NYPA president warns easing of power demand is only temporary

ALBANY, N.Y., March 5, 2002 — New York Power Authority (NYPA) President and Chief Operating Officer Eugene W. Zeltmann called Tuesday for a three-pronged approach to meeting New York State’s electricity needs and warned that the current easing in growth of demand for power is a temporary respite that should be used to prepare for the future.

“The blueprint for New York’s energy future should resemble a three-legged stool–one balanced on generation, transmission and energy efficiency,” Zeltmann said in testimony at a public hearing on the Draft State Energy Plan. “All three of these elements are needed to provide our state a solid foundation for economic growth and environmental protection.

“We will need to build new, cleaner power plants, improve and enhance our transmission system, make more efficient use of energy–and explore new, renewable sources of power,” said Zeltmann. He noted that the Power Authority is playing vital roles in each of these areas while also using its low-cost electricity to help protect nearly 420,000 jobs at businesses and non-profit organizations throughout the state under Gov. George E. Pataki’s Power for Jobs program and other initiatives.

Testifying at the hearing conducted by the State Energy Planning Board, which prepared the draft plan, Zeltmann said the national economic downturn and the events of Sept. 11 have slowed growth in electricity use, but that this trend would not continue.

“As the economy recovers, the ongoing growth in the demand for electricity will certainly accelerate,” he told the panel at the state Department of Environmental Conservation building. “We must take advantage of this brief respite and view it as an opportunity to prepare for the future.

“Forward-looking energy policy can be a casualty of the complacency that accompanies seemingly sufficient power supplies and lower prices,” Zeltmann said. “Fortunately, the efforts of Governor Pataki–including the work of the Energy Planning Board–demonstrate that New York State is working to avoid that pitfall. The Draft State Energy Plan recognizes the sustained growth of energy demand, as well as the crucial role of energy efficiency in improving air quality and cutting our dependence on foreign oil.”

Zeltmann cited the draft plan’s “essential sense of balance” in addressing each element of the three-part energy strategy and said “it will provide an excellent map to a better energy future for all New Yorkers.”

Summarizing the Power Authority’s contributions in the three areas, Zeltmann noted that NYPA:

* Is investing more than half a billion dollars in upgrades of its St. Lawrence-Franklin D. Roosevelt and Niagara hydroelectric projects, has applied for a new federal license for St. Lawrence-FDR and is preparing for the Niagara relicensing. The existing licenses expire in 2003 and 2007, respectively.
* Installed 10 small, clean gas-turbines generators in New York City and an 11th on Long Island in time for last summer’s electricity supply crunch and has proposed building an efficient 500-megawatt “combined-cycle” plant in Queens next to its existing Charles Poletti Power Project to address longer-term electricity demands. The new natural-gas-fueled plant will permit less-frequent operation of the Poletti project, reducing emissions to the air.
* Is installing a sophisticated transmission control device, a convertible static compensator (CSC), at its Marcy Substation near Utica “in a bold move to strengthen the state’s power delivery system without building new lines.” The $52 million project will boost statewide transmission capacity by 200 megawatts or more. Its first phase, completed last year, increased power flows by 114 megawatts.
* Has more than doubled its investment in energy-efficiency and clean-energy technologies–to over $100 million a year–under Governor Pataki’s leadership. The projects, at public facilities throughout the state, save taxpayers nearly $75 million a year while avoiding the annual release of more than 500,000 tons of greenhouse gases.
* Is pursuing an array of clean energy initiatives involving fuel cells, microturbines, solar power and other renewable energy sources. Current activities include a project to harness greenhouse gases from the Town of Colonie’s landfill to produce nearly 3,000 kilowatts of electricity.
* Has put more than 250 clean electric and hybrid-electric vehicles on the road in its own fleet and those of its customers. Recent efforts include the NYPA/Th!nk Clean Commute, the nation’s largest electric-vehicle station car demonstration, which will involve 100 commuters in the New York metropolitan area.

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The Clarion Energy Content Team is made up of editors from various publications, including POWERGRID International, Power Engineering, Renewable Energy World, Hydro Review, Smart Energy International, and Power Engineering International. Contact the content lead for this publication at Jennifer.Runyon@ClarionEvents.com.

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