The 51 Municipal and Rural Electric Cooperative Systems throughout New York Are Adopting the State’s Clean Energy Goals
WHITE PLAINS—The New York Power Authority (NYPA) Board of Trustees has approved a contract extension of low-cost hydropower for all 51 New York electric systems through September 1, 2040. Under the terms of the new power contract, the municipal and rural electric cooperative systems are adopting the goals of the Clean Energy Standard and Reforming the Energy Vision (REV) strategy to reduce greenhouse gas emissions 40 percent by 2030, based on 1990 levels.
The new contract will continue the sale of approximately 765 megawatts (MW) of low-cost hydropower from the Niagara Power Project to all 51 municipal and rural electric cooperative systems in New York State. The previous power contract wasn’t set to expire until 2025, however contract discussions were expedited to support the efforts of the consumer-owned utilities to streamline the development and deployment of energy efficiency and clean energy measures.
John R. Koelmel, NYPA chairman, said, “The municipal and rural electric cooperatives around the state are some of the Power Authority’s oldest customers. Their eagerness to renegotiate our long-term contract early and align themselves with the Governor’s goals to drastically reduce carbon emissions is a great step forward for New York State.”
Gil C. Quiniones, NYPA president and CEO, said, “This hydropower contract extension is a true win-win scenario as our municipal and rural electric cooperative customers secure low-cost NYPA hydropower for the next two decades and the state further accelerates a reduction in carbon emissions. NYPA is excited to work hand-in-hand with all of the state’s consumer-owned utilities to advance the deployment of energy efficiency and renewable generation.”
Under the agreement, consumer-owned utilities will establish a dedicated fund to be used for energy efficiency, renewable energy and other related projects. Two taskforces are also being established—the Customer-NYPA Implementation Task Force and the Technology & Innovation Task Force—which will meet regularly to collaborate on energy efficiency and renewable generation projects, and to provide assistance in project development.
The 51 electric system customers are represented by the Municipal Electric Utilities Association of New York State (MEUA) and the New York Association of Public Power (NYAPP), which negotiated the new deal on behalf of the electric systems.
MEUA Executive Director Tony Modafferi said, “I am happy to have worked with our NYPA partners to extend our important hydroelectric contracts. MEUA consists of 40 municipalities that have been providing power to their communities for over one hundred years. The MEUA itself was founded in 1930, under Governor Franklin D. Roosevelt, to advance the public interest. Over 60 years ago, we supported the construction of the Niagara Project and more recently supported the important Life Extension and Modernization program undertaken to secure this crucial renewable energy project well into the future. Today, the MEUA members lead the way with their highly successful energy efficiency, clean energy, and economic development programs.”
NYAPP President Paul Pallas said, “This 15-year contract extension is of upmost importance to our systems, customers, and members. We appreciate the commitment and dedication of the NYPA negotiating team in helping us complete this important contractual update process. The long-term, continued availability of low-cost hydroelectric power is critically important to fostering sustainability, business retention, and economic development in our communities. We look forward to collaborating with NYPA and others on new projects and initiatives that will help us work towards achieving the NYS energy plan goals.”
The approximately 765 MW of low-cost Niagara hydropower has been legislatively mandated for use by the 51 consumer-owned utilities since the Niagara plant began generating power in 1961.
NYPA reserves 54 MW of that hydropower to promote economic development within those municipal and cooperative service territories. Power from this reserve is allocated by the NYPA Board of Trustees to individual systems to meet the increased electric load resulting from eligible new or expanding businesses in their service area. Currently, this economic development program supports more than 6,150 jobs around the state.
Assemblyman Michael Cusick, chair of Assembly Standing Committee on Energy, said, “Today’s announcement is a positive development for our state. New York is rapidly moving towards a greener, cleaner energy future and it’s important for the municipal and rural cooperative systems to continue to be partners in that endeavor. I look forward to seeing the progress made towards reducing our carbon footprint, creating a more efficient energy system, and employing New Yorkers in good paying green-collar jobs.”
Reforming the Energy Vision
Reforming the Energy Vision is Governor Andrew M. Cuomo’s strategy to lead on climate change and grow New York’s economy. REV is building a cleaner, more resilient and affordable energy system for all New Yorkers by stimulating investment in clean technologies like solar, wind, and energy efficiency and requiring 50 percent of the state’s electricity needs from renewable energy by 2030. Already, REV has driven growth of more than 1,000 percent in the statewide solar market, improved energy affordability for 1.65 million low-income customers, and created thousands of jobs in manufacturing, engineering, and other clean tech sectors. REV is ensuring New York reduces statewide greenhouse gas emissions 40 percent by 2030 and achieves the internationally recognized target of reducing emissions 80 percent by 2050. To learn more about REV, including the Governor’s $5 billion investment in clean energy technology and innovation, visit rev.ny.gov, follow us on Twitter, Facebook, and LinkedIn.
NYPA is the largest state public power organization in the nation, operating 16 generating facilities and more than 1,400 circuit-miles of transmission lines. More than 70 percent of the electricity NYPA produces is clean renewable hydropower. 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. For more information visit www.nypa.gov and follow us on Twitter @NYPAenergy, Facebook, Instagram, Tumblr and LinkedIn.