Healthy Environment, Strong Communities, Accountable Government

Clean Energy

Leadership Task Force
Local Action Against Global Climate Change

The Neighborhood Network has released "Leading the Way: Long Island's Local Governments Implementing Clean Energy Solutions," an overview of the programs that Long Island's towns and counties have put in place to use energy more efficiently and make greater use of clean, renewable energy. See what your town and county have done to save energy and money, and reduce their contribution to global climate destabilization; download a pdf copy of the report.

The most recent meeting of the Clean Energy Leadership Task Force was held at Molloy College Suffolk Center in Farmingdale, Friday, December 7, 2007.

Notes from the December 7th meeting:

The December Task Force meeting was attended by about 60, with both L.I. counties, and all towns except Southold and Shelter Island represented. The meeting featured a number of speakers:

Status of Clean Energy Initiatives -- Kevin Law, CEO, LIPA
Mr. Law broke down where LIPA has been and where he hopes to take it, noting that the price of fuel is out of his control. He broke down where money is spent within LIPA, and explained several cuts he intends to make to clean up any unnecessary expenditures. He will partner with non-profits where their mission is aligned but no more outright grants for unrelated causes. He got rid of a few staff and also hired several new staff so in total reduced staff by one person (went from 104 to 103). Hired a VP of Environmental affairs, Mike Deering. He hopes to make LIPA more transparent.

Questions asked were regarding a fuel surcharge even for people buying renewable power through Green Choices, if the Master Plan process would consider suggestions to simplify or rationalize tariff schedules and policies, and if biodiesel can be used in power plants or other LIPA operations.

Peak Oil: What it means for LI -- Isidore Doroski, Chairman of the Riverhead Town Energy Advisory Committee
Oil is a finite resource, so Mr. Doroski offered and explanation of the fact that oil has already passed peak production domestically in the 1970s, and globally is just about at or past peak right now, meaning that oil becomes more difficult to extract and refine, adding to its cost. He referenced Hubbert’s Peak and also featured a recent interview with economist Matthew Simmons. The 5 largest oil fields are in decline.

Smart Growth as a Strategy for Reducing Energy Demand -- Eric Alexander, Vision Long Island
One part of the solution to the peak oil situation is planning communities that don’t rely so heavily on oil to begin with. Part of that is not allowing for sprawl which demands the use of cars, creating walkable communities, compact design, infill, public transport, mixed use and proximity of schools-- all principles of smart growth which is advocated for by groups like Vision Long Island.

Municipal Spotlight -- Dennis Lynch, Brookhaven Town
Dennis Lynch pointed out many efforts of the town: Use of B5&20 in fleet of 400 vehicles, 1 Electric GEM car, 10 kw Wind turbine at town hall, Solar PV carport planned, Public Outreach through Green Gazette, Adoption of Energy Star Labeled Homes July 2006, Incorporation of Energy Star Products into Town purchasing policy June 2007, Mandatory summer energy conservation for Town departments (2007), First municipal CNG fueling station in Suffolk County and Shared Fueling Agreements with Brookhaven National Laboratory, LED interior lights at Town Hall (2007), replacement of Town Hall “chillers” planned. It helped that the Town Supervisor made this issue a top-down priority.

Announcements/Quick Updates:
-- Brad Tito, Update on Levittown project- Nassau County has chosen Levittown as an area of focus for intensive door-to-door engagement in energy conservation practices, home audits and public education.

-- Bruce Humenik, AEG , Uniform Solar Code - since municipal regulations for solar installations varies widely, LIPA is making efforts to produce a unified Municipal Solar Permit Template. They are currently comparing current LI town approaches with other jurisdictions around the U.S. and holding meetings to vet issues with stakeholders.

-- USGBC -  National Greenbuild conference took place last month in Chicago, see; a new LI representative has been trained to be the contact for LEED for Homes on Long Island: Vince Capogna, 516-742-7229.

-- Beth Fiteni, IPCC report- Beth gave a brief overview of the points made by a recent summary report from the International panel on Climate Change, about sea level rise, increased storms, melting glaciers etc. The report pointed out that it’s advisable to take action sooner than later, and that it is possible to achieve emissions reductions given currently existing technologies.

