CASE 07-M-0548 - Proceeding on Motion of the Commission Regarding an Energy Efficiency Portfolio Standard.

(Issued May 30, 2008)

On May 21, 2008, the Commission discussed the status of this proceeding and expressed an interest in considering the issuance of an Order in June, 2008 that would, among other things, initiate a process for the submittal, review and approval of proposed energy efficiency programs to be administered by electric utilities.

One integral issue is that of performance-related incentives. Whether, and to what extent, financial incentives based on the extent to which performance exceeds or falls short of targets should be established prior to the submittal of proposals by utilities. Although the question of utility incentives has been discussed in this proceeding, the parties have not submitted comprehensive briefs on this topic. The Commission seeks comment from the parties in this proceeding regarding a number of concerns related to utility incentives. In order to provide timely guidance to utilities in the preparation of proposals, the Commission intends to adopt policies related to performance incentives substantially in advance of due dates for utility proposals.

To facilitate consideration of this issue, the Department’s Advisory Staff has prepared a set of Guidelines and an incentive model that implements the Guidelines. Parties are encouraged to comment on the Guidelines, on the Advisory Staff model, and on two other models: (1) the Trial Staff proposal described on pages 18-21 of Staff’s Revised Proposal filed November 27, 2007 and pages 30-31 of Staff’s Initial Brief filed April 10, 2008 in this proceeding; and (2) the Shareholder Risk/Reward Incentive Mechanism adopted by the Public Utilities Commission of California, Decision 07-09-043, September 20, 20071. The documents for the two other models can be found at the Internet link: under the title "May 28, 2008 - Other Incentive Models." Parties are encouraged to comment on: a) whether incentives are necessary; b) the reasonableness of the Guidelines, and any recommended modifications; c) any other specific issues not encompassed within the Guidelines; (d) the strengths and weaknesses of the three incentive models identified above, and any recommended modifications; and (e) the range of incentive levels that will accomplish the objectives identified in the guidelines.

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Rochester Gas and Electric faces a negotiating deadline with its 300-member union, Local 36 of the International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers.

The parties’ contract expires today and serves as deadline to end their collective bargaining talks.

But no agreement has been reached, and workers are flooding union headquarters with calls. The local advised workers to go to work and accept all assignments through a phone message.

Rick Irish, president of Local 36, declined to comment.

RG&E also declined to comment, instead releasing a written statement to the Democrat and Chronicle.

“Through the negotiation process, we expect the parties to reach a mutually acceptable collective bargaining agreement,” RG&E spokesman Bob Bergin said.

“Throughout this process, RG&E will continue to deliver safe and reliable electric and gas service to our customers,” he said.

Jim Bertolone, president of the AFL-CIO’s Rochester and Genesee Valley Labor Federation, said he has not heard from Local 36 since discussing the talks with
them almost two weeks ago.

The union was RG&E’s first, formed in April 2003 by about 300 electrical and gas workers.

RG&E is owned by Energy East Corp. of Maine.

Joseph Bivone always wanted to own a bulldozer. Now he has his chance.

He is one of hundreds of area landowners who walked away happy from the Binghamton Regency on Thursday after signing leases giving XTO Energy Inc., of Fort Worth, Texas, the mineral rights to their land.

The signings will continue today as notaries and clerks review contracts, deeds and other paperwork, and issue vouchers for lump-sum payments that come due within 90 days. That adds up to about $90 million split among 300 property owners. They are being paid $2,400 an acre, plus 15 percent royalties.

For Bivone, a New Jersey native who retired on 126 acres in the Town of Sanford, that means a $304,000 lump-sum windfall, minus a big chunk of taxes. He could receive more if gas is recovered from under his property.

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Pennsylvania environmental officials have ordered a partial shutdown of natural gas drilling operations by two companies in the state’s northcentral region.

Robert Yowell of the Department of Environmental Protection says the two companies haven’t taken the necessary precautions to protect nearby streams from pollution as they drill for gas in Lycoming County.

The streams are located near impoundment areas operated by Range Resources-Appalachia and Chief Oil and Gas. Officials say the impoundments draw tens of thousands of gallons of water per day from the waterways.

The companies are conducting exploratory drilling in a gas reservoir known as the Marcellus Shale.

