Governor Paterson Announces Plans to Support Brookhaven National Laboratory with NYPA Power Allocation

Low-Cost Electricity Would Support Plans for High-Intensity Light Beam Project and Hundreds of New Jobs

Governor's Office Contact: Errol Cockfield | | 212.681.4640 | 518.474.8418
NYPA Contact: Christine Pritchard |

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Governor Paterson making the NYPA power allocation announcement at Brookhaven.

Governor David A. Paterson today announced an agreement to allocate low-cost electricity for Brookhaven National Laboratory (BNL) that will support the construction of a high-intensity light beam project known as the National Synchrotron Light Source II (NSLS-II). Project construction will take place this year, and result in up to 1,000 jobs over the next few years and several hundred new permanent positions at the scientific research center – one of Long Island’s largest employers and energy users. In constructing the new NSLS-II facility, BNL will invest $900 million, which will help retain thousands of jobs on Long Island.

“As New York faces the worst economic recession in more than a generation, it is critical that we do everything we can to maintain the healthy and valued drivers of our economy. Brookhaven National Laboratory is fundamental to Long Island and to New York State’s overall economy. Its world-class facilities attract thousands of visiting scientists each year, who conduct pioneering work in materials and life sciences and other fields while contributing to the local and State economies,” said Governor Paterson. “The research conducted at Brookhaven – which includes advancements in energy – is critical to New York’s position as a national leader in renewable energy initiatives.”

The New York Power Authority (NYPA) is expecting for the first time to provide BNL with 15 megawatts (MW) of hydropower, along with other market supplies, to meet BNL’s full electricity requirements over a 15-year period. Last month, the NYPA Board of Trustees authorized contract negotiations for the distribution of hydropower to BNL, which is operated by Brookhaven Science Associates for the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE). In addition to serving BNL’s overall operations, the supplies of low-cost power will underpin the atomic-scale work in which the NSLS-II facility will be engaged for ultramicroscopic medical, energy and materials research.

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Rendering of the National Synchrotron Light Source II.

Richard M. Kessel, NYPA President and Chief Executive Officer, and Merrick resident, said: “Like other Long Islanders, I have long appreciated Brookhaven National Laboratory’s profound importance to the region and New York State’s overall economy. The Laboratory injects hundreds of millions of dollars a year in direct spending into the State’s economy, which is linked to tens of thousands of additional jobs beyond those at the lab. NYPA is working to assure continued lower cost electricity supplies for Brookhaven’s needs well into the future.”

Last month, the DOE authorized the construction of NSLS-II to begin this year, which will be the largest capital project under construction of any of the ten national laboratories in the United States that are owned by DOE’s Office of Science. Brookhaven is the only national lab in the Northeast.

The new NSLS-II facility will direct bright beams of x-rays exceeding that of any other light source currently existing or under construction to peer at particles a billionth of a meter long. The beams will be 10,000 times brighter than the current NSLS at Brookhaven, which was commissioned in 1982. The NSLS facility has reached the practical limits of machine performance and will be replaced by the new light source project.

Access to world-class capabilities provided by synchrotron light sources is crucial to many scientists at the State’s universities and research institutions, including the State University of New York at Plattsburgh, Cornell University and Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute. Other organizations using the existing BNL light source facility include Corning, General Electric Global Research Center in Niskayuna, and IBM Research Division in Yorktown Heights.

The hydropower allocation will be made by NYPA through a sale to the Long Island Power Authority for BNL’s exclusive use.

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Governor Paterson making the NYPA power allocation announcement at Brookhaven. (L to R: Department of Energy Brookhaven Site Office Manager Michael Holland, NY State Senator Brian X. Foley, President and CEO of LIPA Kevin S. Law, NYPA President Richard M. Kessel, Governor David Paterson, Brookhaven National Laboratory Director Samuel Aronson and NY State Assemblyman Marc Alessi.

Established in 1947, BNL has brought international attention to New York State with its achievements in many fields of science, including physics, chemistry, biology, medicine and applied science. Six Nobel Prizes have been awarded for discoveries made at Brookhaven.

Dr. Samuel Aronson, Director of BNL, said: “The power supplies that are being provided through NYPA are not only essential for our proceeding with the new NSLS-II facility, they are crucial to the future of Brookhaven National Laboratory as a whole. Without a long-term source of lower-cost power, our energy-intensive operations would have difficulty competing for Department of Energy funding of new facilities and research projects and could face the prospect of being shuttered several years down the road. We are grateful to Governor Paterson, Senator Schumer and various other State and local officials, including Richard Kessel of the New York Power Authority, for their support of our NSLS-II plans and for the allocation of affordable power well into the future.”

NYPA, the nation’s largest nonfederal public power agency, provides up to one-quarter of New York’s electricity to various categories of customers from its 18 generating facilities in various parts of the State and through power purchases. NYPA also owns and operates more than 1,400 circuit miles of transmission lines, accounting for about one-third of the State’s high-voltage transmission, and is a leader in investing in energy efficiency and clean energy technologies.

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