Aggregated Energy Buying
In 2005 and 2006, the Authority selected Municipal Electric and Gas Alliance (“MEGA”), a not-for-profit corporation formed in New York in 1998, to provide the Authority with lower cost energy. As an aggregator of energy, MEGA does not buy and sell electricity or natural gas. Rather, MEGA goes to the open market to seek prices that are lower than individual customers could achieve by purchasing these commodities on their own. Over a period of approximately three years, the Authority has realized over $283,000 in electric energy savings under a pilot program for large facilities. The Authority is currently working with MEGA to expand the purchase of low cost electric for all of its larger facilities as well as expanding its role to provide low cost natural gas to facilities powered by such energy.
The Authority continues to strive to meet the requirements of the Federal Energy Policy Act of 1992 and New York State Executive Orders 111 and 142, which urge State agencies and authorities to become less dependent on foreign oil and to provide cleaner air.
In September 2002, the Authority undertook a project to implement the use of bio-diesel at the Larchmont Maintenance facility. The facility began using B-20, which is 20% bio-diesel blended with #1 or #2 regular diesel.
In 2008, the Authority expanded the use of Bio Diesel in multiple locations across the State, including the utilization of B-20 in upstate locations during the winter months. The Authority also expanded its fleet of E85 vehicles in 2008. Currently, the Authority has more than 400 active E85 vehicles across the State. Two of the five E85 fueling stations were modified to allow outside State agencies to fuel-flex fuel vehicles with ethanol. The Authoritys use and proactive approach to alternative fuels has allowed it to meet the State and Federal objectives.
The Authority has been prepared to open the first E85 fueling station to the public at the New Baltimore Travel Plaza (approximately 15 miles south of Albany) since the Fall of 2006. Upon approval from Underwriters Laboratory, the Authority plans to implement retail sale of E85 fuel at the New Baltimore and Sloatsburg Travel Plazas. The Authority also has plans to construct additional E85 fuel facilities at the Clarence Travel Plaza in the Fall of 2009.
Energy Efficiency Master Plan (NYSERDA FlexTech Program)
The Authority has recently selected C.J. Brown, a consultant, under the New York State Energy and Research Development Authority’s (“NYSERDA”) FlexTech Program, to develop an Energy Master Plan for the Authority. The consultant will also, among other tasks, complete energy audits, conduct cost benefit analyses and identify potential energy efficiency and conservation projects (including solar thermal and solar photovoltaic power). These analyses will include all Thruway Authority and Canal Corporation maintenance facilities, service areas (central systems only), toll plazas and highway lighting. The project is currently underway and is expected to be completed in 2011. It is important to note that as part of this effort C.J. Brown assisted the Authority with the development of the Wind Energy project.
Green Buildings/Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) Certification
According to the NYS Department of Environmental Conservation, “The buildings we live and work in can be significant sources of pollution. Buildings consume vast amounts of energy for heating, cooling, ventilation and lighting. Fax machines, copiers, computers and other modern equipment that we all now take for granted also impact the environment. That's why New York is taking the lead to ensure that new buildings are designed and constructed to save energy and minimize their impact on the environment. New York will be among the first states in the nation to offer a tax incentive program for developers and builders of environmentally friendly buildings. In turn, this will open a market for new technologies and provide clean, healthy places to work and live. Green buildings are more earth-friendly by virtue of greater energy efficiency, cleaner air, utilization of recycled materials, and incorporation of renewable and energy efficient power generation systems in their designs. They also minimize environmental impact and maximize the preservation of open space.”
The U.S. Green Building Council, has developed a voluntary, consensus-based national standard for developing high-performance, sustainable buildings, referred to as the LEED Green Building Rating System™ (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design). LEED was created to; define "green building" by establishing a common standard of measurement; promote integrated, whole-building design practices; recognize environmental leadership in the building industry; stimulate “green” competition; raise consumer awareness of green building benefits; and, transform the building market.
