FAIRPORT, N.Y., September 20, 2004 — New York Power Authority (NYPA) President and Chief Executive Officer Eugene W. Zeltmann announced two major initiatives that will help the state’s 51 municipal electric systems and rural cooperatives improve air quality, cut dependence on foreign oil and make more effective use of low-cost NYPA electricity.
One program calls for the Power Authority to join with the municipal and cooperative systems to evaluate potential energy efficiency projects in their service territories. Under the other initiative-known as “Green Care Clean Air”-NYPA will offer rebates of up to $1,000 to each system for the purchase of electric outdoor equipment such as lawnmowers, hedge trimmers and chain saws.
“Along with our growing cooperative efforts to strengthen economic development and promote clean transportation in your communities, these programs will make our relationship a model for the nation of what public power can accomplish at its very best,”
Zeltmann said in a speech at the state Municipal Electric Utilities Association’s (MEUA) 74th annual conference.
Zeltmann said the various programs are consistent with the energy initiatives and environmental quality policies advanced by Gov. George E. Pataki.
The energy efficiency partnership, Zeltmann said, will enable the public systems, most of which are MEUA members, to use low-cost hydroelectric power supplied by NYPA “as wisely as possible and to the greatest benefit.”
“Together, we’ll look at the way your residential, commercial and industrial customers use electricity, with an eye toward helping them use it better,” Zeltmann said. “After we’ve conducted the evaluations, we’ll recommend energy efficiency measures for individual systems and help you implement any or all of the options you choose.”
Zeltmann said the “Green Care Clean Air” rebate program is intended to promote the use of electric outdoor equipment in place of gasoline-powered machinery.
“The emissions produced by gasoline-powered lawn care equipment are significant, in large part because such equipment has been an overlooked-and often unregulated-source of pollution,” Zeltmann said. He cited an estimate by the California Air Resources Board that the emissions from a single gasoline-fueled lawnmower are equivalent to those from 40 new automobiles.
Zeltmann said the new initiatives, like NYPA’s ongoing $1.2 million loan program to help the municipal and cooperative systems purchase clean electric and hybrid-electric vehicles, will enable the systems to “lead by example” in cleaning the air and reducing reliance on imported oil. He said the clean-vehicle program is progressing, with the MEUA and several of its members having obtained or ordered electric or hybrid vehicles.
Zeltmann also noted that a committee of Power Authority and municipal system and co-op representatives has developed proposals to expand a program in which low-cost NYPA hydropower is used to bring new businesses and jobs to the systems’ territories. The recommendations are aimed chiefly at increasing participation by small businesses and systems.
Zeltmann told the audience at the Lodge at Woodcliff that Fairport, host for this year’s MEUA conference, is one of the Power Authority’s oldest and largest municipal system customers and that NYPA’s newest trustee, Michael Townsend, is a Fairport resident. The Power Authority president praised Fairport Mayor Clark King and Electric System Administrator Ken Moore for their commitment to public power, noting that Moore’s service as MEUA president during the past year had been marked by significant progress in the Association’s relationship with NYPA.