Previous meetings of the Clean Energy Leadership Task Force.

List of speakers and topics at all Task Force meetings.

Mission Statement of the Clean Energy Leadership Task Force

The mission of the Clean Energy Leadership Task Force is to assist Long Island municipalities in a collaborative effort (among local governments, state and federal programs, power authorities and utilities, and environmental leaders) with obtaining the practical information needed in order to transition to cleaner and/or more efficient energy technologies in both their buildings and vehicle fleets.

The Task Force will be a forum to inform municipalities of the incentive programs available to them for achieving this purpose. The Task Force will be action oriented, leading to action plans for the participating municipalities.

The Clean Energy Leadership Task Force was established to provide Long Island municipalities with information on less polluting energy technologies and also to clarify the financial incentive programs available for adopting them. Detailed explanations of clean energy incentives, and other programs available to municipalities, will be discussed at meetings of the Task Force. The goal is for local governments to lead by example and act as role models to the general public by demonstrating that technologies are available now to achieve energy efficiency goals, for both buildings and vehicles.

A primary focus of the Task Force is to encourage and assist municipalities in adopting Clean Energy Action Plans, which set out goals for energy efficiency projects and policies for the coming year.

In his Executive Order 111, Governor Pataki has set specific goals for New York state agencies to increase their energy efficiency in buildings and vehicle fleets by 2010. The Order also urged local municipalities to follow suit.

Why Clean Energy

The impetus for this effort is multi-pronged; moving away from fossil fuels and towards clean energy alternatives (such as geothermal systems, solar energy, fuel cells, efficient lighting, natural gas, biodiesel, and hybrid-electric vehicles) not only will save municipalities money on electric bills, but will improve our air quality & improve asthma rates, reduce our dependence on foreign oil sources, reduce the already high electricity demand on Long Island, and will reduce the effects of climate change, such as sea level rise, global warming, and a predicted increase in intense storms.

Why Municipalities Should Lead on Energy Issues

Local governments, through their leadership and decision-making powers directly influence and control many of the activities that produce the emissions that cause global warming and air pollution. Taking action to conserve and to embrace sustainable energy technology and then extensively publicizing these positive changes will also educate and inspire the general public to do the same at their homes and businesses.

Local governments own, operate, or influence:

  • local government facilities such as municipal buildings, street lighting, recreation facilities, wastewater treatment plants
  • building codes and permits that determine the energy efficiency of residential and commercial buildings
  • landfill sites and the production of methane emissions
  • waste management including recycling, compost or waste reduction programs
  • land use planning and development that determine the density, mixture and physical layout of buildings, neighborhoods and communities
  • transportation infrastructure that determines the transportation choices of residents and businesses, affecting the level and type of transportation energy consumed and the number and length of vehicle trips
  • public works infrastructure such as water supply, sewage, and other public works

What are the Benefits to Municipalities?

Being part of the Clean Energy Leadership Task Force has such benefits as:

  • significant financial savings through energy and fuel efficiency, which can then potentially be passed along to town residents. Residents will appreciate the tax savings but also will be able to apply the same logic to saving money on their own energy bills.
  • local economic development and job creation through the demand for energy efficiency and new energy systems
  • reduced risk of future costs associated with climate-related damage
  • air pollution reduction
  • traffic congestion improvements through smart growth policies
  • community quality of life improvements and positive public relations

How Does the Task Force Meeting Structure Work?

The Clean Energy Leadership Task Force is open to all Long Island towns and the two counties. Each municipality is urged to have at least two representatives. A small group of environmental leaders have been invited by the Neighborhood Network, to bring special expertise to the process.

Meetings are held three times a year. Meeting locations will be rotated.

Presentations regarding the funding sources available for municipalities to implement clean energy technologies shall be a key part of the agenda for each meeting--with ample opportunity for municipal officials to ask questions, and to share information regarding relevant experiences. The Task Force may on occasion make recommendations on energy issues that would help make the incentive programs more effective.

