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FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE10-100

November 22, 2010

CONTACT:

Farrell Sklerov (Environmental Protection) (718) 595-6600
Marc La Vorgna (Mayor’s Office) (212) 788-2958

Deputy Mayor Goldsmith and Environmental Protection Commissioner Holloway Announce New Clean Energy Proposals

Plan Seeks Private Sector Interest in Cogeneration and Hydroelectric Power Projects;
Could Generate up to 45 Megawatts of Clean Energy

Deputy Mayor for Operations Stephen Goldsmith and Environmental Protection Commissioner Cas Holloway today announced the City is seeking proposals from energy developers and financiers to design, build, operate, and/or finance a cogeneration plant on Wards Island and hydroelectric power on four City-owned dams in upstate New York. The public-private initiatives could generate up to 45 megawatts of clean energy in the City and upstate, improving the reliability of the City's energy grid and reducing greenhouse gas emissions. Deputy Mayor Goldsmith also announced that the City's energy policy and planning unit, formerly based at the City's Economic Development Corporation, has been relocated to the Department of Environmental Protection and that the department will take a lead role in the City's energy policy and planning efforts, including City involvement in private energy infrastructure investments that impact New York City. The Department of Environmental Protection also will work with key energy regulators including the New York Independent System Operator, the Public Service Commission, the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission on energy issues affecting city residents and ratepayers. 

"Cogeneration and hydroelectric power hold incredible promise to provide the City with more clean energy sources and we are seeking ideas to form public-private partnerships to realize that potential," said Deputy Mayor Goldsmith. "By centralizing energy policy at DEP, we can take advantage of more opportunities to find clean energy sources that will reduce the strain on the City's energy grid without generating more carbon emissions."

"I want to thank Mayor Bloomberg and Deputy Mayor Goldsmith for this opportunity," said Commissioner Holloway. "From our wastewater treatment plants throughout the five boroughs to the reservoirs upstate, DEP has a unique asset mix that, in partnership with local utilities and the private sector, can be harnessed to generate clean, renewable energy. And as one of the largest energy consumers in the City, we have a strong interest in keeping energy reliable and affordable, and taking a leadership role in Mayor Bloomberg's effort to reduce municipal greenhouse gas emissions by 30 percent by 2017. We look forward to working with the many energy stakeholders in the City and State to achieve these goals, and a greener, greater New York."

"Developing new sources for renewable energy is an important step towards meeting our PlaNYC goal of providing cleaner, more reliable power for every New Yorker," said David Bragdon, Director of the Mayor's Office of Long-Term Planning and Sustainability. "This innovative approach has the potential to not only clean up our energy supply, but also achieves other important objectives such as cleaner air and fewer carbon emissions."

"I applaud DEP for pursuing innovative strategies to achieve the goals of PlaNYC. We were honored to work on these clean energy initiatives, which promise to significantly reduce the greenhouse gases produced by government operations," said Department of Citywide Administrative Services Commissioner Edna Wells Handy. "Effective collaboration among agencies is critical to making government more energy efficient."

"I'm very encouraged with the City's effort to move this initiative forward," said Assemblyman Pete Lopez, who represents seven counties in the Mid-Hudson, Northern Catskills, and Southern Tier – including numerous communities in the New York City Watershed. "The challenge with this undertaking will be to work with DEP to ensure that any agreement provides sufficient flexibility that allows a private-sector partner to see a reasonable return on their investment. There are many positives for our society in pursuing this. As part of this process, however, we also need to ensure that the people of the Watershed see some benefit. I look forward to working with my community and the City to make this project a reality."

Cogeneration

Wards Island offers one of the greatest opportunities for cogeneration energy production on City property and a facility on the island could generate up to 30 megawatts of energy. Cogeneration is on-site energy generation that uses clean or renewable fuel sources to produce electricity and steam or hot water. Because cogeneration systems captures and reuses waste heat, it is twice as efficient as electricity-only generation.

Municipal facilities on Wards Island, including the Wards Island Wastewater Treatment Plant, are currently served by a district heat system that was built in 1937 and is operated by the Manhattan Psychiatric Center. The system is scheduled to be shut down at the end of 2012. Instead of spending up to $60 million in direct capital expenses to replace the system, a new cogeneration plant could deliver heat to the Wards Island Wastewater Treatment Plant and nearby municipal facilities, and provide electricity to the City's power grid. The new plant would burn anaerobic digester gas supplied by the Department of Environmental Protection. This project could save up to $60 million, while at the same time using a renewable resource to provide additional clean energy for the city and reducing greenhouse gas emissions.

Hydroelectric Power

The City is exploring the development of hydroelectric facilities at three dams in the Delaware watershed (Cannonsville, Pepacton, and Neversink) and one in the Catskill watershed (Schoharie). Preliminary estimates indicate the facilities could produce a combined capacity of 15 megawatts of renewable energy, which is equivalent to offsetting 16,800 metric tons of greenhouse gases each year or removing 3,200 cars from the road.

The Requests for Expressions of Interest for a cogeneration facility and hydroelectric power will soon be available online and any contractor interested in receiving more information should visit The City Record website at www.nyc.gov.

The Department of Environmental Protection is well-positioned to play a lead role managing the City's energy policy and planning. The department is one of the nation's leading centers for innovation, and a test bed for pilot projects on clean energy, wastewater treatment, stormwater management, and advanced metering technologies. The department owns some of the most favorable locations for clean energy development in New York City due the embedded energy in its processes and the size of its facilities and their proximity to electrical and heat loads. The department is also expecting to invest more than $200 million in clean energy and energy efficiency technologies for its facilities in support of its core function as the city's water utility.  The Department of Environmental Protection will work with the Mayor's Office of Long Term Planning and Sustainability and the Department of Citywide Administrative Services to develop and implement the City's long-term energy strategy, including demand reduction, clean energy generation, and other initiatives.

The Department of Environmental Protection manages the city's water supply, providing more than 1 billion gallons of water each day to more than 9 million residents, including 8 million in New York City. New York City's water is delivered from a watershed that extends more than 125 miles from the city, and comprises 19 reservoirs, and three controlled lakes. Approximately 7,000 miles of water mains, tunnels and aqueducts bring water to homes and businesses throughout the five boroughs, and 7,400 miles of sewer lines take wastewater to 14 in-city treatment plants. For more information, visit www.nyc.gov.

Related Documents and Links

More Information

NYC Department of Environmental Protection
Public Affairs

59-17 Junction Boulevard
19th Floor
Flushing, NY 11373

(718) 595-6600