Climate Action: Port Authority outlines a roadmap to net-zero greenhouse gas emissions by 2050 and announces milestones, reports Port Authority NY NJ.
Net-Zero Roadmap Report
Roadmap Released Today Lays Out Agency’s Action Plan to Reach Net-Zero; Net-Zero Roadmap Report is Available Here.
Announces Acquisitions and Orders Now in Place to Convert 50 Percent of Light Duty Fleet to Electric by 2025 and Accelerated Goal for 100 Percent Conversion by 2028
Announces Program to Decarbonize all Buildings by 2050 and Announces Prototype Retrofit at EWR Historic Building One to be Completed by 2025
Announces Port Authority Airports Pass Huge Milestone of 1,000 Pieces of Electric Airport Ground Support Equipment in Service and on Target for Phaseout of Fossil Fuel Equipment Where an Electric Version Exists
At Seaport, Ship-To-Shore and Rail-Mounted Gantry Cranes Have Achieved 98 Percent Electric Milestone
Seaport Embraces Goal to Follow Same Trajectory of Conversion as New Electric Models of Such Equipment Become Available
As Climate Week NYC begins, the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey today released the agency’s Net-Zero Roadmap, a comprehensive plan comprised of more than 40 actions intended to achieve both its near-term emission reduction goals and its 2050 goal of net-zero carbon emissions. The plan paves the way for the agency’s ambitious plans to work with its wide universe of tenants and contractors to achieve the 2050 goal. The roadmap to net-zero emissions formalizes the historic commitment the Port Authority made in 2021, the first U.S. transportation agency to issue such a pledge. In addition, it brings the Port Authority in line with the ambitious climate goals set by the Biden-Harris administration and the states of New York and New Jersey.
The agency also announced that it is on track to meet its interim goals of a 35 percent reduction in direct emissions by 2025, and a 50 percent reduction by 2030, undertaking ambitious initiatives from increasingly larger solar power projects and low-carbon airport terminals to electric Port Authority vehicles, electric shuttle buses and charging ports for customers.
The announcement took place at Newark Liberty International Airport’s historic Building One, which the Port Authority announced today will be retrofitted as the first fossil fuel-free building in the agency and intended to be the prototype for the rollout across the agency’s building stock.
“New York isn’t just joining the climate change fight – we’re leading the charge on a global scale,” said New York Gov. Kathy Hochul. “I commend the Port Authority’s important commitment and visionary roadmap to reach net-zero greenhouse gas emissions by 2050. Together, we can be the catalyst inspiring cities, states, and nations to think bigger, act bolder, and spark monumental change to protect our people and the planet.”
“The Port Authority’s bold net-zero goal represents one crucial element of New Jersey’s all-of-government approach to comprehensive climate action,” said New Jersey Gov. Phil Murphy. “Through its sustainability strategy and alignment with New Jersey’s vision for a clean energy future, the Port Authority will continue to help advance the Garden State’s pursuit of a 100 percent clean-energy economy by 2035. This determined pursuit is especially urgent to safeguard our environmental justice communities from the intensifying impacts of the climate crisis.”
“This comprehensive roadmap shows the Port Authority is meeting the gravity of the climate crisis with the urgency it deserves,” said Port Authority Chairman Kevin O’Toole. “Reducing our own greenhouse gas emissions is one thing. But this roadmap presents a much larger vision, helping to bring emissions down across the entire transportation landscape.”
“Climate change is an existential threat to the planet and to our way of life,” said Port Authority Executive Director Rick Cotton. “To get to net zero requires out-of-the-ordinary measures and commitment. The Port Authority’s road map to net zero seeks to lay out the needed way forward. The agency is committed to articulating the goal, describing the needed actions, and then tackling the implementation challenges. The road map to net zero will be the foundation of the agency’s effort.”
The Port Authority is fully committed to tackling emissions generated by the agency’s own activity. The roadmap outlines efforts to curtail the agency’s direct carbon impact, including adopting electric vehicles and equipment, dramatically reducing the carbon footprint of new and existing buildings through energy efficiency and other initiatives, and maximizing on-site solar power. To date, the Port Authority has already reduced its direct emissions by over 20 percent through significant milestones such as:
· Solar: Streamlined process for renewable energy usage and maximized on-site solar installations, including a 5 MWdc solar array at Newark Liberty International Airport – the largest solar rooftop installation at any U.S. airport – and initiating the construction process of New York state’s largest solar plus storage system planned for John F. Kennedy International Airport
· Electric vehicles: Light duty non-emergency vehicle fleet will be 50 percent electric by 2025 through vehicles already acquired or ordered by the agency, with a further target to make the entire fleet electric by 2028; 46 new airport electric buses in operation, the largest electric bus fleet of any U.S. airport system; 375 new EV charging ports installed with 600 more in progress
· Building decarbonization: Port Authority intends to make its buildings fossil fuel-free by 2050, beginning with a full decarbonization retrofit at Newark Liberty International Airport’s historic Building One, to be completed by 2025. All new buildings now prioritize sustainability in their design and construction, while the agency leverages existing and future leases to encourage clean energy use among tenants
The Port Authority has also worked with its partners to achieve their own climate goals. Partners, such as port tenants, airlines, and others, have already reduced their emissions by 412,000 metric tons. Significant progress has been made on climate actions, such as:
· Electric ground support equipment (Aviation): Working with the agency’s aviation partners, Port Authority airports have reached an important milestone of 1,000 pieces of electric ground support equipment currently operating at our airports. We will continue to work with our stakeholders towards transitioning to the utilization of all commercially available zero-emission ground support equipment by 2030 through the implementation of the 2022 Zero Emission Airside Vehicle Rule.