LEED provides a complete framework for assessing building performance and meeting sustainability goals. Based on well-founded scientific standards, LEED emphasizes state-of-the-art strategies for sustainable site development, water savings, energy efficiency, materials selection and indoor environmental quality. LEED recognizes achievements and promotes expertise in green building through a comprehensive system offering project certification, professional accreditation, training and practical resources.
HQ Energy Efficiency Project (NYPA Energy Efficiency Program)
With the assistance of the New York Power Authority (“NYPA”), a private contractor has been selected to perform audits on existing heating, cooling, lighting and other mechanical systems at the Authority’s Headquarters Building in order to determine what energy conservation and facility improvement upgrades could be performed. This project will complement the Energy Efficient Master Plan mentioned above. It has already been recommended that the Authority could save $280,000 per year in energy costs by converting from electricity to natural gas and by performing other heating/cooling upgrades to reduce annual energy usage by 2.6 million kWh. The total capital cost of this Authority Board-approved project is estimated at $3.5 million, with a return on investment (ROI) of 11.7 years. Under the NYPA program, NYPA will pay for the initial study and design, and can provide advance funding for capital projects.
The Authority is interested in new technologies for transportation lighting that may be more energy efficient and reduce lighting pollution. The Authority has worked with the Lighting Research Center (LRC), part of the School of Architecture at Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute. The LRC is the leading university-based research center devoted to lighting and has an international reputation as a reliable source for objective information about lighting technologies, applications, and products. The LRC developed project specific, energy efficient, low pollution lighting designs, for the Interchange 17 reconstruction project.
For more information on the Lighting Research Center, visit: www.lrc.rpi.edu.
The New York State Thruway Authority is incorporating environmentally friendly "green" technology into the design of many new buildings to enhance energy efficiency. For example, "green" technology is being implemented in the Interchange 17 project. This project involves constructing a new interchange to provide a direct connection between I-84 and I-87. It also includes the relocation and construction of support facilities within the interchange, e.g., a consolidated maintenance facility, a State Police building, a toll utility building and a fueling station for Authority vehicles that use Compressed Natural Gas (CNG).
Many energy saving “green” features are being incorporated at the Interchange 17 project site including: a co-generation gas turbine power plant that will provide the majority of electricity to the facilities on-site, thermal protection in the roof and wall structures, cisterns to collect and re-use rain water, low pollutant emitting building materials, paint and adhesives, innovative wastewater technologies and more. The Maintenance Building has received a LEED Certification of Silver for the extensive incorporation of environmentally friendly features.
In 2011, the New York State Thruway Authority initiated the process to design, install, operate, and maintain wind turbines on five Thruway Authority properties in Western New York.
The project will not only reduce the carbon footprint of the Thruway Authority but will provide energy cost savings of an estimated 30-35 percent for the Authority's Buffalo Division.
The project entails the construction of wind energy facilities at five locations along the Erie Section of the Thruway, south of Buffalo. These facilities will provide economical, clean electrical energy sufficient to meet the power needs at each location.
The wind energy locations have been pre-screened and found to be highly feasible for the installation of wind turbines due to their close proximity to some of New York's most valuable wind resources. These sites are:
- Dunkirk Interchange (Exit 59; Town of Dunkirk)
- Eden/Angola Interchange (Exit 57A; Town of Evans)
- Silver Creek Interchange (Exit 58; Town of Hanover)
- Ripley Toll Barrier (Town of Ripley)
- Westfield Maintenance Facility (near Exit 60; Town of Westfield)
The contract for the installation of the turbines was let on January 16, 2013. The project was awarded to the Kandey Co. on March 19, 2013. Project construction is estimated at approximately $8.0m.
Construction of the first turbine at the Dunkirk Interchange (Exit 59) began in the spring of 2013. Construction at all 5 locations is anticipated to be completed before the end of 2014. The turbines will be owned and operated by the Thruway Authority.
This project will help fulfill the Thruway Authority's commitment to environmental stewardship, and will assist in the attainment of the State's Renewable Energy Portfolio goals by promoting environmentally friendly technologies.