The Thruway Authority (Authority) has long taken a proactive approach to increasing the use of clean, renewable energy and decreasing dependence on fossil fuels. The Authority’s energy practices and policies are designed 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.
- The New York State Climate Leadership and Community Protection Act, which sets ambitious statewide goals to increase the use of renewable energy and reduce emissions.
Alternative and Green Fuels
The Authority uses alternative and green fuels in its day-to-day activities. B-5 and B-20 bio-diesel, blended with #1 or #2 regular diesel, is used for trucks and heavy equipment in multiple locations across the State. The Authority has also expanded its fleet to more than 400 flex fuel vehicles which can run on active E85 (ethanol blend). The Authority has modified two of its five E85 fueling stations to allow other outside State agencies to fill their flex-fuel vehicles.
The Authority has added seven electric, Chevy Bolts to its fleet. These cars are available for use by all Authority staff in each of the Authority’s four Divisions and Headquarters.
Electric Vehicle Charging Stations
Electric vehicle (EV) charging stations have been installed across the system, at Service Areas, Welcome Centers, Commuter Park and Ride Lots, and the Governor Mario M. Cuomo Bridge landings. A full listing of EV charging station locations can be found in our “Travelers” information, at https://www.thruway.ny.gov/travelers/travelplazas/electric-vehicles.html.
At the conclusion of a current project to redesign and redevelop the Authority’s 27 service areas, EV charging stations will be provided at every Service Area.
The Authority has a photovoltaic energy system (solar system) on its right of way at Woodbury (Orange County). The solar system is operated and maintained by a solar provider who was selected as part of a competitive procurement process. The solar system has an annual production goal of one million Kilowatt hours with an estimated lifetime production of 25 years.
The energy generated by the solar system is fed directly into the electric utility grid and used to offset the Authority's electric bills at several nearby facilities. The Authority is currently evaluating other locations along the system for additional solar system installations that will contribute to the state’s goals for increasing the use of renewable energy.
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.
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.
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 rainwater, low pollutant emitting building materials, paint and adhesives, innovative wastewater technologies, and more.
All of the Authority’s 27 Service Areas, currently being redesigned and redeveloped, will be operated in an environmentally responsible manner to promote sustainability, including incorporating Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (“LEED”) principles and renewable sources of energy.