NYPA Awards Maintenance Service Contracts for Renewable Energy Installations

Michael Saltzman

March 10, 2010


WHITE PLAINS—Clean energy jobs at two firms in Queens and Westchester County will be supported by the award of contracts of up to a total of $975,000 by the New York Power Authority (NYPA) for routine maintenance of solar photovoltaic (PV) systems, fuel cells, and electric-vehicle (EV) charging stations. The services will be provided mostly for renewable energy systems and clean transportation technologies that NYPA has placed in service in the New York City Metropolitan Area at various public facilities served by the Authority.  

The three-year contracts, which go into effect this month, are with RDS Industries of Flushing and Mercury Solar Systems of the Village of Port Chester for mechanical, civil and electrical maintenance services.  The NYPA Trustees approved the contracts in January.  RDS Industries previously conducted similar work for NYPA on an as-needed basis.

"The contracts with these two firms, in Queens and Westchester, will help us to ensure the continued optimal performance of clean energy systems that we’ve installed at customer sites to reduce the demand on the electric power grid and help combat greenhouse gas emissions,” said Richard M. Kessel, NYPA president and chief executive officer. “Investment in renewable energy technologies is a fundamental part of the solution for pulling New York State’s economy out of the recession and growing new jobs in labor-intensive industries. But the economic development benefits don’t stop with the manufacturing of these clean electric generating systems.  The installation and maintenance of the equipment also requires labor, making it possible for much of the positive effects to stay in the region where the power is used. The two contracts that we awarded for maintenance services are good examples.”

Kessel noted that Gov. David A. Paterson has set an ambitious goal for 45 percent of the state’s electricity needs to be met through improved energy efficiency and clean, renewable energy by the year 2015. It is conservatively estimated that this expanded use of clean energy technologies will create 50,000 new jobs throughout the state.

Statewide, the Power Authority has installed 35 PV systems and 16 fuel cells at various customer sites as well as at Authority facilities. This includes a fuel cell recently installed at NYPA’s White Plains office that can provide up to 20 percent of the 17-story building’s total energy requirements.

Fuel cells rely on a chemical process, instead of combustion, to generate electricity with the only byproducts heat and water.  Hydrogen is extracted from natural gas, waste gas or other fuel source and combined with oxygen in the air, in the presence of electric catalysts, to generate electricity cleanly and efficiently.

The solar power and fuel cell installations that the Power Authority has undertaken are examples of distributed generation applications where electric power is produced at various locations near the point of use.

Among the downstate locations where NYPA has installed such generating systems are the Yonkers Wastewater Treatment Plant, the Gun Hill Bus Depot in the Bronx, Southern Westchester BOCES in Valhalla, Valhalla Medical Center, Bronx High School of Science, the Queens Botanical Gardens, the New York Aquarium in Brooklyn, North Central Bronx Hospital and the Central Park Police Precinct.  Other sites include four wastewater treatment plants in Brooklyn, the Bronx and Staten Island where the Power Authority installed fuel cells that harness waste gas to generate electricity for those facilities.

The Power Authority has helped put on the road some 800 electric-drive vehicles (EDV) of various types in New York City and Westchester for public customers benefiting from its lower cost power, other government entities and in its own fleet of vehicles.  The EDVs, which include heavy-duty hybrid trucks, off-road electric vehicles (EVs), hybrid electric buses and passenger vehicles, are part of a statewide clean transportation program that has made NYPA one of the leading utilities in the Northeast in introducing alternative-fueled vehicles.   

NYPA’s role in facilitating the use of the electric vehicles (EV) has included supporting installation, maintenance and repair of charging equipment at public facility sites where the EVs are being used.   

The award of the contracts to RDS Industries and Mercury Solar Systems stemmed from a November 2009 request for competitive bids for maintenance services. RDS is a full-service electrical-mechanical contractor that was founded in 1972.  Mercury, founded in 2006, specializes in electrical and structural engineering and solar design. 

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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