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NYPA Energy Efficiency Project to Save Yonkers Wastewater Treatment Facility $342,000 a Year in Energy Costs

Michael Saltzman
Connie Cullen

September 2, 2008


WHITE PLAINS—The New York Power Authority (NYPA) and the Westchester County Department of Environmental Facilities (DEF) today announced the completion of an energy efficiency project that is expected to save the county about $342,000 a year. 

The project, at the Yonkers Joint Wastewater Treatment Facility, included replacement and relocation of pumps, piping and other equipment to improve the performance of the facility, which treats an average of 84 million gallons per day of wastewater. It is the largest such facility managed by DEF.  An initial annual savings estimate of $225,000, based on 2005/06 rates, was forecast, with savings now expected to be $342,000, based on 2008 rates, due to higher electricity prices.

“Not only does this project save our taxpayers money, but it is important to the environment,” said County Executive Andy Spano of the collaborative project between the county and the New York Power Authority. “The plant will use less energy as a result of better equipment technology that allows for less run time per day and the use of high efficiency motors. It is part of our overall effort to save tax dollars and reduce the county government’s carbon footprint.”

“This project demonstrates how local energy efficiency projects result in savings for municipalities and in advancing the goals of the Governor’s ‘15 by 15’ Plan to reduce electricity use by 15 percent below forecasted levels by 2015,” said Gil C. Quiniones, NYPA acting chief operating officer. “What this project is able to achieve is less energy usage from the electric power grid, for lower electric bills, reducing demand on power plants and enhancing air quality.”

The $6.5 million multiyear upgrade, which was recently completed by NYPA, will produce additional amounts of biogas for generating electricity by a fuel cell and generator and for heating by a boiler. The Power Authority installed the 200-kilowatt fuel cell in 1997. It was the first such installation in the Western Hemisphere to run on biogas and served as the model for eight other units that the Authority placed in service at four wastewater treatment plants in New York City.

The fuel cells harness the biogas, also known as anaerobic digester gas (ADG), to produce electricity and hot water, in an electrochemical process. The electricity output meets a portion of the wastewater treatment plant’s power requirements, and the hot water helps warm the bacteria that break down the waste in the treatment process.

The Yonkers facility is also the location of a roof-mounted solar photovoltaic (PV) system the Power Authority installed in 1996. It is one of 27 PV systems the Authority has installed around the state, with nine in Westchester County.

To date, the Power Authority has invested nearly $52 million in energy efficiency and clean energy initiatives at about 240 public facilities in Westchester County. Those efforts, which continue to be expanded on, save schools, libraries, the medical center and other public facilities in the county more than $7.2 million a year on their energy bills. The lowered energy use also cuts annual greenhouse gas emissions by 57,000 tons and avoids the use of the equivalent of 143,000 barrels of oil a year.

The energy-saving benefits for Westchester public facilities are value-added services that the Power Authority provides in meeting the electricity needs of its 104 governmental customers in the county. Other services include putting more than 200 electric-drive vehicles on Westchester roads for some of those customers, and also in the Power Authority’s own fleet of vehicles at its White Plains Office, which have recorded over two million miles.

The energy-efficiency project undertaken by NYPA at the Yonkers Joint Wastewater Treatment Facility was handled by Kenneth Kristensen, a conservation engineer in the Power Authority’s Energy Services and Technology business unit.

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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