Friday, August 04, 2006

Governor Pataki On Board

This story comes from the Energy Blog.

New York to Convert 600 Hybrids to PHEVs

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

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

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."

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.

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 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.

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.

Besides the initiatives described above, programs 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 $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.

Thanks to Green Car Congress for the tip.

Taken from the press release, New York Governor's Office, August 2, 2006

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