· Electric ship-to-shore cranes and rail-mounted-gantry cranes (Seaport): 89 of the 91 ship-to-shore and rail-mounted-gantry cranes currently in use at the Port of New York and New Jersey’s marine terminals are fully electric. All are targeted to be electric by 2026 through the Port Authority’s Marine Tariff program, incentivizing electric equipment conversion by seaport tenants.
EWR Building One
The Port Authority will seek to make all of its buildings fossil fuel-free by 2050, beginning with a full decarbonization retrofit at the agency’s historic Building One at Newark Liberty International Airport. The building, inaugurated in 1935 as the nation’s first airport passenger terminal, will usher in a new chapter for the agency in 2025 as its first fossil fuel-free facility. The building will see a multitude of efficiency upgrades, a new electric boiler, and new solar panels for clean, onsite energy generation. All current natural gas-burning equipment will be replaced as part of the work. This project will help inform future decarbonization projects across Port Authority properties.
The net-zero roadmap
The Port Authority’s commitment is unique among U.S. transportation agencies through its pledge to not just eliminate its own direct emissions but to also facilitate net-zero carbon emission goals working with its operational contractors –including airlines, shipping companies, container terminal operators and regional bus carriers. The blueprint details dozens of steps the agency will take to support those partners in reducing emissions, helping them to meet benchmarks incorporated into the agency’s contracts. Those steps include substantially easing the transition to zero-emission buses at the agency’s bus facilities, supporting the transition to sustainable jet fuel at airports, and facilitating environmentally conscious operations at its port’s container terminals.
The net-zero roadmap outlines dozens of initiatives the Port Authority plans to undertake for its own operations and direct emissions, as well as cooperative actions with its facility stakeholders to reach a collective net-zero target. They include, but are not limited to:
Transportation and equipment
· Design and upgrade bus terminals, including the planned replacement of the Midtown Bus Terminal, to fully support zero-emission operations and electric bus fleets
· Expand and improve transit, bicycle, and pedestrian access to facilities, reducing traffic and congestion
· Install charging infrastructure at airports to support the transition to zero-emission ground support equipment by 2030
· Support zero-emission taxis, for-hire vehicles, buses, and rental cars at airports by adding charging equipment and creating incentives for use
· Engage airport stakeholders to facilitate the transition to sustainable aviation fuel
· Phase in increasingly more stringent environmental initiatives to promote the use of zero-emission ship fuel, equipment, and trucks at container terminals, supported by charging infrastructure and industry outreach
· Increase use of freight shipping via rail and barge instead of diesel trucks, including through planned upgrades to the port’s on-dock ExpressRail intermodal system and the Port Authority’s wholly owned short line marine railroad, New York New Jersey Rail, and cross-harbor railcar barge.
Energy supply and infrastructure
· Expand solar energy installations and clean energy purchases
· Transition central power plants to net-zero emission systems
These initiatives go hand-in-hand with the multitude of sustainability efforts already underway at the Port Authority, which so far have brought down direct emissions by at least 20 percent from 2006 levels. In 2018 and 2021, the Port Authority introduced the Clean Dozen 1.0 and 2.0 programs, a series of projects to accelerate the agency’s progress in reducing emissions. In addition to progress on solar and EVs, through those initiatives, the Port Authority has:
· Announced the creation of a construction support facility at John F. Kennedy International Airport, with a commitment to minimize truck trips and pollution through the surrounding community
· Required low-carbon concrete mixes in all future construction projects
· Published a logistics and production study outlining initial steps toward the adoption of sustainable aviation fuel
· Extended the clean vessel program, incentivizing container and cruise ships to make engine, fuel, and technology enhancements to reduce emissions.
Going forward, the roadmap also includes a pledge to continue reporting our progress through annual greenhouse gas inventories. These investments will incorporate a continued emphasis on awarding contracts to minority- and women-owned business enterprises (MWBEs) and local business enterprises (LBEs), part of a larger collaboration the agency continues to foster with surrounding communities and industries.
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