Wastewater treatment plants are net users of energy. In the U.S. they consume an estimated 21 billion kilowatt hours per year. There are important reasons for this energy use, as society demands increasingly intensive treatment to remove nutrients and chemicals from wastewater before it is discharged back into water bodies or is reused. But energy use is coming under increasing scrutiny, with the financial cost of energy and the environment cost of energy generation driving new interest in the conversion of sewage sludge to energy.

Researchers are exploring sustainable wastewater treatment with a reduced carbon footprint. The view of municipal sewage has shifted, from a waste to be treated and disposed of, to a resource that can be processed for recovery of energy, nutrients, and other constituents.

Research has demonstrated that sewage actually contains 10 times the energy needed to treat it, and it is technically feasible to recover energy from sludge. As renewable energy, it can be directly used for wastewater treatment, reducing the facility’s dependency on conventional electricity. The greater the quantity of energy produced by the industry, the more the industry can help reduce emissions of greenhouse gases.

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from Industrial Development Agency subsidies…



comprehensive IDA reform must get done
before they come home this summer!

(212) 631-0886

Energy Policy And The Electric Car

It's all well and good to spend millions on research that might pay dividends in 20 or 30 years but, the problem is now. Americans lead the world in automobile ownership. Over 25 percent of families, or 21 million, own at least two and sometimes up to five cars. Usually, that second or third car is primarily used to travel to and from work. Occasionally they are used for shopping but, according to research statistics, travel only an average of 30 miles a day. A very good application for the electric car.

A few years ago we were on the right track. The first "purpose built" electric car was produced by General Motors and available in California and Arizona. While never offered for sale it was offered to consumers as lease-only with service performed at designated Saturn dealers.

Between 1996 and 1999, GM produced 1,117 zero emission cars and leased them all. Improvements in battery design also occurred during that period increasing distance covered before recharge became necessary. The first units traveled 55 to 75 miles and improved to 75 to 100, all with lead-acid batteries. A third battery type (nickel-metal hydride) extended mileage but required 8 hours to recharge although 80 percent was achieved in two to three hours.

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The top U.S. futures market regulator on Thursday said it will step up surveillance of energy trading by tracking index funds and reaching across the Atlantic to grab more information on oil contracts based on American crude that are traded in the United Kingdom.

The Commodity Futures Trading Commission also revealed it has been investigating the crude oil market for half a year. U.S. lawmakers have hammered the agency for months to improve monitoring and to crack down on speculators whom they blame for pushing up energy prices to record levels.

The CFTC said it reached an agreement with the United Kingdom's Financial Services Authority and ICE Futures Europe to share more information on energy contracts, including the West Texas Intermediate crude oil futures contracts that trade in both New York and London.

"Today, the commission is taking important steps to ensure that the U.S. energy futures markets function properly and operate free from manipulation and abuse," the CFTC's chairman and three other commissioners said in a joint statement.

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Be efficient. Economise. Do your part. That was the advice yesterday from Rex Tillerson, chairman and chief executive of the world's largest oil company, to consumers who are buckling under the strain of high fuel prices.

The boss of ExxonMobil said sky-high oil prices would only start to come down when demand eased but he warned that the world would be reliant on fossil fuels for generations to come, "whether people like it or not". And Exxon itself would remain a petrochemical company, he insisted, after beating back dissident investors' proposals which demanded that Exxon plough money into alternative energy, including wind and solar power.

Mr Tillerson's victory came despite an intense public campaign by the descendants of John D Rockefeller, the legendary oil magnate whose 19th-century monopoly, Standard Oil, ultimately spawned ExxonMobil. The Rockefeller family took their battle to the floor of ExxonMobil's annual shareholder meeting in Dallas yesterday, saying that the company faced becoming obsolete if it did not face up to the realities of climate change. Michael Crosby, a dissident shareholder supporting the Rockefellers, predicted that "ExxonMobilsaurus Rex will disappear" if it does not change course.

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Recently we discussed how It's the efficiency, stupid!- how 56% of the energy created is wasted. Electratherm goes after low-grade heat that is usually wasted with its Green Machine- making electricity from water that is only 200 Degrees F. (96 C) at a cost of under 4 cents a kilowatt-hour. (3 cents per horsepower-hour for those who don't use the metric system).

It is based on the organic Rankine cycle, where a high molecular mass organic fluid (in this case an EPA/Kyoto approved chemical) is vaporized, runs a turbine and then condensed in a closed loop, creating no emissions. How much waste heat is there that could run these things? Probably thousands of industrial and commercial sites. Hook them up to warm water coming from geothermal sites across America and you have both power and heat. Perhaps a bank of solar hot water heaters.

