataki’s top priorities during his tenure in Albany—enhancing the health and safety of the state’s citizens and developing clean new energy technologies.

Among the sites to be served by the new Fuel Cells for Emergency Communications (FC4EC) program is a New York State Department of Transportation (DOT) communications tower in Albion. This facility, which handles communications in Western New York, was disabled during the October snow emergency. The fuel cell backup power is designed to allow communications facilities to continue to operate in the event of the loss of power from the grid.

The State Police will coordinate the program with assistance from the Power Authority, which has installed fuel cells at various locations throughout the state, including the New York Police Department Central Park station in Manhattan. During the August 2003 blackout, that fuel cell kept the police station running by providing electricity for the facility without interruption.

 “The Power Authority has undertaken more than a dozen fuel cell projects, in various types of applications using different fuel sources, to demonstrate reductions in air pollution and the advantages of distributed power supply,” Carey said.  “We are pleased to play a role in this important new initiative.”

The fuel cells to be installed will be produced by Plug Power of Latham. The GenCore® fuel cell systems, according to Plug Power, are “high-performance solutions for the critical backup power needs of the telecommunications, utility and industrial uninterruptible power supply markets. The hydrogen-fueled GenCore five-kilowatt backup fuel cell system is available in seven configurations providing a high level of flexibility to meet diverse customer needs. Unlike traditional technologies, which can be unpredictable, expensive to maintain and harmful to the environment, GenCore systems deliver up to five kilowatts of reliable backup power over a wide range of operating environments—with zero emissions.”

The 22 facilities scheduled to have fuel cell backup power systems installed include the DOT site in Albion, Orleans County; a New York State Police site in Rensselaer County; seven New York State Department of Environmental Conservation sites in Chenango, Madison, Steuben, Chautauqua, Cattaraugus, Washington and Cortland Counties; a Village of Stamford site in Delaware County; a facility operated by the State Police and DOT in Clinton County; four facilities owned by the New York State Department of Agriculture and Markets on the State Fair Grounds in Onondaga County; a Town of Schodack site in Rensselaer County; four facilities owned by Saratoga County; and two facilities owned by the New York State Office for Technology in Albany County.

The $434,000 in funding for the program will be provided from Petroleum Overcharge Restitution (POCR) funds. Administered by the Power Authority in New York State, POCR funds are the proceeds of court settlements relating to oil company violations of federal price controls in the 1970s and 1980s.

 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.

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