Our Final Video report installment from The Offshore Wind For NY Conference. The focus is on the policy and political will needed to bring offshore wind to NY
We hear from Catherine Bowes, National Wildlife Federation; Adrienne Esposito, Citizens Campaign for the Environment; Doug Sims, Natural Resources Defense Council; Gordian Raacke, Renewable Energy Long Island; Lisa Dix, Sierra Club.
In this 3rd report from the Offshore Wind for New York 2013 Conference, the focus is on the aspects of the utility, the huge power and influence the utility can wield to either get it done or not, and the LIPA (soon to be PSEG Long Island) Request for Proposals (RFP) for offshore wind.
We hear from Neal Lewis, LIPA Trustee / Sustainable Institute at Molloy College Director; Gordian Raacke, Renewable Energy Long Island; Doug Sims, Natural Resources Defense Council; Adrienne Esposito, Citizens Campaign for the Environment; Jackson Morris, Pace University Energy and Climate Center, and David Daly, incoming President of PSEG Long Island.
Additionally, Speaker here Doug Sims, Of NRDC has recently released a very important and informative paper:
Probably the most important thing to go along with this (you know- besides doing the right thing for our children, our planet and the future) is the infrastructure and manufacturing base that would be born right here of the necessity to make this happen.
That would be a boon to the economy, help pay to fix crumbling and in need of repair infrastructure, and create tens of thousands of jobs. It could start an entire industry that could supply the rest of the world by investing in and succeeding in doing something like this right here.
Of course we would like to see more of this or that in the list. Someone
has shown the way. We should not let the desire for (that creates waiting for) the “perfect” scenario to outweigh the rewards of the success that can be achieved by acting, and by acting now.
It’s very easy everybody! Not the undertaking itself, that is work – but we definitely can do it. What is easy is it can be done if we decide to do it.
That’s it! If we decide to do it there’s nothing else stopping us. The final details would get hammered out. The “oh too bad we can’t do it”‘s would mean we just find a different way to reach 100% that works for the problematic few percent.
Would it be a “failure” if we only got to 90 or 95% by 2030?
What if, by acting now we can do 150% by then, and export the rest to another state to our west to cut down on the fossil fuel pollution they create that blows our way?
Tim Daniels of Deepwater Wind showed the current New York Offshore Energy Planning Map
On Tuesday Night, community leaders, environmental and Renewable Energy organizations and members of the general public met to discuss Renewable Energy Solutions for Long Island At the LI Clean Energy Forum: Navigating NY’s Energy Crossroads
Ms. Dix said “it’s time for the Long Island Power Authority to move away from plans to lock Long Islanders into dirty fossil fuel energy contracts, instead of investing in clean, safe renewable energy from wind and solar. We need both Gov. Cuomo and LIPA to act now to protect our clean energy programs and fast-track our transition to a clean energy future for New York”.
The importance of this meeting was to bring to the public what their role is in helping transition Long Island and the world at large into more renewable energy.
“We are stuck doing the same things because we have a fossil fuel based economy”. Of LIPA board’s recent decision not (necessarily) to buy into offshore wind she said
“change just got a 15 year jail sentence”.
Explaining our problem, she said “The job of LIPA is to provide affordable, reliable power- not renewable energy… the decision-making structure is wrong. These institutions are not elected but they’re making our decisions and may not have any energy or utility experience. We don’t have leadership that the people can rely upon.
She went on to add, “we need a new movement to move Long Island energy into the new millennium. “Silence is not golden – we need everyone’s voices to be heard”
She spoke of the dangers, destruction and pollution of Fracking and natural gas drilling. She said livestock is ingesting these FrackIng wastes and our food chain is threatened right now. She explained pipelines are proving difficult to stop because they are not approved on the local level, but on the federal level by the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC). Thus, pipelines like the one being completed under the devastated Rockaways are happening against residents wishes, and continuing to be installed PRIOR to court proceedings to stop them.
Fracking Water use statistics from Grassroots Environmental Education
She says the best way to keep Fracking out is make sure we have plenty of renewable energy powering our state that we don’t need it.
Peter Olmstead of the Vote Solar Initiative spoke. He explained the US could easily reach 80% renewable energy by the year 2050.
“we need to attract investment and provide access to renewable energy”.
Another major item of interest he spoke of that “if your house isn’t good for solar maybe you could have a few panels on a community system elsewhere”. You know we here at All Our Energy love the Virtual Metering scenario! Why should you have to own a roof to have solar- 8 million New York City residents (and any other urban dwellers) would at least have access to solar empowerment!
He said getting competition into solar to create lower costs would be a key ingredient to more widespread solar usage, and is already happening.
Tim Daniels from Deepwater Wind, the company proposing the offshore Wind farm LIPA ignored, spoke next.
“Wind could have been providing Long Island 10% of its energy had LIPA gone with their plan.”
In his view, New York had taken some steps towards renewable energy 10 years ago but since has stagnated and failed to follow through.
