Private-Public Partnerships in NY Metro Area Support Energy Efficiency and Resiliency

Private-Public Partnerships in NY Metro Area Support Energy Efficiency and Resiliency
09 Mar 2017

By Zolaikha Strong, Director of Sustainable Energy for CDA

In its first Policy Perspective of 2017, the Alliance to Save Energy brought leaders from the New York Metro area to discuss how they are advancing energy efficiency and resiliency through innovative public-private partnerships and financing initiatives.

The two-hour event was designed to show how the private sector could work with non-profit groups and local government agencies to create pilot programs that not only increase energy efficiency for schools, office buildings and communities, but also provide energy independence from the grid.  The meeting was held at the Daikin Solutions Plaza in Jersey City, the premiere showroom, sales and training facility for HVAC technology and learning.

With the New York City skyline as a backdrop, representatives from American Water, the New Jersey Economic Development Authority, Panasonic, Consolidated Edison, Ingersoll Rand and others shared stories about successful partnerships that created energy efficiency programs through implementing new renewable technologies utilizing federal grants and financial incentives.

American Water – the largest publicly traded U.S. water and wastewater utility company recently converted a boiler-heated system to a new geothermal system at an elementary school in Valley Stream, NY. The heating and cooling upgrade made it possible for the school building to be used year-round, and the temperature of the classrooms to be controlled individually.  Not only was there a cost savings by making the switch, but they were also able to cut down the energy usage in the school by 56 percent.

New Jersey Economic Development Authority –this independent government entity awarded $200 million in HUD funding under the Energy Resilience Bank (ERB) to critical facilities that were impacted by Superstorm Sandy. A combined heat and power system was approved for a hospital and a resiliency project was put in place for a waste water treatment plant to allow these facilities to continue operating independently from the electrical grid and providing the necessary services to the community.

Panasonic – working on creating the first “Smart City” in the U.S., the Japanese technology giant is close to completing a new community that will rely heavily on renewable energy technology to support it.  Pena Station Next, a 382-acre site accessible from Denver’s light rail that takes commuters from the airport to downtown, features smart street lights, smart signage, environmental sensors, smart parking and electric vehicle charging stations. When the project goes online, these amenities will operate using a combination of solar power and energy storage that connect to the community’s microgrid.

Consolidated Edison – one of the country’s largest energy companies in the U.S. created a pilot program in Brooklyn and Queens to meet the high energy demand brought on by new and increased activity, including new businesses and nightlife to the area. Through its Queens Demand Management Program, these communities have installed integrated technology systems that use energy efficiency and demand response programs which reduce the energy load during peak hours.  As a result, the construction of a new substation has been deferred until 2026.

The mission of the Alliance to Save Energy, which is celebrating its 40th anniversary in 2017, is to “support energy efficiency as a cost-effective energy resource under existing market conditions and advocate energy-efficiency policies that minimize costs to society and individual consumers.”

The Alliance’s president Kateri Callahan said New York and New Jersey rank 2nd and 9th, respectively, in state energy production currently. Energy production in New York and New Jersey has increased 47 percent and 32 percent, respectively, from their 1997 levels.

Callahan said if we could improve our energy use and double our energy production, the average savings per family per year would be $1,039.

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