NYPA 2014 operating budget invests in power system infrastructure and customer energy efficiency while controlling costsby jmaloni
The New York Power Authority board of trustees on Tuesday approved NYPA's 2014 operating plan (budget) that continues to invest in its 16 power plants and transmission facilities - critical New York state energy infrastructure - and in its cost-effective energy efficiency projects at local and state government facilities statewide.
The 2014 operating plan includes an operations and maintenance budget of $379.3 million; a capital budget of $279.3 million, an increase of $87 million over the budgeted amount for 2013; and an energy services budget of $222.3 million, an increase of $22 million over the 2013 budgeted amount.
The operating plan prioritizes infrastructure upgrades and new technologies with strong fiscal management, as reflected in the Power Authority's "AA" credit rating. It also preserves NYPA's competitive power rates - among the lowest in the state - which benefit key New York businesses and support hundreds of thousands of jobs and major capital investments under Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo's ReCharge NY program and other NYPA economic development programs.
The plan also reflects the Power Authority's support of other gubernatorial initiatives, including the New York Energy Highway and Build Smart NY programs, for modernizing the state's electric power system and improving energy efficiency in public buildings and facilities. Approximately 65 percent of the capital budget will be in support of work at NYPA's Niagara and St. Lawrence-Franklin D. Roosevelt hydroelectric plants and for transmission improvements under a Life Extension and Modernization program, to 2025. The program is part of the governor's Energy Highway Initiative.
"The NYPA 2014 budget plan builds on our longstanding role as a bulwark for New York state's electric power system, with continued funding of capital expenditures at our flagship hydroelectric facilities at Niagara and St. Lawrence-FDR, other clean power plants, and for our statewide transmission system," said John R. Koelmel, NYPA chairman. "Our goal is to ensure that the Power Authority's systems are robust, reliable and as storm-resistant as possible."
"Our 2014 budget is a cornerstone for making certain that our power plants and transmission facilities are equipped to handle the challenges of a 21st century economy, in line with Gov. Cuomo's ambitious goals in his energy highway blueprint," said Gil C. Quiniones, NYPA president and CEO. "NYPA continues to provide low-cost power to foster economic development throughout the state, integrate the latest technologies that enhance the versatility of the power grid, and implement energy efficiency programs for substantial savings at public and government facilities."
Payroll costs, as a proportion of the 2014 operations and maintenance budget, are 1 percent less than 2013. No new positions are requested for NYPA's work force.
The OM budget includes:
•Scheduled maintenance at NYPA's clean natural gas-fueled power plants in New York City and on Long Island, for a total of $13 million;
•Non-recurring maintenance initiatives such as dam-face repair at the Niagara plant in Lewiston ($5.7 million);
•Transformer refurbishment at NYPA's Frederick R. Clark Energy Center, near Utica ($4 million); and
•Painting of the St. Lawrence-FDR plant's Barnhart Island Bridge, the major link to the generating project site in Massena ($3.3 million).
The capital budget includes:
•A Life Extension and Modernization Program that will be entering its second year at the Lewiston Pump Generating Plant (auxiliary facility at Niagara) ($59.8 million);
A 115-kilovolt (kV) circuit-breaker upgrade at the Niagara plant ($10 million);
•765/230-kV transformer replacements in Massena ($18.8 million);
•A breaker- and relay-replacement at St. Lawrence-FDR ($14.1 million);
•The Marcy-South Series Compensation Project, a multiyear energy highway initiative to increase the amount of power on existing transmission lines from Central New York through the Catskill region ($10.2 million); and
•NYPA's compliance with relicensing commitments for the St. Lawrence-FDR and Niagara plants, including continued implementation of recreational and environmental projects in the vicinities of those facilities ($6.2 million).
The 2014 Energy Services budget supports NYPA's leading role in carrying out Cuomo's Build Smart NY program to improve energy efficiency at state government facilities by 20 percent by 2020. Under the governor's leadership, NYPA is also undertaking similar improvements at local and county government locations.
The Power Authority's increased funding of ongoing or new energy efficiency projects in 2014 will contribute to sustaining or creating thousands of private-sector design, construction and engineering jobs. NYPA recovers its costs of the retrofits and installations over several years after which the beneficiaries retain all of the savings.
The typical installations have included:
•Heating, ventilating and air-conditioning systems;
•Automated energy management systems;
•More efficient boilers and chillers; and
•Clean energy technologies ranging from fuel cells to solar power photovoltaic installations to introducing electric vehicles in government automotive fleets.
The NYPA trustees also approved a four-year financial plan, for 2014-17, with the 2014 operating budget the first year of the plan. Preliminary forecasts of revenues and expenditures are provided for the remaining three years.
The financial plan, which is being submitted to the office of the New York state comptroller as provided for under state regulations, is available on the NYPA website at http://www.nypa.gov/financial/budgetreports/budgetposting.htm