Utica, NY (WIBX) - A project backed by New York State Energy Research and Development Authority in partnership with the state Department of Transportation looks to reduce a truck drivers' idle time at designated rest stops.

By this summer, Shorepower Technologies of Utica will complete the installation of 72 electrical stations at three truck stops in the state. Joe Licari, Director of Eastern Operations for Shorepower Technologies says that instead of idling using the trucks engine and fuel, drivers will be able to plug into one of the electrical pedestal and have access to heat, a/c and other electrical powered necessities. "We're in the initial phases of starting to grow a foot print and we do think that this is a viable solution to reduce idling, save fuel, and save those emissions and there will be a cost savings to the trucker if he's able to shut down his truck," he said.

Licari says a total of 24 million gallons of fuel could be saved annually, if the system is adopted statewide. The cost will be $1 to initiate the service, and $1 for every hour a truck driver is plugged into the electrical pedestal. Licari says federal money from the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act is going toward funding the project that could save an estimated 210,000 gallons of diesel fuel a year.

Dale Zatlin, Assistant Director of Communication for NYSERDA said her company is providing $1.5 million to 13 different organizations across the state to help them explore energy efficiency in the transportation area. She said the move is in combination with the initiative to install the electrical pedestals at three different truck stops in the state. "The transportation sector is responsible for 76-percent of petroleum consumption and 39-percent of greenhouse gas production in New York State," she said. Zatlin goes onto to say, "This is obviously a big area for opportunity because we can improve those numbers by lowering our fuel use and by lowering our emissions." She says the aim is to move toward a less polluted New York.

Licari says bidding for the project will start as soon as they finalize the contract with NYSERDA and NYSDOT. He says the three stations slated to get the pedestals have not been selected yet however, he says a decision will be based on making a greater environmental impact by installing them at highly traveled truck stops. Another important element of the environmentally friendly project is the "Buy America" provision in the deal. Licari says that rule allows Shorepower Technology to use its own product, which is manufactured in Oregon.

Shorepower Technology is also working to install about half a dozen car charging stations in the state through another NYSERDA project. Licari says however, that these types of taxpayer funded projects require a 50-percent matching fund from private investors or donors to help cover the total cost of the project.

Zatlin says the technology that companies like Shorepower and DOT are working to perfect will ultimately help the state reduce its reliance on fossil fuels and limit its impact on the environment. "This is the 5th project we've done with DOT and we hope to continue them because they are very important to our future," she said.

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