New York State celebrated its strong move toward state energy independence through biofuels with the opening of its first public E85 fueling station in Albany. KNC Holdings, Inc., the New York State Energy Research and Development Authority (NYSERDA) and the National Ethanol Vehicle Coalition (NEVC) worked together on this important facility. The fueling station Campus Mobil with its supply of E85 motor fuel containing 85 percent ethanol is expected to attract considerable attention from both state legislators and the public. KNC has a second E85 station opening in Warrensburg, NY.
Moderating the ceremony was Peter Smith, president and CEO of NYSERDA, who told the crowd, “With this station, we can pull up to the pump and buy homegrown, renewable fuel, and keep the money spent for fuel here in New York State.”
KNC President Christian King, who is selling the fuel for US$0.54 below the cost of unleaded gasoline, anticipated having an even greater per gallon savings due to constantly rising costs of traditional gasoline. “Today is the first step for New York consumers to do their part in helping to reduce our dependence on foreign oil by purchasing E85,” said King.
In introducing E85 to the state, New York agencies took the leadership role by installing numerous stations at their own state facilities, helping to bring the fuel into the area, and placing E85 on the state procurement contract. This effort helped “prime the pump” for the public rollout now being conducted. NYSERDA recently announced a major program to encourage retailers to place E85 at their stations. The New York State Biofuel Initiative: Driving Energy Independence for the Empire State (PDF-document) sets an aggressive program to encourage biofuel station placement via the provision of infrastructure installation matching funds for retailers. NYSERDA will provide up to 50 percent of the cost of a facility, up to a maximum of funds provided per station of US$50,000. Combined with state and federal alternative fuel tax credits, this program provides clear incentives for retailers to make the E85 choice. The program totals US$9,500,000 to be awarded on a first come-first serve basis. It is expected the effort will result in up to 300 biofuel stations.
NYSERDA Program Manager Ruth Horton, recognized as a national authority on the development of alternative fuel transportation programs, stated, “New York continues to lead by example to reduce our dependence on foreign oil and address environmental issues. E85 is part of that solution and we have wonderful industry partners who have helped us get the program started here in New York.”
NEVC Northeast Regional Coordinator Rhea Courtney Bozic was in attendance at the ceremony, along with an audience of approximately 60 people. Numerous state cars pulled into the station to fill up and biofuel enthusiasts came from as far as Monroe County, approximately 200 miles away. “The Albany area clearly recognizes the potential for domestic transportation fuels,” stated Bozic.
Albany County Comptroller Michael F. Conners, II, a biofuels and environmental advocate, said, “The NEVC should be congratulated for championing the push for energy independence and a greener environment for our children.”
This station development effort, combined with the estimated six new ethanol plants being planned in New York’s upstate region, is moving the Empire State toward the road to true energy independence, improving air quality in the balance.
Source: National Ethanol Vehicle Coalition (NEVC), press release, 2007-05-22.