He said locally offshore wind could easily support 3000 MW of power for our area.
We met Ed Laborde of Power Up Communities, a new green energy campaign to help owners make their homes energy-efficient and more comfortable while generating good paying jobs and community benefits.
Their study shows that by 2020 it is technically feasible to meet 100% of Long Island’s residential electricity needs with Renewable Energy. It further shows by 2030 we could have 100 percent renewable and zero carbon electricity supply for all of Long Island. He said the only thing missing to make the transition is the political will. Read about it here:
Mr. Raacke has a great outlook on the situation when he says “it’s an exciting time to be alive when we can make the change to renewable energy”
I understand what he says: We have the power – you, I, we- can do it and we must do it together. He reminds us that the price of sunshine is still zero…
Gordian Raacke of Renewable Energy LI:”it’s an exciting time to be alive when we can make the change to renewable energy”
A great Q and A session followed questions included
whether Superstorm Sandy would have had any effect on offshore Wind Farm. Tim Daniels’ answer was no – offshore turbines are designed for North Sea storms which are category three winds. The Siemens turbines available to Deepwater wind withstand 120 MPH sustained winds and 150 Mph gusts.
Another question was about the environmental impacts of an offshore wind Farm. Adrienne Esposito replied “when thinking about environmental impacts you must think not about Wind Farm versus nothing, but Wind Farm versus dirty energy plant. No matter what, there’s going to be impacts. The clean energy impacts are so much less plus they dramatically reduce the pollution and climate change affecting the environment.
Another question was about the impending change in LIPA leadership. She said we should be poised to demand the right people are put in charge. We should also make sure they know we think they should not cut their renewable energy programs, and that they need to have more renewables in the mix. We need to let the LIPA Board of Trustees know we need to change.
There was some quiet speculation that LIPA may have left the door barely cracked open to revisit the issue and we should not give up yet.
A European immigrant living here said they’re shocked there is no policy against wasting energy.
(This is an excellent point, as people in the US are under the assumption that “if they can pay for the electricity, it’s their business and that the ‘free market’ of prices will decide how much they use”. Unfortunately, they ARE NOT paying the actual costs of their usage when it comes to pollution, land destruction, and climate change- the “hidden costs” of dirty energy, which they are actually passing off to everyone else.)
They explained that in their home country, when you sell a house you must show the energy usage and efficiency that that house has, as just part of the process. hmmm…
Another attendee named John just made a statement that we must realize we are all addicted to fossil fuels and we need to change our own actions and attitudes.
After the proceedings, I was able to ask the representative from Deepwater Wind:
“If LIPA said “go” today, when would we have renewable energy?”
Answer: 2017- the same time as the new gas power plants would be coming online.
Gordian Raacke summed it up best: “if you think investing in renewable energy is important, then let your elected officials and LIPA know. Become involved! Let’s grab this chance to make it happen!”
I hope this email finds you well in the weeks following Superstorm Sandy. It is clear everyone’s focus is on rebuilding what was lost in the storm, but we can’t just build back what was here. We need to build back a better and more resilient Long Island. We have seen that our Island has a unique vulnerability to climate events so part of being more resilient will be building up clean energy infrastructure that won’t perpetuate this problem.
To learn more about Long Island’s clean energy future, please join the Sierra Club and the Green Sanctuary Committee of the Unitarian Universalist Congregation at Shelter Rock at:
Long Island is at a major turning point when it comes to deciding how we are going to power our homes for the next several decades. Whether we continue down a path of dirty fossil fuels or move into the 21st century by investing in clean energy depends heavily on public participation from people like you.
At this forum, you will hear from a panel of well-respected individuals in the clean energy field, including Adrienne Esposito of Citizen’s Campaign for the Environment, Peter Olmsted of the Vote Solar Initiative, Gordian Raacke of Renewable Energy Long Island, as well as a representative from the offshore wind company Deepwater Wind.
RSVP using the link below to let us know you can make it and if you can bring a friend:
“At this forum, you will hear from a panel of well-respected individuals in the clean energy field, including Adrienne Esposito of Citizen’s Campaign for the Environment, Peter Olmsted of the Vote Solar Initiative, Gordian Raacke of Renewable Energy Long Island, as well as a representative from the offshore wind company Deepwater Wind.” –
Please join the Sierra Club and the Green Sanctuary of the Unitarian Universalist Congregation at Shelter Rock on the evening of Tuesday, December 4th, 7 to 9 pm for a discussion on Long Island’s clean energy future. The forum will be held in the Social Hall of the UU Congregation at Shelter Rock at 48 Shelter Rock Rd, Manhasset, NY 11030. You can find directions here: http://www.uucsr.org/find.asp
The Clean Energy Forum will provide a great opportunity to learn more about the current turning point in our energy policy and which path we need to take to achieve the future we want to see. This will be an action oriented discussion so
come ready to learn your role in the push for clean energy.
Find all the information and attendee registration here: