Admission-Free Facility to Serve as Year-Round Tourist Destination, Offer STEM Education to Area Youth
New York State is opening a new admission-free attraction, John S. Dyson New York Energy Zone, designed and financed by the New York Power Authority, in Utica, to tell the story of the state’s electric history, electric companies, and progress toward a clean, renewable energy future.
New York, with a nation-leading climate plan, is on a path to achieving its mandated goal of a zero-emission electricity sector by 2040, including 70 percent renewable energy generation by 2030, and to reach economy wide carbon neutrality.
The 15,000-square-foot New York State museum of energy in Utica, located next to the Utica Zoo, is expected to open to the public May 10.
The NY Energy Zone will introduce you to the dynamic world of electricity, past, present, and future, and New York State’s part in it. Interactive exhibits, activities, movies and videos meet you at every turn. Plus you will learn about NYS’s exciting electric history, its great electric companies and the important work at NYPA’s Frederick R. Clark Energy Control Center in nearby Marcy.
The facility features exhibits that simulate flying a drone to check on power transmission lines, controlling electricity on an energy grid, operating a power plant, and building a micro power grid along with many other interactive activities designed to teach visitors about the past, present and future of energy in New York State.
Exhibits throughout the museum reflect input and information from New York’s major private utilities; NYPA’s sister agency, the New York State Energy Research and Development Authority (NYSERDA); and the New York Independent System Operator (NYISO) as well as industry trade groups. Each entity shares its role in the energy and electricity story of New York State that is highlighted throughout the Energy Zone.
Are you ready? An electrifying experience awaits…
- Activate and personalize your Power Pass with an avatar
- Step into the zone with our 3-D immersive movie experience “Imagination!” in the Magi Theater
- Travel back in time with Nikola Tesla and Thomas Edison
- Build a bulb, a power plant, microgrid, solar and wind installation
- Become a control room operator
- Explore the ‘Future of the Grid’ room and watch the sparks fly
- “Fly” a drone over power lines
- Plus enjoy photo op moments and more
“I visit the Power Authority’s Niagara Power Vista in Lewiston every chance I get and now I am thrilled that I’ll be able to learn even more about the New York energy story at the New York Energy Zone in Utica,” said Lieutenant Governor Kathy Hochul. “NYPA’s first-class visitors centers attract visitors from around the world. This energy museum will help boost the local economy as more tourists visit the area. Educators from around the state and beyond will appreciate what the museum has to offer in Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics programming, and we will all benefit by inspiring new leaders in these fields as we transform our energy system to a zero-emission electricity sector by 2040.”
Named for former NYPA Chairman John S. Dyson, the new facility is affiliated with NYPA’s Frederick R. Clark Energy Center — the hub of its statewide power transmission control center located in Marcy. The two-story facility features a 3D feature film about Nikola Tesla directed by Douglas Trumbull, known for his work on 2001: A Space Odyssey (1968), Close Encounters of the Third Kind (1977), and Blade Runner (1982). The film showcases the contributions of Tesla and other famous inventors from the past, returning Tesla to the present to introduce him to the amazing electrical achievements and opportunities of today that have been made possible by his work.
The facility also is home to a STEM Lab — a space dedicated to science, technology, engineering, and mathematics and focused on student learning. The STEM Lab’s programming will be developed in partnership with local educational entities with an expertise in STEM and will host hands-on educational experiences and special events.
The museum is named for John S. Dyson, who served as Chairman and Chief Executive Officer of the Power Authority from 1979 to 1985, and vice chairman and member of the board of trustees from 2011 to 2012. Hallmarks of his leadership at NYPA include a legacy of strengthening the state’s power transmission system, energy conservation, and programs to promote energy efficiency and economic development, including initiatives allocating lower cost electricity to businesses in return for job commitments. As the state’s Commerce Commissioner in the late 1970s, he established the “I Love New York” program. A longtime New Yorker, Dyson grew up in Westchester and Dutchess counties and graduated from Cornell University. He lives in Millbrook, Dutchess County.
