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Substantial Savings Slated for Williamsville Central School District from N.Y. Power Authority Energy Efficiency Project

Christine Pritchard

November 19, 2008

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE                                                 

WILLIAMSVILLE—New York Power Authority (NYPA) President and Chief Executive Officer Richard M. Kessel today was joined by Williamsville Central School District (WCSD) Superintendent Dr. Howard Smith to announce innovative plans for an $8.6 million energy efficiency and clean energy project that will result in major savings in electricity and fuel costs to the district’s elementary, middle and high schools.

“This comprehensive project will lower the Williamsville Central School District’s energy costs by nearly a half a million dollars a year with upgraded lighting, new heating, ventilating and air-conditioning equipment and other energy efficiency measures,” Kessel said. “We’re planning to conduct additional initiatives in Western New York and throughout the state under the direction of Governor Paterson, who has underscored the imperative of increased investment in energy-efficiency and clean energy initiatives. The importance is especially pronounced given the current fiscal conditions in which taxpayer-supported public facilities are going to be challenged to do more with less.”

Kessel noted that the Power Authority Trustees later today are expected to approve a resolution in support of the extensive energy services project for WCSD. The project will also include the demonstration of a solar photovoltaic (PV) electric generating system at the WCSD’s North High School where Kessel and Smith gathered to make today’s announcement.

“We’re excited that this broad energy-saving project, which will increase the comfort and safety of the school district’s 13 buildings, is about to get fully under way,” WCSD Superintendent Smith said. “The capital improvements by the Power Authority will make it easier to manage our energy costs in this difficult financial environment in which so many of us are going to have to scale back spending. I want to thank Richard Kessel and the Power Authority Board of Trustees for making this worthwhile project possible. It really is going to make a big difference.”

“The Power Authority and the Williamsville Central School District are to be commended for their plans to implement the latest energy-saving technologies at the district’s varied facilities, some of which are well over a half a century old,” State Senator Mary Lou Rath said.  “This is the proverbial win-win situation, with substantial savings in store for the district, and improvements in lighting, temperature and other school building conditions for a healthy and comfortable physical learning environment for our students.”

"This project should save energy and save money for property taxpayers and help the environment. I am particularly pleased that the Williamsville Schools have been chosen to take the lead on the Power Authority's Energy Efficiency Project. I am hopeful that the project will find new ways to bring energy, cost and taxpayer savings to schools and public facilities across New York State," said Assemblyman Jim Hayes.

“NYSERDA is proud to partner with NYPA to implement a comprehensive energy strategy for the Williamsville Central School District that will reduce demand for electricity, save taxpayer dollars, and educate our youth about the importance of energy efficiency and clean-energy technologies,” said Robert G. Callender, New York State Energy Research and Development Authority (NYSERA) vice president for programs.  “With an aging school buildings infrastructure and budgets tightening, attention to improving the efficiency of existing facilities has become even more important and NYSERDA has the resources to help school districts achieve educational goals in an environmentally responsible and sustainable manner.” 

Key elements of the planned improvements for the WCSD include replacing incandescent lights with compact fluorescent lights; standard fluorescent lighting systems with more energy efficient fluorescent lights and electronic ballasts; and incandescent and fluorescent exit lights with those that use light-emitting diode (LED) technology.

Other improvements will include installation of: variable frequency drives for the efficient use of electric motors; high efficiency boilers and chillers; an energy management system to control and monitor mechanical and electrical equipment; new air-handling units and carbon dioxide sensors to ensure fresh air for building occupants; and measures to better control air flowing into and out of the buildings.

It is expected that, when completed, the WCSD project will save the school district approximately $494,000 a year in energy costs.  Also, the project will reduce greenhouse gas emissions by nearly 2,100 tons a year and displace approximately 7,000 barrels of oil annually.

A $250,000 grant from the Petroleum Overcharge Restitution Fund (POCR), which was established to provide restitution for overcharges by major petroleum companies in the past, will lower the project costs. POCR funding in New York State is administered by the Power Authority for the implementation of energy services projects.

NYPA will also provide up to $75,000 to pay the cost of the five- to six-kilowatt solar demonstration project. 

In addition, the New York State Education Department will provide financial assistance to the WCSD to lower its financing costs of the overall energy efficiency and clean energy project. 

State Education Commissioner Richard Mills said, “Everyone wins when schools use energy-saving technologies – students and teachers get a better learning environment, school districts save money, and we all benefit from a cleaner environment.”

NYPA’s “Power to Schools” Program was established in 2005 by legislation authorizing the Power Authority to make energy efficiency and clean energy technologies available to public and private schools. This program also allows NYPA to facilitate the purchase by schools of the most economical power available from the wholesale competitive marketplace. 

The project, which is scheduled to be completed by early 2010, is the latest of wide ranging energy-efficiency initiatives that NYPA has completed over the last decade and a half at nearly 140 public facilities in Erie and Niagara counties. Under the Power Authority’s Energy Services Program, the Authority invested more than $50 million in bringing about these projects, which have lowered electric bills by nearly $2.8 million a year and have also curbed annual greenhouse gas emissions by nearly 22,000 tons and displaced nearly 60,000 barrels of oil annually.

This energy efficiency project is being handled for the Power Authority by Joe Crimi, a conservation program engineer in NYPA’s Energy Services and Technology business unit.

 About NYPA:

■    NYPA uses no tax money or state credit.  It finances its operations through the sale of bonds and revenues earned in large part through sales of electricity.  ■    NYPA is a leader in promoting energy-efficiency, new energy technologies and electric transportation initiatives.  ■    It is the nation’s largest state-owned electric utility, with 18 generating facilities in various parts of the state and more than 1,400 circuit-miles of transmission lines.

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