The smallest unit at 30 kW costs $ 81,500, but produces $25,500 of electricity per year at 10 cents per kWh, so it pays for itself pretty fast. This is the kind of thing we talk about when we say go for efficiency and go for the low-hanging fruit- we are just throwing energy away when we could be making it into electricity for next to nothing.

The U.S. Senate is expected to begin deliberations on America's Climate Security Act of 2007 (S. 2191) as early as the first week of June 2008. The bill is sponsored by Senators Joe Lieberman, the Independent from Connecticut, and John Warner, Republican of Virginia.

S. 2191 directs the Administrator of the Environmental Protection Agency to establish a program to decrease emissions of greenhouse gases, with the goal of lowering emissions 63 percent below 2005 levels by the year 2050. These reductions would be achieved through a system that would require companies to cap their emissions and then have them trade emissions rights with each other.

The emissions cuts called for in the Lieberman-Warner bill are so draconian that, as reported in Investor's Business Daily, "The Environmental Protection Agency reckons it would cost as much as $3 trillion a year in lost GDP. In an economy of roughly $14 trillion, that's a significant loss."

(Click to send letter to your U.S. Senator)

On May 28, the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) announced details on the Bright Tomorrow Lighting Prize competition. The L Prize™ is the first government-sponsored technology competition designed to spur lighting manufacturers to develop high quality, high efficiency solid-state lighting products to replace the common light bulb. The competition will award cash prizes, and may also lead to opportunities for federal purchasing agreements, utility programs, and other incentives for winning products. The L Prize will continue DOE’s lighting research and development efforts by aiming to radically accelerate America’s shift from inefficient, dated lighting products to innovative, high-performance products.

The Energy Independence and Security Act (EISA) of 2007 authorizes DOE to establish the Bright Tomorrow Lighting Prize competition. The legislation challenges industry to develop replacement technologies for today’s most widely used and inefficient products, 60W incandescent lamps and PAR 38 halogen lamps. Today’s L Prize program announcement specifies technical requirements for these two competition categories. A future L Prize program announcement will call for development of a new “21st Century Lamp,” as authorized in the legislation.

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ACCF/NAM Study of the Economic Impact of the Lieberman-Warner Climate Security Act

New York Economic Impact on the State from the Lieberman-Warner Proposed Legislation to Reduce Greenhouse Gas Emissions (PDF Report with graphs and references)

Understanding the economic impacts of the Lieberman- Warner Climate Security Act1 (L/W bill) can help guide choices on climate change policy.2 In this study, the L/W bill was analyzed under low and high cost cases with respect to a baseline that projects the future in the absence of the bill.

The L/W bill would enforce a nationwide cap and trade program for the emissions of greenhouse gases (GHGs) and would reduce GHG emissions covered by the bill to 4,992 Million Metric Tons of CO2 (MMTCO2) by 2020 and 3,856 MMTCO2 by 2030. L/W sets targets that would reduce GHG emissions to 15% below 2005 levels by 2020; 30% below 2005 levels by 2030; and 70% below 2005 levels by 2050. Covered emissions are assumed to include everything from combustion of fossil fuels in the United States, plus non-CO2 GHG emissions included in the L/W cap. The price of carbon permits (what companies must pay to emit CO2) could reach between $55 and $64 per metric ton of CO2 (MT) by 2020 and could increase to between $227/MT and $271/MT by 2030.3

Impact on Jobs Under L/W, New York would lose 65,728 to 98,873 jobs in 2020 and 156,404 to 208,197 jobs in 2030. The primary cause of job losses would be lower industrial output due to higher energy prices, the high cost of complying with required emissions cuts, and greater competition from overseas manufacturers with lower energy costs.

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Rolling Blackouts in the Southern Tier

The organization responsible for running the state's entire power grid says they may be cutting power to utility companies like NYSEG for short time periods. They say the outages will keep the state power grid from overloading from A.C. demand.

On top of that, a major NYSEG transformer in the Elmira area is broken and cannot be fixed until next year.

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Representative Edward J. Markey, the chairman of the special House committee on global warming, today unveiled sweeping legislation to cut greenhouse gas emissions and raise billions of dollars to create alternative sources of energy.

The bill - the culmination of more than 40 hearings by Markey's committee - marks the starting point for a new legislative battle against global warming, a centerpiece of congressional Democrats' agenda for the immediate future.

