ROADS/BRIDGES: A windy solution in NY state

New York Thruway Authority installs wind turbines at toll locations

News October 27, 2014
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The New York State Thruway Authority is looking to take advantage of the state’s contentious Atlantic coast winds as an alternate source of sustainable energy. A metering law signed into effect by Gov. Andrew Cuomo in 2011 allowed the Authority to investigate sources of renewable energy generation that could also effectively cut toll costs and contribute to the state mandate to have 30% of its energy needs facilitated by renewable means.
 
The decision to install wind turbines atop some of the Thruway’s toll plazas—presently in place from the Eden/Angola exit west toward Ripley—has been received as a promising and economical solution. Moreover, the metering law allows the Authority to sell back what wind energy goes unused, thus further contributing to a lessening of the toll burden on commuters.
 
Further turbines are presently being connected to the electrical grid, but the expectation is for them to be fully online by year’s end. The turbines are expected to produce a consistent current of energy at wind speeds between five and 20 miles per hour. Strong winds could result in unwanted damage, though a study conducted by the state on wind patterns in the Lake Erie region deemed it a promising area at which to install the turbines.
 
The Thruway Authority will continue to monitor the project’s results, in the hope that more widespread application could become a reality in the future.

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