PSEG-Long Island has kicked off two weeks of public hearings on their proposed Utility 2.0 plan, part of Governor Cuomo’s promise to reorganize LIPA as a 21st century utility. The hearings are scheduled for Smithtown (8/19), Mineola (8/20), Rockaways (8/21), East Hampton (8/26) and Riverhead (8/26).
At the same time, the state is going through a similar process called Reforming the Energy Vision (REV). The initial REV proposal is set to be released on August 22. While REV is expected to take years, the first phase of Utility 2.0 will begin next year. This means that Long Island can serve as a leader and model for the statewide overhaul.
“We have an opportunity to lead the state in building a 21st century utility powered by clean, renewable energy,” said Matt Kearns who earlier in the summer ran the Wind 100, a nearly 100 mile run from Montauk to Long Beach, the two points on Long Island with proposed offshore wind projects.
The recently released Utility 2.0 proposal proposes investments in energy efficiency and solar power as well as steps to cut unnecessary electricity use at peak times. But Climate Change activists are concerned that the plan falls short on what many had hoped would be a strong vision for building large-scale renewable energy, particularly offshore wind that could help meet peak demand by generating power when it’s needed most.
“Governor Cuomo promised us a modern utility, but we can’t have a modern utility run on last century’s dirty energy sources. PSEG-LI’s commitment to invest in energy efficiency and solar is a great start, but Long Islanders are demanding a plan that includes building large-scale renewable energy, including offshore wind,” said Kearns.
Recently, PSEG-LI re-committed to plans already in place by LIPA to invest in 280 megawatts of new renewable energy generation, enough to power 150,000 Long Island homes. That decision, which could spur development of New York’s first offshore wind farm, is expected at the December LIPA Board meeting.
But this is only a drop in the bucket compared to what off-shore wind could supply for Long Island energy needs.
Many are expected to speak at the hearings in favor of adding more renewable energy, especially offshore wind power, in addition to hundreds of similar comments already collected since the plan was presented publicly on July 24.
They are impatient for a proposal to develop off-shore wind 12 miles south of Long Island, in the Atlantic Ocean, which offers some of the best conditions in the world to generate wind power to a large population base (see story).
“We’re looking for leadership from Governor Cuomo, and Utility 2.0 is his first test. We hope he delivers on his promise with both a more efficient utility and a bold commitment to offshore wind power,” said Kearns.
WHEN: Tuesday, August 19th 1PM & 6:30PM
WHERE: William H. Rogers Legislative Building
725 Veterans Memorial Highway, Smithtown NY 11787 [map]
WHEN: Wednesday, August 20th 1PM & 6:30PM
WHERE: Theodore Roosevelt Executive and Legislative Building
1550 Franklin Avenue, Mineola, NY 11501 [map]
WHEN: Thursday, August 21st 6:30PM
WHERE: Knights of Columbus Hall
333 Beach 90th St, Rockaway Beach NY 11693 [map]
WHEN: Tuesday, August 26th 10:30AM
WHERE: Riverhead Legislative Auditorium
Evans K Griffing Building, Maxine Postal Legislative Auditorium
300 Center Drive, Riverhead 11901 [map]
Meanwhile, if you can't attend any of the public hearings, you can still present your comments, by August 29 through the sierraclub.org site.
More Opportunities to Get Active on Climate Change
Meanwhile, more people are getting active on Climate Change and the quest for clean, renewable energy. Here on Long Island there are a couple of new groups.
And some 650 organizations are working together on the biggest Peoples March for Climate action in history: some 200,000 are expected to converge on New York City on September 21 at the United Nations which is convening a Climate Conference.
Activist George Povall, for example, has created a renewable energy and environmental advocacy not-for-profit, "All Our Energy," (AllOurEnergy.com), which has just introduced an "Interconnected" series of monthly events at the Long Beach Public Library (111 W Park Ave, Long Beach, NY 11561).
"The concept of our monthly "Interconnected" series is as a forum on environmental / renewable energy / sustainability / policy and related issues and ways the public can get involved in them. Each month will feature a different group or organization that is interconnected with those issues. It is all interconnected, and we are all interconnected. It is time to put the who with the what and the why.
The events will feature presentations of approximately 1 hour with interactive audience participation and then socializing afterward. I hope to have a small 5-10 minute presentation from a group with a timely issue or event to publicize, then the main presentation at events in the future. The first is scheduled August 20, with The Sierra Club. (See allourenergy.com/interconnected201408.html for more).
Another new group, Citizens Climate Lobby Queens/Nassau is a new chapter of Citizens Climate Lobby (citizensclimatelobby.org). The group has met in Bayside and will meet Sept. 9 at Panera in Bellmore (6:30 pm). "The mission of CCL is to create the political will for a stable climate," says Lynn Meyer. "We work through outreach to the public and lobbying our members of Congress. We have a specific, market-based proposal for a carbon fee and dividend program which has been shown to boost the economy as well as drastically reducing greenhouse gas emissions." (Register for 1-hour informational conference call on Wednesdays, 8 pm; call 866-642-1665, passcode 440699#).
Both groups will be among the 650 organizations including the Natural Resources Defense Council and StopGlobalWarming.org, who are working together to make the Peoples March for Climate action, the biggest single march on climate change in world history; some 200,000 are expected to converge on New York City on September 21. The march is scheduled to take place two days before the United Nations convenes the Climate Summit, when the world's leaders will gather to discuss the dire urgency of the climate crisis and seek to build momentum towards an international climate treaty. (See peoplesclimate.org for information.)
Karen Rubin, Long Island Populist Examiner
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