Markey, a Malden Democrat, described the legislation, which would take effect in 2012, as the most aggressive plan yet for arresting global climate change, mandating an 85 percent cut in greenhouse gases over the next four decades. Markey expects to file his bill next week when Congress returns from its Memorial Day break, according to the Associated Press.

The most controversial part of the plan would be the so-called cap-and-trade plan under which major polluters would have to purchase licenses through a government auction to cover the amount of carbon dioxide they produce.

Under the system, the government would cap the total level of pollution allowed each year and sell licenses allowing companies to release carbons into the atmosphere only up to that level. The cost of the licenses would vary depending on the market - with prices dropping as the country comes closer to meeting its goals for eliminating carbons.

The proceeds from these auctions - estimated to be as much as $8 trillion between 2012 and 2050 - would be "recycled" to pay for the development of new low-carbon technologies and to help offset the painful increases in energy prices for American consumers.

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WASHINGTON (Dow Jones)--For unscrupulous stock promoters, the ascent of clean and renewable forms of energy opens a window for investment scams.

U.S. securities regulators are beginning to look at companies engaged in renewable energy, which involves generating electricity or producing fuels from sources such as the sun, the wind or switchgrass. As record-high prices for fossil fuels such as crude oil force the U.S. to rethink its reliance on traditional energy, alternative sources are getting promoted as a solution - with possible risks for investors.

"The fraudsters follow the headlines, so they would be greatly remiss if they didn't package their frauds to follow the interest in renewable energy," said Denise Voigt Crawford, the Texas securities commissioner. "I am certain that, unfortunately, we're going to see new frauds that focus on these types of energy pitches."

Crawford said that her office already has some investigations under way.

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CHARLESTON, W.Va. - Unsuspecting property owners around the country are getting trampled in an old-fashioned land rush by natural gas companies and speculators trying to lock up long-ignored drilling rights quickly and cheaply.

Stories of fast-talking industry representatives using scare tactics to strong-arm people into signing lowball leases are popping up in rural areas and suburbs from New York to West Virginia to parts of Indiana and Texas. All sit atop largely untapped natural gas deposits made suddenly viable — and valuable — by soaring prices and improved drilling techniques.

"That original speech that guy makes to the rural property owners, it hasn't changed much in 100 years," Rodgers said. And like Castle, Rodgers said landmen often warned that homeowners risked getting nothing if they didn't sign. "These landmen do lie. They do exaggerate."

Gas companies such as Chesapeake Energy Corp. make no bones about their desire to lock up leasing rights. The Oklahoma City-based natural gas giant calls its aggressive lease acquisition program the "land grab" in its latest annual report to the Securities and Exchange Commission.

(Click to read entire report)

The twin elements of a bubble are euphoria and roguery, with the proportions varying from case to case. The coming green bubble, which is already attracting large amounts of venture capital and government money, displays both.

In the purely financial world, the business opportunity is in carbon trading, of which there are two forms. The first is the batch of global mechanisms set up under the Kyoto agreement and administered by the U.N., of which the Clean Development Mechanism (CDM) is the most important. If a country with a Kyoto target finds it too difficult or costly to reduce its CO2 emissions, it can instead buy "certified emission reductions" from developing countries (which have no such targets). "Certified" means the U.N. has to be satisfied that the reduction would not have occurred anyway and that it has not been offset by increased emissions elsewhere (if, say, it has been achieved by a factory closing down). But the system is impossible to police, and media investigations have revealed that many CDM projects are distinctly dubious.

The other form of notable innovation in this area is the E.U.'s own Emission Trading Scheme, which so far has proved a costly (and corrupt) farce by according emitters too much say over the size of emissions permits.

In the wider business world the burgeoning opportunity is seen as investment in renewable energy, for which massive government subsidies are available. The front runners tend to be biofuels for transport and wind power for electricity generation. The E.U. is still committed to increasing the use of biofuels, but it has belatedly been recognized that large-scale production of crops for fuel rather than for food is a major cause of the surge in food prices that is causing severe hardship in much of the developing world. Moreover, approximately as much carbon-based energy is used in the production of most biofuels as is saved by their use.

Wind power is little better. Hopelessly uneconomic on any substantial scale, since it requires a conventional power back-up for when the wind stops blowing, forests of wind turbines are rightly regarded in most countries as an environmental monstrosity.

