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NYPA Five Cities Energy Master Plan

The New York Power Authority’s “Five Cities Energy Program” is a comprehensive energy planning initiative for the five designated cities: Rochester, Syracuse, Buffalo, Albany and Yonkers. Intended to help set a clear pathway for the cities to follow in defining ways to reduce overall energy use, as well as decrease greenhouse gas emissions, in 2013 RFP’s were released for Energy Master Plans for each city. Clean Fuels Consulting (CFC) participated in two winning proposals led by La Bella Associates, and was assigned as the alternative fuel Transportation Energy Efficiency sub-consultant for two out of five cities- Syracuse and Rochester. The team was the only consultant to be awarded two projects.

Performed on an extremely fast track based upon NYPA request, CFC reviewed all municipal fleet rolling stock and overall inventory. Fleet staff were enlisted for in-depth interviews, and the municipal sustainability coordinating staff was invaluable as a contact and go-between for the many city departments. Issues such as vehicle replacement cycles, duty cycles, weather related special tasks (snow plowing was key in both cities) and yearly fuel and maintenance were examined. Total fuel consumption trends over five years were examined, along with the fleet profile and vehicle miles travelled. The history of the fleet’s experience with alternative fuels was examined, along with all the alternative and traditional fueling infrastructure. Future replacement trends were factored into the analysis, and the receptivity to a variety of new technologies which could reduce idling and fuel consumption were examined and explained to the fleet directors. Finally, potential funding sources for fleet solutions were examined, including federal and state grants.

The best solutions for each city were considered to be those that could leverage existing assets and infrastructure, adding to what was already present and creating new policies and procedures which could both decrease overall fuel use and vehicle miles travelled, but also use more effective smaller vehicles or electric vehicles to perform necessary work tasks.

The project was not limited to the municipal fleet itself; community stakeholders, transportation sub-groups and vehicular categories of special import to overall greenhouse gas loading had to be identified, assessed and interviewed. A number of community stakeholder meetings were held which included not only transportation but building energy efficiency, attracting input from local institutions such as universities, hospitals, not-for profits and utility partners. The local regional transportation authorities were also key players in the process.

In the end, the importance of the potential incorporation of electric vehicles was highlighted, along with setting an example for the community via imaging of potential new clean fuel vehicles. Supporting and growing alternative fuel vehicle fleets which serve to decrease both energy consumption and greenhouse gases was recommended, along with specialized technology options related to specific city fleet sectors (example police vehicles).


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