Zeltmann, NYPA President, Cites Need for Clean New Power Plants

Stephen Shoenholz

March 11, 2002


BRONXVILLE—Warning that a recovering economy will require additional supplies of electricity, New York Power Authority (NYPA) President and Chief Operating Officer Eugene W. Zeltmann said Monday that it would be "a serious miscalculation" to delay or drop plans to build a new generation of clean, efficient power plants.

"When the economy recovers, as it’s apparently beginning to do, electricity use will start shooting up again and keep on growing," Zeltmann told the Bronxville Rotary Club. "We must use what could be a very brief respite to get ready."

Zeltmann noted that the national economic slowdown and the September 11 attacks "have led, at least for now, to falling prices and easing of supply problems in New York and other parts of the country." But he said new power plants will be needed quickly both to meet anticipated future requirements and to improve air quality by replacing old, inefficient units.

Even for this summer, Zeltmann said, the New York Independent System Operator, which runs the state's wholesale power markets, and Con Edison predict that peak demand for electricity will be roughly at last year’s record levels.

He said the Power Authority, under Gov. George E. Pataki’s leadership, is helping to carry out a three-part strategy to meet power needs and protect the environment. In addition to building clean new power plants, the approach includes strengthening the power transmission system and promoting energy efficiency and renewable supply sources.

Zeltmann told the audience at J.C. Fogarty’s restaurant that Westchester County residents and businesses benefit from the Power Authority’s installation of 10 small, clean gas-turbine generators in New York City and of the world’s most advanced transmission control device at its Marcy Substation near Utica.

By bolstering power supplies, the gas turbines have helped to lower the prices paid by all Con Edison customers, including those in Westchester County. The transmission device, called a convertible static compensator, is scheduled for completion later this year, but has already eased bottlenecks in Central New York, permitting more electricity to reach Westchester and other parts of the Hudson Valley.

Zeltmann said Westchester County taxpayers save about $30 million a year through use of economical Power Authority electricity by the county government and about 100 other public entities, including the Town of Eastchester and the villages of Bronxville and Tuckahoe.

"Westchester commuters also benefit," he said, "since our electricity powers the Metro-North trains."

In addition, said Zeltmann, NYPA power supplied under Governor Pataki’s Power for Jobs program and other initiatives helps to protect nearly 22,000 jobs at businesses and non-profit organizations in Westchester ranging from Reader’s Digest, Coca-Cola Bottling and Kraft Foods to St. Joseph’s Medical Center in Yonkers.

Also in Westchester, he noted, the Power Authority helps to meet power needs, improve air quality and cut dependence on foreign oil by advancing energy efficiency and clean new technologies.

"Westchester facilities and the taxpayers supporting them save more than $6 l/2 million a year thanks to our efficiency efforts," Zeltmann said. "These projects also benefit the environment by cutting power-plant emissions by nearly 53,000 tons annually."

In addition, NYPA has installed nine solar energy projects in Westchester, including a unit at the Tuckahoe Library and Community Center, and a fuel cell at the county wastewater treatment plant in Yonkers.

Zeltmann said the Power Authority has helped to put about 40 clean electric vehicles on the road in Westchester and recently launched the "NYPA/Th!nk Clean Commute," the nation’s largest electric station-car program.

"Ford is leasing the vehicles to 100 Westchester and other area commuters for $199 a month," he said. "Participants will use charging equipment at the station lots, including those in Chappaqua and White Plains. And—in what I’m told is a matter of some importance— they’ll be assured a parking spot at their station."