Tonawanda News

April 24, 2013

State aims to cut Thruway power bill

The Tonawanda News

Tonawanda News — Gov. Andrew Cuomo on Tuesday said a plan to replace lighting along the state Thruway and canal system could reduce electricity costs by an estimated 20 percent.

“As we celebrate Earth Week, New York is continuing to move forward with efforts to increase energy efficiency and reduce costs in state government by adopting new green technologies,” Cuomo said in a prepared statement. 

“The Thruway’s LED lighting project is one example of how we are doing our part to use less electricity. In addition, these environmentally friendly upgrades will result in significant savings – and pay for themselves – which is great news for toll payers.”

The upgrades are intended to reduce the Thruway Authority’s $2 million annual electricity bill, Cuomo said. 

Upgrades are planned at nearly 20 toll barriers and plazas including Exits 24 (Albany), 25 (Amsterdam), 35 (Syracuse), 38 (Syracuse), and 39 (Syracuse). Several more locations including the Williamsville toll barrier, Exit 48A (Pembroke), Exit 18 (New Paltz), and the Erie Canal maintenance station in Fonda are in the auditing or planning stages, Cuomo’s message states.

A benefit of LEDs, which stands for light emitting diodes, is lower energy consumption and durability, with the bulbs lasting up to a decade. 

As an example of the resulting savings, the state estimates the lighting upgrade at Exit 24 Albany will reduce energy usage by 25 percent (or 93,360 kilowatt hours) for an annual operating savings of about $10,400. The total cost of the lighting upgrade project at Exit 24 was $26,315, while incentives and rebates along with the utilization of the Thruway staff makes the cost to the authority about $2,000, according to Cuomo staffers.

The entire project is expected to pay for itself within two years.

The Thruway Authority also is announcing plans to integrate solar technology at 289 locations and has begun a project to install wind turbines in the Buffalo Division.