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WHITE PLAINS — The New York Power Authority will hold a public hearing in Syracuse on Wednesday, June 4, at 10:30 a.m. on proposed contract extensions for sale of hydropower from the Authority’s Niagara and St. Lawrence-Franklin D. Roosevelt Power Projects to National Grid, New York State Electric and Gas, and Rochester Gas and Electric for their residential customers.

The NYPA Trustees previously authorized the hearing, which will be held at Syracuse City Hall, 233 East Washington St., in the Common Council Chamber.

The current contracts with the three upstate utilities expire June 30. The extensions would continue the sale of 455 megawatts (mw) of firm power and 360 mw of firm peaking power through 2009. Firm power is defined as power available at all times, while firm peaking power is generation to satisfy demand for electricity during hours of greatest usage.

As with the existing contracts, the 18-month extensions would be subject to early termination by the Power Authority on 30 days’ written notice.

The proposed agreements and a public hearing notice are viewable on NYPA’s website at by clicking onto the link “Public Hearing on June 4.”

DRYDEN — NYSEG will hold a public information session on the status of its Ithaca Transmission Project from 7 to 9 p.m. Thursday, May 29 at the Neptune Hose Company on Route 13 in Dryden.

The project is designed to lessen NYSEG's dependency on the AES Cayuga coal-fired generating plant in the Town of Lansing on high electricity-demand days.

“This project will reinforce our Ithaca-area electricity delivery system and will eliminate the existing dependence on local generation to ensure reliable service,” said Keith Lorenzetti, NYSEG's director-regional operations, in a press release.

Through early summer, URS Corporation, a NYSEG contractor, is gathering information to develop construction plans for the project. URS' work on NYSEG rights of way includes engineering and environmental studies by specialists in engineering, forestry, agriculture, land use, wildlife biology and archeology. These specialists will determine the location of transmission structures and work areas, and recommend ways to minimize environmental impacts during construction. After these studies are complete, NYSEG will prepare an Environmental Management and Construction Plan that will be submitted to the PSC by July 15.

The Ithaca Transmission Project includes the construction of a 345-kilovolt to 115-kilovolt substation near the site of an existing NYSEG switching station in the Town of Lapeer in Cortland County; the construction of a 15-mile, 115-kilovolt electric transmission line from NYSEG's Etna Substation in the Town of Dryden in Tompkins County to the new Lapeer substation; and rebuilding NYSEG's 115-kilovolt line between the Etna Substation and the new Lapeer Substation. The project also includes modifications to NYSEG's Etna Substation to accommodate the connection of the new 115-kilovolt line.

Related activities such as surveying, design and acquisition of rights of way are planned for this year. Substation work is expected to begin later this year, and construction of the remainder of the project is scheduled to begin in 2009. The project is expected to be completed by mid-2010.

Should ExxonMobil separate its chairman and CEO positions and invest more in alternative energy projects? These questions will come to a vote at the company's shareholder meeting tomorrow. Members of the Rockefeller family, plus nineteen institutional investors -- including some of ExxonMobil's largest shareowners, with more than $740 billion in combined assets under management-- will vote yes on some or all of the relevant resolutions.

Exxon Mobil's critics cite the billions of dollars that rivals Chevron Corp., BP plc and Royal Dutch Shell plc have invested in alternative energy and charge that Exxon Mobil is falling behind. At least in the press releases, though, the critics don't say much about how successful the rivals have been so far.

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BATH - It took about 30 seconds to dissolve Bath's 76-year-old Public Utility Commission.

Members of the Bath village board last week voted 3-1 to abolish the organization, which traditionally has oversees operations of the Bath Electric Gas and Water Systems. Trustees offered no official comments as they registered their votes, and about 150 area residents watched in silence as the meeting continued with the regular business of the agenda.

Only at the end of the meeting did a hint of the underlying controversy surrounding the Commission surface, as village resident Pat Eaton asked the board what it planned "to do" with BEGWS.

"We're going to manage it," said Mayor David Wallace, adding he was not going to accept public comment on the matter. "I'm not going to have this debate," Wallace said.

Barbara Scudder, chairman of the now defunct Commission, said the board's action "disappointed" her and suggested Wallace has wanted to abolish the Commission for some time. "The mayor has been very patient to wait for a board he can control," Scudder told The Courier.

