N.Y. Power Authority CEO Announces Approval of Low-Cost Power Contract for Brookhaven National Laboratory in Support of Major Expansion

Michael Saltzman
(914) 390-8181

February 25, 2010


WHITE PLAINS—New York Power Authority (NYPA) President and Chief Executive Officer Richard M. Kessel today announced that the statewide public power utility has approved a proposed contract for providing Brookhaven National Laboratory (BNL) with low-cost electricity in connection with a major expansion of the lab involving its vanguard work in high-energy physics and other cutting-edge sciences and technologies.   

The power supply contract will support a new $912 million scientific user facility now under construction at Brookhaven that will lead to several hundred new permanent positions at the lab, which currently employs approximately 3,000 scientists, engineers, technicians and support staff.  The economical power will also help underpin hundreds of millions of dollars a year in expenditures that the lab injects into New York State’s economy that are linked to tens of thousands of jobs in various regions.  

The NYPA Board of Trustees Tuesday authorized the proposed sale-for-resale contract with the Long Island Power Authority (LIPA) in support of the National Synchrotron Light Source II (NSLS-II) project, a high-intensity light beam project that is scheduled to go into service in 2015.  The sale-for-resale contract will also support BNL’s efforts to vie for other new scientific missions and other projects.  

“The contract the two Power Authorities have completed for the supply of economical hydropower to BNL will ensure that the NSLS-II project—a world-class particle accelerator for highly valued ultramicroscopic medical, energy and materials research —remains on track,” Kessel said. “The considerable extent of BNL’s interactions on multiple levels with other enterprises across the state underscores the importance of this contract for not only Long Island but other New York regions, and was part of the reason Governor Paterson came to the lab last year to announce the hydropower allocation.  In short, there will be positive economic effects across a broad range of businesses and other organizations from the power supply contract.”    

“The pioneering work being conducted at Brookhaven keeps this country at the forefront of nanotechnology, which has the potential for creating new materials and devices with a vast range   of applications,” said NYPA Chairman Michael J. Townsend.  “The NSLS-II project is a very important initiative for keeping America strong in science fields and preventing the loss of scientific research jobs. The New York Power Authority is glad to be contributing to this with our allocation of low-cost hydropower.”    

“The Long Island Power Authority is excited about the role we’re playing to make it possible for Brookhaven National Laboratory to benefit from the low-cost hydropower from the New York Power Authority,” said Kevin S. Law, LIPA’s President and Chief Executive Officer. “BNL provides extensive benefits to the Island and New York State economies and is one of the State’s most important institutions for the pioneering work that it undertakes in unlocking the secrets of microscopic particles. We’re delighted to be collaborating with NYPA on this initiative.” 

Under the power supply contract with NYPA, LIPA, which owns the electric transmission and distribution system on Long Island, will deliver the low-cost power to BNL. 

BNL’s annual impact on New York State’s economy is estimated at nearly $1 billion, with hundreds of millions of dollars more linked to direct spending in the state by the lab’s employees.  In addition, more than 3,000 visiting researchers from universities, industry and other research institutions use the laboratory’s advanced science facilities annually, with approximately one-third from New York institutions and businesses from various parts of the state.  

Among the organizations are the State University of New York at Plattsburgh, Cornell University and Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute.  Other organizations making use of BNL facilities include Corning, General Electric Global Research Center in Niskayuna, and IBM Research Division in Yorktown Heights.   

"The National Synchrotron Light Source II will be a state-of-the-art source of high-intensity, ultrabright x-rays that will be used to investigate the properties and functions of materials and biological samples at unprecedented levels of detail," said George Flynn, a SUNY-Plattsburgh researcher and long-time user of BNL's existing light source facility. "It will be a key research tool—located right here in New York State—for academic and industrial researchers, and will also provide unique opportunities for undergraduate and graduate students to participate in research projects." 

The proposed sale-for-resale contract, which is subject to the necessary governmental approvals, can be accessed on the NYPA Web site at http://www.nypa.gov/publichearings/. The contract provides for NYPA’s sale of 15 megawatts (mw) of hydropower to LIPA, with the Long Island electric service provider to resell the power to BNL without any markup or profit. The contract is for 10 years with an option for NYPA to extend it for an additional five years provided NYPA and LIPA receive prior authorization from BNL.   

At their meeting this week, the NYPA trustees authorized forwarding the contract to Gov. David A. Paterson for his consideration. The action followed NYPA’s holding of a Jan. 19 public hearing on the agreement at Brookhaven Town Hall, with opportunities also provided for written statements during the public comment period.   

Fourteen megawatts of the hydropower will come from power that was recaptured from neighboring states during NYPA’s relicensing in 2003 of the St. Lawrence-Franklin D. Roosevelt Power Project in Massena. The remaining megawatt is unallocated power from NYPA’s Niagara Power Project in Lewiston. The overall allocation from the two generating facilities will have no adverse impact on any NYPA customer or upstate consumers.     

The hydropower allotted to BNL will be in addition to market-based energy purchases that NYPA has provided Brookhaven since 1982 for savings of more than $292 million to the lab and federal taxpayers. The savings have been largely reinvested by the lab in research projects, which have relied heavily on New York State labor, materials and other services.  

“I’d like to express Brookhaven National Laboratory’s great appreciation to Governor Paterson and his administration for the arrangements provided for under the proposed NYPA-LIPA power supply contract,” said Michael J. Bebon, deputy director for Operations, BNL. “NYPA low-cost power is crucial to the continued operations of our large science facilities and the success of our research programs. The allocation of hydropower made it possible for us to compete nationally for the National Synchrotron Light Source II, a premier world-class research facility, and retain key jobs that would have otherwise been lost to other areas of the country. And it will support the continuation of the Laboratory’s major impact on New York State’s economy.”  

Bebon noted that BNL competed with other U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) laboratories for the NSLS-II project, which will result in up to approximately 1,200 construction jobs during the building phase. The DOE carefully considers a laboratory’s operating expenses, including the cost of electricity, in deciding where to locate projects. 

The NSLS-II project will direct light beams that are more than 10,000 times brighter than BNL’s current synchrotron facility, which is nearly 30-years-old.  That facility has reached the practical limits of machine performance and will be replaced.    

“Of special interest to us is that the work of the new light source facility will include science to enhance national and energy security and efforts to advance clean energy technologies,” added Kessel.  “This is closely aligned with initiatives being spearheaded by Governor Paterson for diversifying the state’s energy supplies, improving energy efficiency and reducing heat-trapping greenhouse gases by stemming fossil-fuel use.”  

Established in 1947, BNL has brought international attention to New York State with its achievements in many fields of science.  Seven Nobel Prizes have been awarded for discoveries made at Brookhaven.  


About NYPA:

■ The New York Power Authority 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 public power organization, with 17 generating facilities in various parts of New York State and more than 1,400 circuit-miles of transmission lines. ■ More than 80 percent of the electricity it produces is clean renewable hydropower.  Its lower-cost power production and electricity purchases support hundreds of thousands of jobs throughout the state. ■For more information, www.nypa.gov.

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