Between full group meetings, efforts will be made to move the program forward by identifying additional information needed and difficulties in implementation. Environmental leaders participating in the Task Force will work to generate support for town board or legislative meetings when the procurement of clean energy technology is under consideration, if such efforts are deemed appropriate and helpful.

The Task Force will generally operate by consensus, but if a vote is needed, then a majority will carry. Each municipality will have one vote regardless of the number of participants.

A public information component will focus on generating public awareness of clean energy projects that the participating municipalities are initiating.

Notes from Previous Task Force Meetings

The October 5th meeting was held at the Molloy College Suffolk Center.

Todd Stebbins explained anexecutive order to ban use of incandescent light bulbs in Suffolk buildings.

Suffolk Legislator Wayne Horsely noted using 4 CFLS saves 5000 lbs of carbon. He hopes to phase out use countywide by 20102 with his bill. He noted that people don’t like the word “ban." It gets a negative reaction.

Assemblyman Sweeney agreed, setting a standard for better bulbs is better approach than ban, and is taking that approach at the state level.

Bottled water:
Water bottles are an energy and solid waste issue.
SCWA tested 1000 bottles- 1/3 were contaminated. They are looking for a better alternative for their own bottled water. Also did a test with moth balls- smell migrated through plastic after just a short time.

Solar thermal:
Ron Kamen- using solar energy to preheat water for hot water and space heating; very popular in Canada & Europe, just hasn’t caught on here yet. A set-up can cost $8,000, less than solar PV, and can be 90% efficient--more efficient than solar PV.

Clean Cities -- event and call for projects Oct. 24th
Energy Star: we now have about 50 HERS raters, up from 13 last year. Lots of interest in market. Has been a fairly smooth transition with Towns adopting code.
Solar Tour Oct. 6th- Gordian explained solar tour and that also offering 7 sites with home performance tests with blower door this year.

Implementation Report:
Revealed that LI municipalities are doing a lot, some more than others. We will make it public so please send in corrections.

Nassau Update:

  • CELTF pushes us to be better.
  • Nassau joined ICLEI and used their carbon footprint software- very helpful in quantifying greenhouse gases.
  • They are saving $800,000/yr from their energy saving investment- upgraded 7 buildings.
  • Saving 4,360 tons of CO2 per year.
  • Efficiency is the cheapest way to save.
  • They purchase 10,000,000 kwh of wind
  • Sewage treatment plant uses digester gas- this save s a lot, making hem rank 6th in country for use of greenpower
  • Established first ethanol station
  • Tax benefit for people who use mass transit
  • NY Metropolitan Air Quality Initiative- focuses on clean diesel retrofit program
  • Joined Cool Counties- 80% emission reduction by 2050
  • Looking at adaptation to climate change
  • Overall- county buildigs contribute 1.2% of overall energy use in county-- residential fuel oil and gasoline are largest areas of energy use- kitchen appliances use the most energy in house.
  • Plan to target a town/location and focus educational efforts there as a pilot, door to door

Smallscale wind:
Not commercially available yet but Babylon will beta test a few turbines.

The Friday, December 8, 2006 meeting was held at Sweet Hollow Hall in Suffolk County's West Hills Park.

The meeting was hosted by Suffolk County and Carrie Meek Gallagher, the new Commissioner of Suffolk County's Deptartment of Environment & Energy Affairs and Todd Stebbins, Assistant County Executive welcomed the participants.

• Suffolk Clean Energy Action Plan Update
Javed Ashraf, P.E., C.E.M., Energy Engineer with the Suffolk DPW gave an overview of the many building efficiency upgrade projects that Suffolk County has initiated. He estimated that the County was saving in excess of $1 million and perhaps as much as $1.5 million annually through reduced energy costs as a result of these projects.

• Update on Building Programs
Gary Krieger and Dan Zaweski of LIPA updated the group on LIPA's RECAP program, which is providing planning and engineering services from Energy Service Companies (ESCOs) to businesses and municipalities to reduce electric consumption. Terry Divine of Custom Energy and Paul Rode of Johnson Controls, two the the ESCOs participating in the program gave presentations on their services.

Skip Hodge of NYPA review that agencies program for building energy upgrades for schools and state and municipal-owned buildings.

