NYPA Continues Major Strides in Sustainability Including Installation of First Fuel Cell at a Westchester Office Building

Connie M. Cullen

January 13, 2010


WHITE PLAINS—New York Power Authority (NYPA) President and Chief Executive Officer Richard M. Kessel today announced the roll-out of NYPA’s Sustainability Action Plan to formalize the implementation of future energy saving and environmental initiatives.  NYPA showed its commitment to this effort by introducing a new clean operating fuel cell just installed at its White Plains office.

Kessel was joined by City of White Plains Mayor Adam Bradley, other elected officials, representatives from Federated Conservationists of Westchester County, Inc., other environmental organizations and Robert Byron, product manager, UTC Power stationary fuel cell business, to announce the new plan for future energy and environmental programs to be undertaken by NYPA. 

Highlighting the announcement was the new energy saving 200 kilowatt (kw) fuel cell at NYPA’s downtown White Plains office building, which will generate 200 kw continuously, or about 1.6 million kilowatt hours annually, to supply approximately 20 percent of the building’s annual energy requirement.  Waste heat from the unit will be used to heat and cool the office’s lobby areas. 

This is the first fuel cell to be installed at an office building in Westchester County and its operation is expected to offset about 1,116 tons of carbon dioxide annually contributing to a cleaner environment.

“Leading by example is the way to show others of the benefits of making sustainability a part of everyday life—whether at work or in the home,” said Richard M. Kessel, president and chief executive officer, NYPA.  “Sustainability is a practice long followed by the Power Authority.  Today’s document formalizes the sustainability practices already underway and, most importantly, provides guidance on accomplishing even more in the future.”

“The new fuel cell is a physical demonstration showing NYPA is not only ‘talking the talk’ but ‘walking the walk’ when it comes to continuing sustainability efforts at the Power Authority,” Kessel added.

“Sustainability is not new to the Power Authority but with the Sustainability Action Plan, we are saying to the public there is more we can do and more we will do to ensure a better environment for future generations,” said Michael Townsend, chair, Board of Trustees, NYPA.

“The City of White Plains is delighted to be the host of NYPA's new energy saving fuel cell and appreciates NYPA's commitment to sustainability and energy savings,” said Adam Bradley, mayor, City of White Plains.  “As always, White Plains will look to NYPA for ways that it can improve its environmental footprint.”

“NYPA has been a long-time customer and champion of using fuel cells to generate clean on-site power, and UTC Power is extremely pleased to have our fuel cell system powering this sustainable building,” said Neal Montany, director, UTC Power stationary fuel cell business.

The NYPA Sustainability Action Plan was developed, written and produced by a diverse team of NYPA employees—ranging from environmental scientists to workplace safety professionals to facilities management experts to communication specialists.  The plan combines NYPA’s longstanding energy saving and environmental conservation practices with future initiatives under one sustainability umbrella to achieve the goals of environmental stewardship, social equity and economic prosperity.  The plan was reviewed by a wide-range of individuals and organizations across New York State to get community input prior to it being finalized.

The plan, entitled Generating Sustainability, is comprised of five sections representing NYPA’s major areas of activities: workplace, community, environment, marketplace and operations. It includes 21 key focus areas ranging from health and safety to stakeholder engagement to climate change adaptation.  While the plan establishes a long-term framework, in order to make an immediate impact NYPA has identified 41 separate actions that it will strive to complete between 2010 and 2012. 

Among the focus areas includes continuing attention to Green Workspaces to keep work environments healthy for NYPA employees and building visitors.  Currently, NYPA’s White Plains office uses environmentally-friendly cleaning products and materials.  In addition, the plan seeks to develop green guidelines for office renovations which will incorporate LEED (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design) Commercial Interior standards and is being implemented in the renovation underway on the building’s fifth floor.

In 2006, the NYPA White Plains office building received Gold-EB (existing building) certification from the U.S. Green Building Council’s LEED Program.  It was the first building in New York State to receive this designation.  The Gold designation signifies that that the Clarence D. Rappleyea Building, which is the name of NYPA’s White Plains office building, at 123 Main Street, meets the rigorous LEED performance standards for five key areas: sustainable site development, energy efficiency, water savings, materials selection and indoor environmental quality.  NYPA has also installed a solar system and microturbine that generate energy used in the building. 

The plan can be viewed on the Web at www.nypa.gov/sustainability/plan.pdf

NYPA has been a pioneer in demonstrating and installing fuel cells.  Westchester County is home to the world’s first fuel cell operating using anaerobic digester gas (ADG), installed by NYPA in 1997, at the county’s waste water treatment facility in Yonkers where it continues to operate.  ADG is a byproduct of sewage treatment and a renewable energy source. For more information about the NYPA fuel in Yonkers, see http://www.nypa.gov/services/profiles/yonkersfuelcell.htm.

The new NYPA fuel cell in White Plains is a demonstration model of a new generation of fuel cells.