Board member Donna Simonson cast the sole negative vote against the resolution, which village trustees initially approved last month. Simonson said trustees first should have met with Commission members in an effort to iron out differences. "I think (dissolution) should be a last resort," she told The Courier. "It was treated as a first resort."

Monday's meeting, held at the Bath fire department station, was held a month after a public hearing in the same location, during which a majority of speakers urged the board to keep the Commission intact. Several speakers warned the village board it had neither the time nor expertise to oversee BEGWS.

Wallace, however, in a guest editorial published in The Courier, announced he had "lost confidence" in the Commission's ability to oversee BEGWS. The mayor pointed to several issues including:

• Unresolved questions over how BEGWS would make payments on a proposed $9 million upgrade to its electric infrastructure. "Questions from the village board about the repayment of this amount were not adequately answered," Wallace wrote.

• Strained labor relations between the management of BEGWS and its labor force. Wallace alleges "a long standing and intesne conflict between labor and management" is hindering normal operations within the utility.

• An effort by commission members to have Matthew Benesh, director utilities, appointed to the board of directors of Corning Natural GAs, from which BEGWS purchase its natural gas supplies. Wallace charged the appointment would have created "a clear conflict of interest" for Benesh.

100 Mile Range TRIAC EV Available Now!

The TRIAC is a zero-emission vehicle that's now on sale and does the hybrid car one better by reducing one of the wheels and getting rid of the gas completely. It can reach top speeds of 80 mph and has a range of between 60 to 100 miles. An optional capacity boost battery adds 25 per cent on top of that.

Designed by Green Vehicles, the TRIAC, costs about $20,000 and comes in a nifty range of colors including, of course, green. The zero-emission vehicle charges up in six hours. Green Vehicles claims the charge is as simple as plugging in a toaster.

The company has also taken steps to make sure the grown-up tricycle isn't off-balance. The car's center of gravity is well below that of most vehicles and each TRIAC is equipped with a structural steel cage of the kind used in race cars to protect passengers, a safety feature which probably doesn't quite compensate for the lack of air bags.

ALBANY — The Legislature will pass a bill next month to let any office building, store, school or factory generate electricity from renewable energy and sell the extra to a utility at the same price the utility charges, lawmakers said.

That change, legislators and environmentalists said, will provide a major incentive for generating more power from clean, renewable energy sources.

"We look at this as clean power that is grown right here in New York," said Laura Haight of the New York Public Interest Research Group.

The measure, known as a "net-metering" law, would force utilities to credit the smaller electricity producers at the "retail" rate — essentially running those customers' electric meters backward when they send power into the grid instead of drawing it out. The bill also would permit customers to sell more electricity to utilities and earn larger credits than are allowed now.

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The five-member commission next month has a key decision to make: whether to allow a large Spanish energy company, Iberdrola, to buy Energy East, the corporation that owns Rochester Gas and Electric Corp. and New York State Electric and Gas, which between them serve 1.3 million Upstate homes, farms and businesses. Price tag: $4.5 billion.

The staff of the commission has recommended that the board turn thumbs down, partly because it would give one company control of not only the wires and pipes that carry gas and electricity to customers but also some power plants and other facilities that generate the electricity.

“Full divestiture of all the generation Iberdrola and Energy East own, and their complete exit from the generation business in New York, is needed to fully protect ratepayers from the pernicious effects of vertical market power,” according to a staff report on the plan.

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Finger Lakes Water Day
Planning Committee
PO Box 363
Hammondsport, NY 14840


For Immediate Release: May 24, 2008

For more information Contact: Jim Trondsen, 607-937-2624 days, 607-962-5157 evenings or email at

Finger Lakes Water Day Festival

[Hammondsport, NY] The Environmental Management Councils of Steuben and Schuyler Counties, Steuben League of Women Voters and Finger Lakes Group of Sierra Club are sponsoring the Finger Lakes Water Day Festival. This event will take place on Sunday, June 1 from 12 to 4 p.m. at Champlin Beach on the south end of Keuka Lake near Hammondsport. It will be an opportunity for fun and learning about a variety of water topics: the water cycle, stream processes, stormwater management, the importance of water to health, pollution, sewage treatment, flooding, recreation, fishing, water safety, and lake history.

There will be hands-on activities for all ages. Local science teachers will provide instruction in basic water testing and identification of the plants and animals in Keuka Lake. Rich Hurley, an award winning science teacher from Bradford Central School, will be the lead teacher for these activities. Science teachers are invited to participate and to give their students credit for water labs conducted at the Finger Lakes Water Day.

