2016 NYAE Q4 Recap: Mobility & Transportation

-Aishwarya Gupta, Fellow, & Tanner Kenney, Fellow

On December 15, 2016, in New York City, Advanced Energy Group held its quarterly stakeholder breakfast. It was facilitated by founder and CEO, H.G. Chissell and covered the transportation sector from various perspectives. Phyllis Kessler of Duane Morris aptly put that the transportation sector has overtaken utilities as the number one producer greenhouse gases in the nation. She addressed issues ranging from the need to bulk up the electrical grid for vehicle charging stations to modernized and efficient transportation such as high speed ferries that run off of hydrogen fuel cells.

Ben Mandel from the New York City Mayor’s Office of Sustainability spoke to how the city frames the issue of transportation is driven by improving air quality. From the City’s perspective, the sustainability goals set both locally and by the state and help facilitate the shift towards electric vehicles. He called for everyone to think critically and to reduce and manage the number of trips and, essentially, “stop spinning wheels.” Adam Ruder from NYSERDA agreed that the state and the city are on the same page. At the state level, there are three main focus areas, electric vehicles, public transportation, and mobility management. NYSERDA has been making a concerted effort to educate and raise awareness about Electric Vehicles through state credits which significantly reduces cost barriers. They are also looking at mobility management programs such as smart traffic signals and parking systems with sensors, among others, to allow better communication between vehicles.  

John Shipman from ConEdison pointed out that the differential costs for electric vehicles are coming down allowing for a greater market penetration. In the past year, ConEdison implemented a rebate program offering a 7 cents rebate for charging from midnight to 7 AM while their system peak reduction program targeted at EVs kicks off in 2017. Thomas Lamb from the New York City Transit Authority asserted that hydrogen fuel cells are something that they are interested in developing with cross-sector partnership.

Vincent Gil from Metro North also added that regenerative braking, decreasing line loss as well as increasing ridership were just some of the priority areas that Metro North had. From John Tull’s perspective, Amtrak’s focus has been to radically change things instead of incrementally changing things. With the use of solar panels and CHP, he pointed out that infrastructure can be leveraged to get where they want to get. He also introduced David Breummer’s new GPS technology that came in within a few centimeters of the exact location on a map. Breummer pointed out that positioning is key to transforming energy because the problem of waste and traffic cannot be solved by artificial intelligence. These were just some of the many comments coming out of the Transportation breakfast. The next New York Advanced Energy Stakeholder Breakfast is going to take place on Thursday, March 23, 2017. To request an invitation, please click here.