New Biodiesel Plant in Bohemia
David Butler, CEO, American Biofuels spoke about that company's new biodiesel plant, which produces clean burning fuel from waste grease. He also discussed the potential for biodiesel in general.

• Alternative Fuel Vehicles
We heard from Andria Adler, Greater Long Island Clean Cities who reported on the ATC conference and funding source for alternative fuel fleets.

The Friday, August 11, 2006 meeting of the Clean Energy Leadership Task Force was held at Brookhaven Town Hall. Attendees included representatives from both counties and 10 out of the 13 Townships on Long Island (56 people total).

Energy Star Homes
The meeting featured a panel discussion on a proposal to require new homes to meet Energy Star Labeled Homes standards. The Towns of Brookhaven and Babylon have subsequently passed resolutions enacting this policy. We encourage each Town on Long Island to consider passing similar legislation.

L.E.D. Holiday Lights
We are encouraging municipalities that put up holiday lights to commit to the use of light emitting diode (L.E.D.) lighting for future holiday displays, beginning this year, and to include information on the benefits of L.E.D. lights in information sent to constituents between now and the end of the year. L.E.D. lighting is highly energy efficient, and is capable of saving 90% on energy compared to conventional lights, thus saving money in the long run.

• Solar Powered Trash Receptacles
A third topic was solar powered trash cans which use solar power to compact garbage so more garbage can be disposed of between pick-ups, thereby requiring fewer trips by municipal employees. Such receptacles are now in use in the Towns of Riverhead and East Hampton, and in other areas such as Boston and Queens.

• Alternative Fuel Vehicles
We heard from Andria Adler, Greater Long Island Clean Cities who explained about federal funding available for alternative fuel vehicles.

• U.S. Mayors Climate Agreement
The Long Island Sierra Club which has a Cool Cities campaign urging each Township to sign onto the U.S, Mayors Climate Agreement, which now has over 200 sign-ons. The Mayors Agreement urges the municipality to achieve the “Kyoto” reductions in greenhouse gas emissions of 7% below 1990 levels.

The Friday, March 24, 2006 meeting of the Clean Energy Leadership Task Force took place at the Neighborhod Network offices in Farmingdale, NY.

Congressman Steve Israel addressed the group about federal energy policy legislation that he is putting forward, his work on clean energy issues, and his vision for Long Island to play a leadership role. The Task Force also discussed federal tax incentives that have "pass-through" provisions that apply to municipalities, an Energy Star Homes policy for towns, and municipal greenhouse gas targets.

The Friday, October 14th meeting of the Clean Energy Leadership Task Force was held at the Huntington Townhouse, 124 East Jericho Turnpike in Huntington. Thank you to Huntington Supervisor Frank Petrone for hosting the meeting, and to Nassau County Executive Tom Suozzi for delivering the keynote address. At the October 14th meeting, Nassau County Executive Tom Souzzi gave the keynote speech, in which he announced Nassau's Clean Energy Action Plan. Supervisor Souzzi stated in his address that the environmental, economic and national security issues surrounding energy use make it "the biggest problem we face in the world today." He told the group that he was "shocked that there isn't a greater sense of urgency" surrounding the issue. Mr Suozzi suggested that the economic self-interest of avoiding increasing energy costs should be harnessed to drive the "noble goals" of protecting the earth and reducing Americas dependence on foreign oil.

The Town of Huntington hosted the meeting. Huntington Supervisor Frank Petrone announced Huntington's Clean Energy Action Plan.

Sharon Laudisi of LIPA made a presentation on Energy Star® Homes and updated the Task Force on LIPA's 75 mW reduction program.

Presentation on Distributed Energy Generation

John Rathbun KeySpan Energy
Bill Cristofaro Energy Concepts
Andy Garsils & Mark Dougherty, LIPA
Peter Giasemis Capstone Turbine Corp.
Herby Healy, United Technologies Corp. (UTC)
Scott Herland Ingersol Rand
Leo Cagliostro, All Systems Cogeneration
Mike Wilson, Energy Solutions

Brad North of Constellation Energy briefed the group on the Suffolk County Police Headquarters energy efficiency project.