The museum is expected to complement the region’s tourism attractions and contribute to its economic development, in addition to showcasing New York State as being on the vanguard of a clean, renewable energy economy.
All visits to the new John S. Dyson New York Energy Zone will follow New York Forward COVID-19 safety precautions. For more information or to schedule a time to visit after May 10, visit NYPA’s New York Energy Zone webpage.
Anthony J. Picente Jr., NYPA trustee and Oneida County Executive, said,”Utica is a natural location for this museum of energy because it complements the work of our Frederick R. Clark Energy Center, NYPA’s system-wide energy transmission complex in Marcy. I am grateful to my colleagues at the Power Authority for their vision in conceiving and developing this magnificent facility in Oneida County that will inspire our next generation of energy leaders and benefit all New Yorkers for decades to come.”
NYPA has three other admission-free visitors centers near its major hydropower projects. The centers, which feature exhibits that demonstrate the production of electricity, also educate the public about clean energy and host community events. NYPA’s Niagara Power Vista, minutes from Niagara Falls; its Blenheim-Gilboa Visitors Center in the Catskills; and its Frank S. McCullough, Jr., Visitors Center and Boat Launch at Hawkins Point on the St. Lawrence River offer outdoor recreation opportunities on the grounds and nearby. For more information about COVID-19 prevention protocols and opening plans, visit NYPA’s Visitors Centers webpage.
- Housed in a 19th-century dairy barn Blenheim-Gilboa features exhibits describing the unique engineering of a pumped-storage power facility. On the grounds stands Lansing Manor, a 19th century home preserved for modern visitors. Hiking, boating and fishing are very popular.
- The Hawkins Point Visitors Center nests on an island in the St. Lawrence River. Visitors will learn about the series of dams, walls, and canals that let the enormous river provide power to both Canada and New York.
- At the renovated Niagara Power Vista, the power generation exhibits are on a par with those of the best science museums in the country—and it’s just five miles from Niagara Falls.
- The NY Energy Zone introduces you to the dynamic world of electricity, past, present, and future, and New York State’s part in it. Interactive exhibits, activities, movies and videos meet you at every turn.
New York State’s Nation-Leading Climate Plan
Governor Cuomo’s nation-leading climate agenda is the most aggressive climate and clean energy initiative in the nation, calling for an orderly and just transition to clean energy that creates jobs and continues fostering a green economy as New York State recovers from the COVID-19 pandemic. Enshrined into law through the Climate Leadership and Community Protection Act, New York is on a path to achieving its mandated goal of a zero-emission electricity sector by 2040, including 70 percent renewable energy generation by 2030, and to reach economy wide carbon neutrality. It builds on New York’s unprecedented ramp-up of clean energy including over $4 billion invested in 91 large-scale renewable projects across the state, supporting more than 150,000 jobs in New York’s clean energy sector in 2019, a commitment to develop 9,000 megawatts of offshore wind by 2035, and 1,800 percent growth in the distributed solar sector since 2011. Under Governor Cuomo’s leadership, New York will build on this progress and reduce greenhouse gas emissions by 85 percent from 1990 levels by 2050, while ensuring that at least 35 percent with a goal of 40 percent of the benefits of clean energy investments to disadvantaged communities and advancing progress towards the state’s 2025 energy efficiency target of reducing on-site energy consumption by 185 trillion BTUs of end-use energy savings.
NYPA is one of the largest state public power organizations in the nation, operating 16 generating facilities and more than 1,400 circuit-miles of transmission lines. More than 80 percent of the electricity NYPA produces is clean renewable hydropower. NYPA uses no tax money or state credit. It finances its operations through the sale of bonds and revenues earned in large part through sales of electricity. For more information, visit www.nypa.gov.
John S. Dyson New York Energy Zone, is located just outside the Utica Zoo, 35 Utica Zoo Way Utica, NY, 13501, 315-792-8720, https://www.nypa.gov/communities/visitors-centers/ny-energy-zone
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