Among the sites to be served by the new Fuel Cells for Emergency Communications (FC4EC) program is a New York State Department of Transportation communications tower in Albion. This facility, which handles communications in Western New York, was disabled during the October snow emergency. The fuel cell backup power is designed to allow communications facilities to continue to operate in the event of the loss of power from the grid.
The State Police will coordinate the program with assistance from the Power Authority, which has installed fuel cells at various locations throughout the state, including the New York Police Department Central Park station in Manhattan. During the August 2003 blackout, that fuel cell kept the police station running by providing electricity for the facility without interruption.
The fuel cells to be installed will be produced by Plug Power of Latham. The GenCore fuel cell systems, according to Plug Power, are “high-performance solutions for the critical backup power needs of the telecommunications, utility and industrial uninterruptible power supply markets. GenCore systems deliver up to five kilowatts of reliable backup power over a wide range of operating environmentsA?AA¢AA¢aAA¬AA¢a?A¬?with zero emissions.”
The 22 facilities scheduled to have fuel cell backup power systems installed include the DOT site in Albion, Orleans County; a New York State Police site in Rensselaer County; seven New York State Department of Environmental Conservation sites in Chenango, Madison, Steuben, Chautauqua, Cattaraugus, Washington and Cortland Counties; a Village of Stamford site in Delaware County; a facility operated by the State Police and DOT in Clinton County; four facilities owned by the New York State Department of Agriculture and Markets on the State Fair Grounds in Onondaga County; a Town of Schodack site in Rensselaer County; four facilities owned by Saratoga County; and two facilities owned by the New York State Office for Technology in Albany County.
The $434,000 in funding for the program will be provided from Petroleum Overcharge Restitution funds.