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Electric Vehicles Arrive at Westchester County Airport: New York Power Authority Helps to Acquire Energy Efficient Ground Support Equipment

Paul DeMichele

January 14, 2009

(photos, video from press conference, transcript of video )


WHITE PLAINS—New York Power Authority (NYPA) President and Chief Executive Officer Richard M. Kessel, Westchester County Executive Andrew J. Spano and New York State Energy Research and Development Authority (NYSERDA) Vice President for Programs Robert G. Callender were joined by several government officials today at the Westchester County Airport to activate a fleet of electric ground support vehicles. The electric units will replace gasoline and diesel engine equipment to help reduce costs and pollution. 

“Westchester County has been a valued partner in completing this project, which is another step in the state’s efforts toward reducing greenhouse gases and other emissions and enhancing energy security under Governor Paterson. Both are top priorities of the Governor to promote a clean energy economy,” Kessel said. 

“We are making substantial reductions in air pollution here in Westchester—not only that, but at about $2 a gallon for the motor fuel, we will save, net the cost of the electricity, about $190,000 per year,” said Spano. “I want, in particular, to thank the New York Power Authority for the valuable guidance it provided to the Westchester County Department of Transportation and Airport in preparing the application to the FAA [Federal Aviation Administration], and for its willingness to provide early financial assistance that helped the County pay for consulting services and evaluate the feasibility of the project, and for its assistance to the County every step of the way in procuring the electric vehicles and fast rechargers.” 

“Today’s announcement reflects a successful partnership between NYSERDA, NYPA, and Westchester Airport officials in advancing Governor Paterson’s environmental and clean energy goals,” said Callender. “By leveraging federal dollars with technical experts and resources, tremendous environmental benefits will be realized. More importantly, electric vehicles will demonstrate how they can fulfill an airport’s extensive ground transportation operation while significantly reducing emissions of greenhouse gases and the demand for petroleum based transportation fuel.”  

The new electric-powered fleet includes three aircraft tow tractors, nine baggage tractors, five baggage belt loaders, four stair trucks and four lavatory/water trucks. The 25 electric vehicles, and the 13 advanced Dual Port Super Charge recharging stations that support them, are being acquired by the airport with the assistance of a FAA Voluntary Airport Low Emissions (VALE) grant of $1.1 million. 

“Westchester County has demonstrated its commitment in helping improve the environment in the New York Metropolitan area by its participation in the VALE program,” said Pearlis Johnson, acting regional administrator of FAA's Eastern Region. “We would strongly encourage other eligible airports to join Westchester County in this innovative environmental program.” 

The total project budget was about $2.5 million and will save approximately 1.7 million gallons of fuel during the 14-year expected lifespan of the equipment. It will also help reduce harmful vehicle emissions, including greenhouse gases, by up to 27,000 tons over the same time span. 

NYPA’s clean transportation program has placed more than 1,000 hybrid and all-electric vehicles in the fleets of numerous public entities, with 250 vehicles in Westchester alone. 

The Westchester County Airport is the fifth New York State airport where the Power Authority has helped to implement energy efficiency projects. Other airports that have benefited from NYPA’s efforts include Albany International, LaGuardia, John F. Kennedy International and Stewart International. 

Since the early 1990s, NYPA has worked with other entities, including municipalities and school districts throughout Westchester, to advance energy technologies and energy efficiency projects. In total, the Power Authority has completed almost 125 projects at 245 facilities in the county, saving taxpayers more than $7.5 million a year and reducing greenhouse gases by more than 59,000 tons annually. 

The Power Authority is a leader in promoting energy-efficiency and new energy technologies and is the nation’s largest state-owned electric utility with 18 generating plants and more than 1,400 circuit-miles of transmission lines in various parts of the state. 

 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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