Wednesday, June 08, 2016

Cleaner, greener New York railroads

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The New York State Energy Research and Development Authority (NYSERDA) and the Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) have partnered with the Mohawk, Adirondack & Northern Railroad (MHWA) of Utica and the New York, Susquehanna & Western Railway (NYSW) of Cooperstown on obtaining locomotive idle-reduction technology.

“The projects advance the State’s goal to reduce greenhouse gas emissions 40% by 2030 under Governor Andrew M. Cuomo’s Reforming the Energy Vision (REV) strategy,” NYSERDA said. Funding was provided through NYSERDA from the Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative (RGGI) and from DEC’s Diesel Reduction Program.

MowhawkAdirondackNorthernMHWA and NYSW are obtaining APUs (auxiliary power units) that heat and circulate diesel engine coolant water to keep the engine block warm and enable the engine to be shut down when the locomotive is not in service. Hotstart, Inc., is supplying the APUs for this application. MHWA is acquiring two units; NYSW, four.

NYSERDA told Railway Age that APU equipment from Power Drives, Inc., IMPCO Technologies Canada, Inc. and StarClass, Inc. are also approved for the program.

“Transportation makes up a significant source of greenhouse gas emissions in New York State, and reducing unnecessary fuel use is imperative to address climate change,” said NYSERDA President and CEO John B. Rhodes. “As we advance Governor Cuomo’s REV strategy across industry segments, this approach to reduce locomotive idling will protect the environment and lower business expenses for the railroads.”

“Idling diesel engines produce unnecessary particulate matter, greenhouse gases and toxic air contaminants, and DEC is proud to help advance projects like this to reduce public exposure to diesel emissions,” said Acting DEC Commissioner Basil Seggos. “This technology for short line diesel locomotives improves air quality for the communities surrounding these locations and saves fuel cost for the companies, and is yet another example of the importance of Governor Cuomo’s REV program, and the benefits that occur when government and business work together to achieve environmental goals.”

Use of APUs supported by state and federal funds have been on the rise in many areas. NYSERDA, though, noted that idle-reduction technology is more commonly employed by Class I railroads. “Due to limited funds, smaller companies such as short lines have been reluctant to install [APUs], which cost between $25,000 and $30,000 each,” the agency said. “These projects will demonstrate the financial benefits of this technology to encourage similar investments by other small railroad companies. [Idle-reduction technology] is estimated in the meantime. Today’s announcement supports short line railroads ass they begin to transition to more modern and efficient locomotives in an effort to both lower carbon emissions and their costs.

”The Mohawk Adirondack & Northern Railroad is pleased to have been the recipient of the NYSERDA/DEC award to help install APUs on two of our locomotives,” said Vice President Operations Greg Cheshier. “The APUs will allow MHWA more flexibility in locomotive assignments along with saving fuel and lessening pollutants.”

“The New York, Susquehanna & Western Railway is happy to have this opportunity to partner with NYSERDAand DEC to install this important technology that allows the railroad to operate cleaner and with greater fuel efficiency,” said Manager, Government and Public Relations Melanie Boyer.

“This project complements work in development under NYSERDA’s Clean Energy Fund to accelerate the movement toward an energy-efficient transportation system that enhances the quality of life in communities,” the agency said. “The transportation sector accounts for 40% of fossil-fuel carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions in New York State, where 33 Class II and Class III railroads operate on approximately half of the state’s 1,600-mile rail network. For large areas of rural and small-town America, short line railroads are the only way shippers can stay connected to the national railroad network, helping businesses and employment remain local, according to the American Short Line and Regional Railroad Association.”

Class III MHWA operates 124 track-miles in New York’s Mohawk Valley and Western Adirondacks. The company transports steel products, stones and ore, chemicals, edible oils, fertilizers, plastic, forest products and other goods. The railroad has installed two anti-idling engines on its locomotives. Class II NYSW operates 450 track-miles in New York, New Jersey and Pennsylvania, serving 100 customers and transporting commodities such as feed ingredients, building materials, plastics, automobiles, steel and aggregates. T

The Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative (RGGI) is described as “the nation’s first program to use an innovative market-based mechanism to cap and cost-effectively reduce the carbon dioxide emissions that cause the climate to change. New York State took a leadership role in adopting regulations that lowered the emissions cap. Emissions from power plants in New York State are down approximately 45% since 2005, and auction proceeds from sale of the RGGI allowances have reduced electricity expenditures and created thousands of green energy sector jobs.”

Reforming the Energy Vision is described as “New York Governor Andrew M. Cuomo’s strategy to build a cleaner, more resilient and affordable energy system for all New Yorkers. REV places clean, locally produced power at the core of New York’s energy system, which protects the environment and supports the State’s goal to reduce greenhouse gas emissions by 40% while generating 50% of its electricity from renewable energy sources by 2030. Successful initiatives already launched as part of REV include NY-Sun, NY Green Bank, NY Prize, K-Solar, and includes a commitment to improve energy affordability for low-income communities.

NYSERDA, the agency says, “is a public benefit corporation that offers objective information and analysis, innovative programs, technical expertise, and support to help New Yorkers increase energy efficiency, save money, use renewable energy, and reduce reliance on fossil fuels. NYSERDA professionals work to protect the environment and create clean energy jobs. NYSERDA has been developing partnerships to advance innovative energy solutions in New York State since 1975.”













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