NYPA Press Release

NYPA and OGS Announce Plan for Renewable Power and Energy Efficiency Upgrades at Empire State Plaza

Remote Solar Generation Would Power Half of Plaza’s Energy Needs
Enhancements Include Cleaner Emergency Power System
Project Advances Climate Leadership and Community Protection Act Goals for Combatting Climate Change


For Immediate Release: 09/19/19

Paul DeMichele (NYPA) | paul.demichele@nypa.gov | 914-390-8186

Heather Groll (OGS) | heather.groll@ogs.ny.gov | 518-474-5987


ALBANY—The New York Power Authority (NYPA) and Office of General Services (OGS) are partnering on the development of solar energy generation to power Empire State Plaza in Albany and comprehensive energy efficiency and resiliency upgrades at the complex, moving the plaza further along in meeting the state’s goal for 100 percent of electric generation to be carbon-free by 2040. NYPA and OGS will collaborate on a large-scale remote solar array in Oneida County that can provide up to half of Empire State Plaza’s power needs. The solar power and additional energy efficiency and emission reductions at the plaza directly advance the goals of the Climate Leadership and Community Protection Act, the most aggressive climate change law in the nation.


NYPA and OGS evaluated energy options provided through a series of technical reviews, community listening sessions, and meetings with neighborhood associations before arriving at the current proposal to enhance the plaza’s energy system:

  • Demolish the old, out-of-use steel smoke stack at the former ANSWERS plant;
  • The development of a remote-solar array to power up to half of the plaza’s energy needs;
  • A $50 million project to replace the existing on-site emergency generators with state-of-the-art efficient, low-emission and low-noise units;
  • A nearly $30 million electrification upgrade to one of the on-site steam-driven chillers to reduce local gas use and emissions by 18 percent;
  • A $16 million initiative to install LED lighting technology throughout the entire plaza complex to reduce energy use and statewide greenhouse gas emissions;
  • Augment the large-scale remote solar array with on-site solar panels and electrical energy storage to further reduce fossil fuel dependency.


Gil C. Quiniones, NYPA president and CEO, said, “This path forward will greatly improve reliability, resiliency and sustainability at Empire State Plaza. NYPA and OGS will work closely together on the deployment of the remote large-scale solar project in Oneida County, marking the development of the largest concentration of distributed-scale solar generation in New York State.”


OGS Commissioner RoAnn Destito said, “Using reliable, efficient methods to power the Empire State Plaza and working to meet Governor Cuomo’s energy goals are priorities for the OGS team, so we are very pleased to begin developing the solar project. Removing the smoke-stack from the former ANSWERS facility in the Sheridan Hollow neighborhood, upgrading the chillers and expanding our LED lighting program are further examples of our commitment to climate leadership in New York State.”


The development of the remote solar project is still in the preliminary stages, but the proposal calls for the array to be placed on state-owned land near the former Oneida County airport, with the power generated being injected into the electric grid and credited to powering the plaza facilities in downtown Albany.


The implementation of these comprehensive energy system improvements at the plaza will allow OGS to exceed its BuildSmartNY goal to increase energy efficiency at its facilities by 20 percent by 2020. In addition, the project will advance OGS support of Governor Cuomo’s Executive Order 166, which directs state entities to lead by example in reducing greenhouse gas emissions and accelerate statewide adoption of clean technologies through public-facing programs.


Under BuildSmart NY, which was launched by Governor Cuomo in 2012, NYPA and OGS have partnered to complete $56 million in energy efficiency measures at 14 OGS facilities.


“This proposal from NYPA and OGS is a great step forward in developing a solution for the energy and resiliency needs of Empire State Plaza,” said Senator Neil D. Breslin. “Not only will this reduce local and statewide emissions, but it will incorporate a significant renewable energy component, which will greatly offset the plaza’s carbon footprint.”


“I am pleased to see serious, multi-layered plans for cleaner energy and emergency power at the Empire State Plaza that will reduce emissions at the Sheridan Hollow plant,” said Assemblymember Patricia Fahy. “By incorporating solar, energy efficiency measures, and plant upgrades into the Plaza, we will make progress on the state’s clean energy goals in a more community conscious way with a greater focus on environmental justice.”


“I thank NYPA and OGS for remaining engaged with the community and being responsive to the concerns that have been raised,” said John T. McDonald III. “These measures are a step forward that take into account the community feedback and are part of an ongoing dialogue. This work is a significant investment in Empire State Plaza’s power system and is aligned with other sustainability measures that New York State is undertaking.”


“I sincerely thank NYPA and OGS for collaborating on this important project and arriving at a reasoned plan forward that meets the concerns of the local community,” said Albany Mayor Kathy Sheehan. “As Governor Cuomo moves New York toward a zero emission economy, it is only fitting that Empire State Plaza and the plant that runs it are made more efficient and more reliant on renewable energy.”


New York State’s Green New Deal:

Governor Andrew M. Cuomo’s Green New Deal is the most aggressive climate change program in the nation and puts the state on a path to being entirely carbon-neutral across all sectors of the economy, including power generation, transportation, buildings, industry and agriculture. The Governor’s program also establishes a goal to achieve a zero-carbon emissions electricity sector by 2040, faster than any state in the nation. The recently passed Climate Leadership and Community Protection Act (CLCPA) mandates several of the Governor’s ambitious Green New Deal clean energy targets: installing nine gigawatts of offshore wind by 2035; six gigawatts of distributed solar by 2025 and three gigawatts of energy storage by 2030. The CLCPA also calls for an orderly and just transition to clean energy, creating jobs while spurring a green economy. It builds on New York’s unprecedented ramp-up of clean energy including a $2.9 billion investment in 46 large-scale renewable projects across the state, the creation of more than 150,000 jobs in New York’s clean energy sector, and 1,700% growth in the distributed solar sector since 2012. The CLCPA also directs New York State's agencies and authorities to work collaboratively with stakeholders to develop a plan to reduce greenhouse gas emissions 85% from 1990 levels by 2050, and to work toward a goal of investing 40 percent of clean energy and energy efficiency resources to benefit disadvantaged communities.


About NYPA:
NYPA is the nation's largest state public power organization, through the operation of its 16 generating facilities and more than 1,400 circuit-miles of transmission lines. 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. More than 70 percent of the electricity NYPA produces is clean renewable hydropower. For more information visit www.nypa.gov and follow us on Twitter @NYPAenergy, Facebook, Instagram, Tumblr, and LinkedIn.