Healthy Environment, Strong Communities, Accountable Government

Clean Energy

Leadership Task Force
Local Action Against Global Climate Change

 

Notes from the June 25, 2004 meeting:

The second meeting of the new initiative designed to assist municipalities in moving towards cleaner, more efficient energy use took place on Friday June 25, 2004 at Oyster Bay’s Highway Department. The Clean Energy Leadership Task Force was established to provide Long Island municipalities with information on the financial incentive programs available for adopting clean energy technologies.

Supervisor John Venditto began the meeting with an enthusiastic welcome and congratulated the group for their efforts to improve Long Island’s environment. He was followed by a brief update on the NYSERDA PON 843 by Kathleen Whitley of Applied Energy Group. They, LIPA, and Neighborhood Network had organized an informational meeting in early June to inform municipalities about how to apply for the excellent grant opportunity which offered $6.50 per watt up to 40kw for solar installations for public buildings. We hope more of such grants will be headed our way!

Town of Oyster Bay’s Supervisor Venditto (center) welcomes the Task Force, along with Steven Labriola (left) and Neal Lewis, Neighborhood Network (right).

Then, Skip Hodge of the New York Power Authority (NYPA) reminded participants of the extensive program NYPA offers to retrofit buildings. For a very low financing fee, NYPA provides a program that audits all the energy using equipment in the building and shows where significant savings could be made. NYPA has already successfully implemented its program with many municipalities and school districts around the state. Mr. Hodge pointed out that a positive cash flow is usually shown from the very first month the retrofit takes place, so there is immediate return on the investment. Several L.I. municipalities have already taken steps to make use of this program. NYPA also assists in obtaining the available rebates & incentives that LIPA offers.

Representatives from LIPA spoke about their programs. Todd Romano reminded the group that they have several approaches-- a prescriptive approach where only certain key energy-using items in a building would be changed out, or else a whole building approach which looks at the whole system to improve efficiency. Gary Krieger of LIPA spoke about the 75megawatt Demand Reduction Program, which will employ several energy consultants to work with municipal and corporate participants to reduce the collective demand by about 75 mw. This demand reduction strategy is one the most cost effective ways to reduce energy costs.

Ron Gulmi and Andria Adler of Greater Long Island Clean Cities gave us an update on the stakeholder process for being able to apply for grants for alternative fuel vehicles. Mr. Gulmi pointed out the availability of 2 new natural gas fueling stations, one in Hauppauge and one in Oyster Bay.

Developing an Action Plan for Your Municipality

Finally a key discussion took place among the group, led by Neal Lewis, Neighborhood Network, and Gordian Raacke, Renewable Energy Long Island (RELI), about first steps towards adopting a plan that works for each municipality. For example, should your Town/County have a staff person dedicated to energy issues, or form a committee for this purpose? And what type of action would you like to take first: take one building and make it totally energy efficient in all ways, or look at all your buildings and just change the lighting in each. Or, would your Town like to generate energy using renewables such as wind or solar? Can your vehicles purchasing department phase in alternative fuel vehicles like natural gas, biodiesel, or hybrids over time as you replace older vehicles?

The conversation was productive and helped to get some ideas going as to what approaches are feasible. Governor Pataki has laid out his Executive Order 111 which urges all state public entities to reduce their greenhouse gas emissions in both buildings and fleets through building retrofits and phasing in alternative fuel vehicles, purchasing Energy Star office equipment, and following green building standards for any new construction. This lays out a good basis for Towns to work from as to what best suits their own particular situation.

Some excellent examples of Action Plans from other states are posted on the RELI website-- (very inspiring!):
http://www.renewableenergylongisland.org/actionplans.cfm

Documents Used at the Task Force meeting are posted at:
http://www.renewableenergylongisland.org/cetflinks.cfm

Action Plan components
Which Approaches are Right for Your Municipality?

The following are some ideas to consider for your municipality’s action plan. The pros and cons to each were discussed in detail during the meeting. Note that each municipality can choose their own approach, or a combination of several approaches:

Decision Making:

  • Appoint a staffperson to take primary responsibility on energy issues.
  • Create an advisory committee made up up of staff, experts, and activists.
  • An elected official may take the lead in making sure clean energy policy is carried out.

Adopting Policy & Taking Action:

  • Adopt a Clean Energy Policy that encompasses several aspects, similar to the Governor’s Executive Order 111.
  • Employ one easily implemented technology, such as efficient lighting, throughout all municipal buildings.
  • Perform a major retrofit of one building, such as Town hall, that improves all major areas of energy use, and use this as a model.
  • Install renewable energy sources such as solar, wind, or fuel cells.
  • Green your fleets, phasing in new alternative fuel or hybrid vehicles.

Why is the Task force Necessary?

In our discussion about action plans, many municipalities shared ideas as to what works best for them and what problems they’ve encountered when they’ve tried different approaches. This experience- sharing is mutually beneficial for all involved.

For example, on the discussion of decision-making, East Hampton already formed a committee on energy issues several years ago, and was able to share some of the pros and cons of that experience. Oyster Bay recently formed their own internal task force on energy and are taking time now to review the numerous possibilities before taking action.

One point discussed was what really are the differences between the programs offered by LIPA's 75MW reduction program and NYPA's wholebuilding program? Both programs help to identify areas where energy efficiency can be achieved in existing buildings. NYPA offers low interest financing to pay for installing new equipment, whereas LIPA's program is paid for by two mechanisms: the Energy Services Company (ESCO) (there are 6 participating) pays for the equipment installation, and they are then reimbursed through the electric savings achieved, as well as through LIPA incentives on the energy reductions they deliver. This new LIPA program produces energy savings based on a pre-approved set of measures, such as lighting upgrades and HVAC replacement. A municipality enters into a contract with the ESCO to give them their monthly energy savings to complete the ESCO contract, but then reaps the full benefit of energy savings after the contract term. NYPA guarantees the efficiency of the equipment and says savings through their program are usually seen immediately, but it is not subject to a contract limiting future changes in usage. These distinctions are one of the important clarifications that the Task Force is helping to bring out.

A final discussion brought out what topics to cover at the next meeting to make sure it is as useful as possible. Topics included more on the various technologies, more examples of success stories, and more resolution of this question regarding the relationship between LIPA and NYPA’s programs. Also, Neal asked if the group would like to separate out the discussion on fleets so that it gets a full meeting worth of attention since it is such an important part of the energy saving discussion, and most people agreed that is a good idea.
We’d like to have factsheets on different clean energy technologies available at each meeting. e.g. this meeting packet contained a factsheet on biodiesel. Next meeting may offer a factsheet on geothermal systems, etc.

Meeting Statistics
Who Attended? How many?

Thirty seven people attended the second Task Force meeting, with both counties and 8 (out of thirteen) Long Island towns being represented. Municipalities in attendance were: Nassau County, Suffolk County, Town of Babylon, Town of East Hampton, Town of Hempstead, Town of Huntington, Town of North Hempstead, Town of Oyster Bay, Town of Smithtown, and the Town of Southampton.

 

Neighborhood Network
7180 Republic Airport, East Farmingdale, NY 11735 Tel: (631) 963-5454
Advocates for Long Island's Environment