The Friday, July 15, 2005 meeting of the Clean Energy Leadership Task Force was held at the offices of the Neighborhood Network in East Farmingdale.

At that meeting, Mark Dougherty of LIPA updated the group about the increased LIPA rebate for municipalities that install solar PV systems. Gordian Raacke, Executive Director of Renewable Energy Long Island (RELI), addressed the meeting about the proposed Long Island Offshore Wind Farm. There was a presentation by Jim Leitner of the New York Power Authority (NYPA), on the use of LED lights by municipalities for traffic lights, exit signs, runway lights, aviation hazard lights, etc. Architect Peter Caradonna from the US Green Building Council made a presentation to the Task Force on components of green building design and LEED (Leadership in Energy & Environmental Design) standards.

At the Friday, March 4, 2005 meeting of the CELTF Suffolk County Executive Steve Levy announced Suffolk's Clean Energy Action Plan for 2005.

The Friday, October 1, 2004 meeting of the Clean Energy Leadership Task Force was held at the Babylon Town Hall Annex on Phelps Lane in North Babylon.

At this meeting the Task Force:

  • Continued the discussion of Clean Energy Action Plans, and also local solar codes
  • Heard from representatives of Honeywell, Johnson Controls, and Custom Energy about LIPAs new 75mw Reduction Program, and
  • Heard from representatives of Community Energy and Sterling Planet about LIPA's green choices program. (Envirogen not available).
Town of Oyster Bay Supervisor John Venditto (standing center) began the meeting with an enthusiastic welcome and congratulated the group for their efforts to improve Long Island's environment. (Standing left: Oyster Bay Town Clerk, Steven Labriola. Standing right: Neal Lewis, Neighborhood Network.)

The second meeting was held on June 25th, 2004. It was hosted by the Town of Oyster Bay. The Task Force continued the discussion of financial incentives available to municipalities for energy efficiency projects in buildings and fleet improvements, and also discussed some specific suggestions as to how municipalities can implement the appropriate process and actions within their own specific town/county structure.

Speakers/representatives from New York Power Authority, LIPA, and Clean Cities were present to answer any questions about how municipalities can participate in their programs.

Click here for more detailed notes on the meeting.

Sharon Laudisi, LIPA Clean Energy Initiative Program Manager addresses first meeting of the Clean Energy Leadership Task Force. (Seated Dennis Lynch, Town of Brookhaven and Gordian Raacke, RELI, standing Alex Nyilas, LIPA and Neal Lewis, Neighborhood Network.)

The first meeting of the Clean Energy Leadership Task Force took place on Friday March 5, 2004 and got the project off to great start. Forty-eight people attended the first Task Force meeting, with both counties and ten (out of thirteen) Long Island towns being represented. They heard from presenters from NYPA, LIPA, and Clean Cities (see agenda below) who explained their respective financial incentive & technical assistance programs.

Who Participates?

The Task Force is made up primarily of Long Island municipalities, along with energy authorities and environmental organizations.

Both counties and all thirteen Long Island towns have participated in meetings of the Clean Energy Leadership Task Force.

Energy Authorities Participating Include:

  • New York Power Authority (NYPA)
  • Long Island Power Authority (LIPA)
  • Greater Long Island Clean Cities

Environmental/Community Organizations:

  • Neighborhood Network (Project Organizers)
  • Renewable Energy Long Island (RELI)
  • Vision Long Island

Each Long Island municipality is being asked to pass a resolution to designate two people to become active members of the Clean Energy Leadership Task Force. One Task Force designee shall be either an elected official or a commissioner-level official of the municipality. The second Task Force designee should be a municipal employee who either works directly with the supervisor's office, Town Board's office, or with a department that is directly involved in carrying out the clean energy challenge (such as Department of Public Works, building maintenance, etc.).

Additional Task Force members will include environmental groups active in promoting clean energy initiatives including the Neighborhood Network, Citizens Advisory Panel (CAP), and the Long Island Chapter of the Green Buildings Council. LIPA, NYPA, NYSERDA, and other energy authorities are also invited to be an active participant in the task force and to provide detailed presentations on specific energy efficiency programs.




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