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August 1, 2006


New Alternative Fuel Research Lab and $10 Million Program for Plug-in Hybrids Will Help to Reduce Dependence on Imported Energy

Governor George E. Pataki and Senate Majority Leader Joseph L. Bruno today announced plans for the construction of a state-of-the-art alternative fuel research laboratory at the Saratoga Technology + Energy Park (STEP) and a new $10 million State program to convert vehicles in the State fleet to plug-in hybrids.

“This year, New York State has taken significant steps to reduce our dependence on imported energy, and we will continue to promote cutting-edge research and technology that will build a brighter energy future here in the Empire State,” Governor Pataki said. “This new vehicle testing laboratory and our investments in plug-in hybrids are critical to this effort, and will help spur the innovation necessary to transition away from a petroleum-based transportation sector.

“These new programs are important tools in our effort to develop clean and renewable fuels, promote greater energy efficiency, and create jobs in the emerging energy sector,” the Governor said. “The Saratoga Technology and Energy Park is an exciting venue for renewable and clean energy companies, and today we take another step to solidify New York’s position as a national and global leader in alternative energy research and development.”

Senate Majority Leader Joseph L. Bruno said, “Rising energy costs make it imperative that we continue doing everything possible to promote, develop, and utilize alternative energy sources. This state-of-the-art facility will be a tremendous addition to the Saratoga Technology and Energy Park, creating new jobs and fostering innovative research capabilities into the clean energy technologies that are rapidly emerging as a significant part of our state’s economy. This announcement, coupled with additional funding for expanded hybrid vehicle usage, will also strengthen New York’s status as a world-renowned leader in alternative, clean energy initiatives.”

Assemblyman Roy McDonald said, “I want to thank Governor Pataki and Senator Bruno for their continued leadership in helping to bring another integral component to the technology park here in Malta. Alternative fuels are the future and the decision to have a research laboratory in Saratoga County solidifies its place as one of the most important counties in the country.”

The $10 million plug-in hybrids program will facilitate the development and deployment of these advanced, high-mileage vehicles, which can achieve a fuel economy of up to 100 miles per gallon. Under this program, the 600 hybrid vehicles in the State fleet will be retrofitted to be plug-in hybrids. Once the State’s hybrid vehicles have been converted to plug-in hybrids, the program will be made available to private vehicle owners through a competitive process.

Plug-in hybrid vehicles can be plugged into the electric grid – such as a normal 120 volt household outlet - to boost mileage. This will allow the vehicles to operate on emissions-free battery power, reducing the amount of fuel utilized and significantly decreasing the release of harmful pollutants, including greenhouse gases. Since the utility grid has lower demand during overnight hours, the recharging of plug-ins would not add to the peak load.

The New York State Alternative Fuel Vehicle Research Laboratory, the first of its kind in the nation, will develop scientific data to formulate new programs to conserve energy, diversify our energy supplies, decrease our dependence on imported fuels, and protect our environment. The facility will conduct testing for advanced and emerging technologies such as fuel cell propulsion systems, alternative fuels, and greenhouse gas reduction technologies. Special focus will be on test systems to quantify all emissions from diesel buses and trucks, which will help to develop advanced control and retrofit technologies for these vehicles.

The laboratory also will promote public-private partnership projects and educational programs, including research grants, technology development, and technician training applicable to emerging technologies such as alternative fuel concepts.

DEC Commissioner Denise M. Sheehan said, “Governor Pataki, DEC and NYSERDA are again taking the lead in exploring new ways of improving air quality through innovative research and collaboration. This facility will help increase efficiency in the transportation sector and expand the available range of energy sources to power our vehicles, for the benefit of both our environment and our economy.”

Peter R. Smith, NYSERDA President and CEO emphasized STEP’s collegial development capability. “These three developments represent the best of Governor Pataki’s strategy for our State’s energy future, as well as STEP’s mission. The STEP campus serves as an interactive R&D center where participants can develop, produce, test and manufacture energy-related products that benefit the State’s energy security, economy and our environment.”

In addition, the Governor announced that Electrovaya, a Canadian high-tech battery manufacturing firm, plans to expand Canadian operations into 5,000 square feet of manufacturing space at STEP, with additional expansion planned. The company’s lithium-ion batteries can be used in a variety of products and applications.

The Saratoga Technology and Energy Park, which is operated by NYSERDA, is the nation’s first site dedicated to developing clean-energy and environmental technology companies. It was designed to attract companies involved in alternative and renewable energy, environmental technologies, transportation technologies, power generation, buildings, and clean-energy workforce development. STEP, which is owned and administered by NYSERDA, supports collaboration and interaction in a campus-like setting, and is an entry point into New York’s network of state agencies, universities, and centers of excellence.

This year, Governor Pataki proposed an energy independence plan designed to reduce our State’s dependence on imported energy, promote greater use of clean, renewable fuels, and spur additional research and development into clean and alternative energy sources. Among the initiatives proposed by the Governor and approved by the State Legislature were:


  • The elimination of all State taxes on renewable automobile fuels, including ethanol (E85), biodiesel, and compressed natural gas (CNG), hydrogen, and other renewable fuels, providing a savings of approximately 40 cents/gallon for consumers.
  • A $10 million competitive grant program, administered by NYSERDA, for private sector gasoline companies to install renewable fuel pumps for E85, biodiesel, CNG, or other renewable fuels. It is estimated that the program will support the installation and operation of between 400 and 600 renewable fuel pumps at private stations across the State. The New York State Thruway Authority is already moving forward with its program to install renewable fuel pumps at all 27 Thruway travel plazas.
  • The expansion of the State’s Empire Zones program to provide tax benefits to clean energy companies regardless of where they are located in New York State. These tax incentives will be available to qualifying companies engaged in research, development, or manufacturing of energy-efficient or renewable energy technologies or products.
  • A new $10 million program to retrofit the 600 hybrid vehicles in the State fleet to be plug-in hybrids, which allows them to be plugged into the electric grid to boost mileage in excess of 100 miles per gallon while significantly reducing emissions of harmful pollutants. Once the State’s hybrid vehicles have been converted to plug-in hybrids, the program will be made available to private vehicle owners through a competitive process.
  • A $5 million competitive grant program, administered by NYSERDA, for start-up companies that are developing or deploying the next generation of vehicle batteries, propulsions systems, and lightweight vehicle parts and components.
  • The elimination of "exclusivity contracts" between fuel providers and retail service stations, which only allow the service stations to sell specific brands of fuel. In most cases, these brands do not include renewable fuels. Since the “exclusivity” contracts prohibit service stations from obtaining renewable fuels like ethanol (E85) from other sources, these fuels are not available for sale to consumers.
  • Tax credits to cover up to 50 percent of the cost of purchasing alternative fuel vehicle refueling equipment that would be used by facilities selling E85, biodiesel, CNG, hydrogen, natural gas, liquefied or petroleum gas.
  • A $5 million competitive grant program, administered by NYSERDA, for the development of hydrogen fueling stations across New York and the conversion of existing internal combustion vehicles to be able to operate using hydrogen fuel.


Source:  New York State

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