Aggregated Energy Buying
In 2011, the Thruway Authority (Authority) entered into an agreement to have the majority of its natural gas accounts supplied by an Energy Service Company instead of purchasing it directly from the local utility company. In the first six months of the agreement, the Authority realized savings in excess of $70,000 and continues to save on energy costs. The Authority also entered into an agreement with the Office of General Services to purchase electricity, used at its Headquarter building, directly from the New York State Independent System Operator, thus achieving further savings.
The Authority strives to meet 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.
The Authority's use and proactive approach to alternative fuels has allowed compliance with State and Federal alternative fuel objectives. One way the Authority adheres to these goals is by dispensing Compressed Natural Gas at its Albany facility at McCarty Avenue.
Further, the Authority uses B-5 and B-20, which are 5% and 20% respectively, bio-diesel blended with #1 or #2 regular diesel, in multiple locations across the State. The Authority has also expanded its fleet to more than 400 active E85 vehicles and modified two of the five E85 fueling stations to allow other outside State agencies to fill their flex-fuel vehicles with ethanol.
In addition, the Authority is working towards installing level III electric vehicle charging stations at select service areas across the System.
Energy Efficiency Master Plan (NYSERDA FlexTech Program)
As part of the New York State Energy and Research Development Authority's (NYSERDA) FlexTech Program the Authority utilized C.J. Brown, a consultant, to develop an Energy Master Plan. The consultant completed energy audits, conducted cost benefit analyses and identified potential energy efficiency and conservation projects (including solar thermal and solar photovoltaic power) for the Authority. These analyses included all Authority maintenance facilities, service areas (central systems only), toll plazas and highway lighting. The project was completed in 2011. As a result, energy efficiency projects are being developed, and implemented through the Authority budgeting process.
Green Buildings/Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) Certification
The U.S. Green Building Council, has established a national standard for developing high-performance, sustainable buildings, referred to as the LEED Green Building Rating System™ (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design). LEED provides a complete framework for assessing building performance and meeting sustainability goals. 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.
The Authority received a LEED certification of Silver for the extensive incorporation of environmentally friendly features at the newly reconstructed Interchange 17 highway maintenance facility complex. The "green" technology at this facility includes a Compressed Natural Gas facility, enhanced energy efficient building designs, 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.
High Speed Electric Vehicle Charging Stations
The New York State Thruway Authority's first high-speed electric vehicle (EV) charging stations have been installed at four locations on the Thruway. The chargers enable fast-charge-capable EVs to be powered in about 30 minutes, roughly 10 to 20 times faster than standard EV charging stations. The stations are located on I-87 northbound at the Plattekill and Malden Service Areas, between exits 17 (Newburgh) and 21 (Catskill) and on I-87 southbound, at the Ulster and Modena Service Areas between exits 20 (Saugerties) and 17 (Newburgh). The new infrastructure stems from a collaboration between the New York Power Authority, the New York State Thruway Authority, the New York State Energy Research and Development Authority and Nissan North America. Additional charging stations across the Thruway system are anticipated in the future.
Wind Energy - Turbines
The Authority recently installed wind energy facilities at five locations along the Thruway in Erie and Chautauqua counties, south of Buffalo. Located close to the shore of Lake Erie, prevailing winds at these locations make them well-suited for wind power generation.
The wind turbines are owned and operated by the Authority, and will reduce our electricity costs in Western New York by about one-third – and also reduce our carbon footprint. Each turbine provides electricity to meet the needs of the Authority's facility where it is located, and four of the five facilities also send additional electricity back to the regional power grid through net metering.
These sites are:
- Dunkirk, exit 59 (Town of Dunkirk)
- Eden/Angola, exit 57A (Town of Evans)
- Silver Creek, exit 58 (Town of Hanover)
- Ripley Toll Barrier (Town of Ripley)
- Westfield Maintenance Facility, near exit 60 (Town of Westfield)
This project will help fulfill Authority's commitment to environmental stewardship and will assist in attaining the state's renewable energy portfolio goals by promoting environmentally friendly technologies.