"Absolutely crucial," is how Eugene W. Zeltmann, NYPA's President and Chief Operating Officer, and member of World Cogeneration's Class of 2002, describes the role of NYPA's newly installed gas turbines in keeping the lights on and electric prices stable this past August in New York City.
And Zeltmann is not the only one praising NYPA.
"NYPA's installation of gas turbines in the downstate area turned out to be crucial in meeting peak demand," said Maureen O. Helmer, Chairman, Public Service Commission, State of New York, in an August 20, 2001 letter to Zeltmann, praising NYPA's farsighted actions.
New York set three new all-time peak usage records in August 2001. On August 7, electricity demand rose to the record-breaking level of 30,509 MW. Then on August 8, that record was broken with demand for 30,665 MW and on August 9 the highest demand ever was recorded, 30,983 MW. And NYPA's gas turbines were there to keep the lights on and to save consumers from electric price spikes.
But the peak electricity demand record was not the only record broken. NYPA's eleven gas turbines (10 in New York City and one on Long Island) were installed and operating in a period of nine months to just under a year shattering even the most knowledgeable industry estimates, of two and one-half to three years, for a project of this scope and scale. A May/June 2001 article in World Cogeneration, "Power Now!" 500 MWS to NYC, describes NYPA's remarkable construction process. "Projects like this others can't and won't take on, so the Power Authority does," commented Zeltmann. "Under the leadership of Governor George E. Pataki, the State Legislature and the Power Authority Trustees, NYPA strives to deliver essential and reliable electric service to the people of New York in an environmentally responsible way."
While last August was crucial, it was the World Trade Center terrorist attack on September 11, that showed an unanticipated role for the gas turbines.
"When the attack occurred, the New York Independent System Operator thought it prudent to back-off baseload generation and set up disperse generation which, of course, include our turbines. I don't want to stress that too much because I don't want to be making a big issue out of it, but the facts are that these units performed very well," stated Zeltmann, "You never know what comes next. But what has been remarkable about NYPA is its resilience and its ability to not only respond well but to think ahead as to what needs to be done next in order to keep this system together," commented Zeltmann.
What's comes next for electricity in New York is what's happening now at NYPA. From a pioneering transmission project to the nation's largest electric station-car demonstration, Zeltmann brings together expertise from the private sector electric industry with public service in utility matters.
Before coming to NYPA, the nation's largest state-owned electric utility, Zeltmann was appointed by Governor Pataki to serve as a commissioner of the New York State Public Service Commission (PSC) in December 1995. He was named the PSC's deputy chairman in 1996.
Zeltmann previously had more than 20 years of experience, as a General Electric executive, focusing on international trade, government relations, and energy and environmental issues. He served on the US Industrial Sector Advisory Committee for Capital Goods from 1986 to 1996, including three terms as chairman. In this role, he was an adviser on trade issues to the US Department of Commerce and the US trade representatives.
Since his appointment to the Power Authority posts in September 1997, Zeltmann has provided leadership and support for many of NYPA projects, including efforts with EPRI, the Electric Power Research Institute, to install the world's most advanced transmission control device-the Convertible Static Compensator (CSC)-at NYPA's Marcy Substation near Utica.
"As New York State's utility, we think we're particularly suited to take the lead in demonstrating new technologies like the CSC in the hope that others in New York, and elsewhere, will follow," Zeltmann said. NYPA has invested over $35 million in the CSC. Additional funding for the $48 million project from EPRI, Siemens Transmission and Distribution-the CSC manufacturer, and over 30 utilities and independent system operators from the United States, Canada and New Zealand, give Zeltmann's comment validity.
When complete, the CSC will be able to regulate voltage and increase power flows over existing lines and, for the first time anywhere, switch power from a heavily loaded line to one with spare capacity. By achieving these results on current transmission lines, NYPA is meeting Governor Pataki's commitment to New Yorkers and the environment by providing more available power to meet the state's growing energy demands while postponing the need to construct new transmission lines.
Over the last several years, the Power Authority and EPRI have developed ongoing partnerships in a number of areas. Signifying the Power Authority's role in promoting emerging electric technologies, Zeltmann was elected, in May 2001, to the EPRI Board of Directors.
Zeltmann has played a key role in expanding NYPA's nationally recognized programs to demonstrate clean energy sources such as fuel cells, solar power and microturbines; to implement varied energy efficiency projects and to promote the use of electric vehicles.
In late 2000, Zeltmann was elected Co-Chairman of the Electric Vehicle Association of the Americas due to NYPA's electric vehicle (EV) program. NYPA has deployed statewide almost 250 electric vehicles, ranging from full-sized transit buses to battery-powered bicycles. NYPA reached the "Million EV-Mile" mark in 2000 becoming the first electric utility in the northeast to achieve that benchmark.
The Power Authority has joined forces with Ford Motor Company to provide a clean, green alternative for the metropolitan New York commuter. Launched in October 2001 the "NYPA/TH!NK Clean Commute," an electric station-car demonstration, is designed to reduce air pollution and traffic congestion plus promote national energy independence.
"The TH!NK city not only offers an emission-free ride, it can also provide an all-electric commute when combined with electric-powered commuter trains-the New York's Metropolitan Transit Authority commuter rail and subways-which operate with electricity from the Power Authority," commented Zeltmann. The TH!NK city is a two-passenger electric vehicle with a range of approximately 50 miles and a top speed of about 55 miles per hour.
While working with Governor Pataki, the NYPA Trustees and the other state agencies involved in electricity issues, Zeltmann is also a vigorous supporter of the valuable role played by the many and varied talents in NYPA's workforce. Commenting of the contribution of NYPA's staff and others who have worked closely with NYPA on recent projects, Zeltmann offers, "Be proud of what you're doing and recognize that what you're doing really counts. These are difficult times and there are people called upon to do a job that benefits others. And we happen to be fortunate enough to be in that position where what we do matters and counts. It's terribly important, even more so than before, that we keep this energy flowing, keep it flowing at low prices and we keep it flowing in the most reliable way we know possible."
For more information on the New York Power Authority, please visit www.nypa.gov.