Including the new fuel cell, NYPA has installed about 16 fuel cells.  The Central Park Police Station was one of the only buildings in New York City to have lights during the August 2003 black-out due to a fuel cell installed by NYPA.  NYPA has also installed fuel cells at the New York Aquarium, Bronx Zoo, North Central Bronx Hospital, the State University of New York, College of Environmental Science and Forestry, and four waste water treatment complexes in New York City.   An ongoing project has NYPA providing fuel cells for the World Trade Center site.

Fuel cells generate electricity by combining hydrogen and oxygen in a chemical reaction without combustion.  They are exceptionally clean and efficient, and require few moving parts, making them a quiet, reliable and safe source of power suitable for around-the-clock operation.


“The Federated Conservationists of Westchester County (FCWC) applauds NYPA for its long standing dedication to sustainability and clean energy efforts, as they are crucial to building a sustainable future for New York State. FCWC views NYPA as a partner in promoting and implementing sustainability initiatives, as well as a leader, continuing to set standards for industry, by integrating clean, energy efficient technologies into their own buildings," stated Steven Levy, co-president, FCWC.
“NYPA’s environmental leadership at the state level is critical to ensuring that policies and practices safeguard future generations of New Yorkers,” says Kyle Rabin, director of the Manhattan-based Network for New Energy Choices. “The comprehensive Sustainability Action Plan illustrates the authority’s commitment to environmental stewardship, social equity and economic prosperity. Notably, the plan embraces the interconnections between energy and water and the importance of factoring both into policies, practices, and planning.”

“NYPA's Sustainability Action Plan illustrates proactive leadership in meeting the needs of today without harming our future” said Miquela Craytor, executive director, Sustainable South Bronx.  This plan represents a concentrated effort to ensure the Power Authority’s relationship for all New Yorkers is a sustainable one.  We applaud their efforts and look forward to assisting in the implementation of the plan in our communities.

“This plan is a testament to NYPA practicing what they preach, and putting sustainability into action,” said Adrienne Esposito, Executive Director for Citizens Campaign for the Environment.  “NYPA’s Sustainability Action Plan demonstrates needed leadership from the public sector to help fight climate change, create good jobs, and promote energy independence. It really is good planning that can reshape our future and bring us a better tomorrow.”

"We commend NYPA's efforts to prioritize sustainability across the board, from daily operations and community investments to its major role in New York's energy marketplace," said Carol E. Murphy, Executive Director of the Alliance for Clean Energy New York (ACE NY). "Generating Sustainability shows an important emphasis on demand response and other energy efficiency initiatives, a commitment to expanding NYPA's renewable generation portfolio through projects like Great Lakes Offshore Wind, and a renewed focus on clean energy procurements. With initiatives such as these, NYPA continues to lead the State in developing a thriving clean energy economy that will benefit New Yorkers for generations to come."  

"The New York Power Authority has always been a major producer of clean, renewable hydropower at its Niagara power generating facility.  Over the course of the last year, the Power Authority has moved into the vanguard of efforts to make New York State a national leader in all forms of renewable energy and related technology, including wind and solar power,” said Paul Dyster, mayor, City of Niagara Falls.  “The City of Niagara Falls looks forward to working closely with NYPA in the future to create hundreds of sustainable "Green Collar" jobs, reduce our carbon footprint, and increase our state and nation's supply of clean, renewable energy.  We believe the Authority shares our "Green-to-Green" philosophy, recognizing that the highest best use for today's renewable energy is to create renewable energy for the future, and we commend Governor Paterson and President and CEO Richard Kessel for their vision and leadership on energy issues."

"NYPA's commitment to sustainability in New York State is a positive step forward for the Buffalo Niagara region," said Andrew J. Rudnick, President and CEO of the Buffalo Niagara Partnership. "Our employers will have greater opportunity for cost savings from energy efficiency through the sharing of best practices and expertise; and the greater emphasis on renewable energy provides outstanding opportunity for manufacturers and other suppliers in Buffalo Niagara. For our employers, the economic impact of this action plan is a significant added benefit to the overall environmental strategy."

About NYPA:

■ The New York Power Authority 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 public power organization, with 17 generating facilities in various parts of New York State and more than 1,400 circuit-miles of transmission lines. ■ More than 80 percent of the electricity it produces is clean renewable hydropower.  Its lower-cost power production and electricity purchases support hundreds of thousands of jobs throughout the state. ■For more information, www.nypa.gov.

About UTC Power:

UTC Power is part of United Technologies Corp. (NYSE:UTX), which provides energy-efficient products and services to the aerospace and building industries. UTC is a founding member of the U.S. Green Building Council and the Pew Center on Global Climate Change and has been named to the Dow Jones Sustainability Index each year since it was launched in 1999. Based in South Windsor, Conn., UTC Power is the world leader in developing and producing fuel cells that generate energy for buildings and for transportation, space and defense applications. For more information, please visit www.utcpower.com

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