There will be many exhibitors, including the Bath Fish Hatchery, Steuben County Soil and Water Conservation District, Steuben County Sheriff’s water safety unit, Keuka Lake Association, Trout Unlimited, Chemung Basin River Trail Partnership, Curtis Museum, Upper Susquehanna Coalition, Isaac Walton League, Steuben Department of Public Works, Foothills Publishing, Southern Tier Central Regional Planning and Development Board, Bath NY Aquifer Group, Steuben League of Women Voters, Environmental Management Councils of Schuyler and Steuben Counties, and Sierra Club. Local author Prof. Mary Hood will present her new book “River Time: Ecotravel on the World’s Rivers”.

The Princeton Pickers featuring Mary Lu Walker will provide music. Endless Mountain Outfitters will have kayaks for demonstration. Food will be available for purchase. This event will offer a “Zero Waste” experience, where purchased food containers and utensils are suitable for composting and will be collected for recycling.

There is no charge to attend this event. For additional information, please contact the Planning Committee at flwaterday@ecobooks or (607) 937-2624.

The Steuben County Environmental Management Council and the Schuyler County Environmental Management Council are volunteer advisory groups that inform the Steuben and Schuyler County governments on environmental matters.

The Steuben League of Women Voters is a nonpartisan political organization that encourages informed and active participation in government, works to increase understanding of major public policy issues, and influences public policy through education and advocacy.

The Finger Lakes Group of Sierra Club is part of a national environmental organization advocating protection of our nation’s wild heritage, safe and healthy communities, and smart energy solutions.

2008 Smart FourTwo

The smart USA Reservation Confirmation Program is currently in progress for reservation holders. If you have not yet made a reservation for a smart fortwo and would like to do so, please click here.

Access to the smart USA Reservation Confirmation Program is granted based on the date of your reservation. Your specific username and password will be emailed directly to you based upon the information you supplied when making your reservation. At that time you will have an opportunity to update your personal information, verify or change your model and color choices, and add any options you would like.

If you are a reservation holder, you will receive access to the Reservation Confirmation Program via email from smart USA. Please be patient. Your username and password will be sent based on your reservation date over the next few months.

Taking Over

- Gasoline is not a luxury, it is a necessity, and there are no other choices (remember, I’m talking about in our lifetime).

- It is not sold in a pure, free-market economic model, but is in the hands of a precious few oil companies, who essentially form a monopoly. There is no competition among the companies; the price is fixed. Exxon-Mobil alone recorded a 17 percent increase in profits during the first quarter of this year, totaling $11 billion!

- The price of commodities in a capitalist economy is supposed to be based on supply and demand. With oil, the supply is controlled by the oil-producing countries (OPEC) and the demand is fixed. Yes, we can reduce our demand, but only to a set level. Once we reach that level (which I suppose we could determine by measuring the number of people who freeze to death in their homes this winter), then the demand side becomes a constant.

The supply-and-demand model, therefore, does not apply to oil. It is impossible to let the price of oil float fairly as if it were a free-market commodity, because it won’t. We’re not choosing Wranglers over Levis here; we have a fixed demand and a monopolized supply. If someone controlled and was making billions on the selling of the air, we’d probably start by taking shorter breaths, but soon I think we’d want some more drastic action taken.

- One of the essential responsibilities of government is to protect its citizens from this very form of exploitation. Therefore, I am calling upon our government to do just that.

(Click to read entire article)

‘Bad message to consumers'

In Texas, state officials have asked for a one-year federal moratorium on the U.S. government's required use of ethanol blended fuels. A tariff that has been keeping Brazilian ethanol out of the U.S. could be allowed to expire later this year. And a tax credit for fuel distributors that provide blended fuels is expected to be cut some at the end of this year.

"Even without the shifting political landscape, getting financing for ethanol plants already has been challenging because of higher prices for feed stock,” said Molchanov. "Those prices really have squeezed margins during the past two years.

"So, when an ethanol producer looks at $6 a bushel corn, twice as high as it was a year ago, they are more worried about their bottom line,” he said. "It was already difficult to get financing. The economics of the industry is very challenging.”

(Click to read entire article)

Federal Regional Minister Greg Thompson was swift to remind the provincial Liberal government yesterday that a carbon tax would take a "devastating" toll on New Brunswick.

"Prices are high enough, and of course for a carbon tax to be effective, it has to be at least 50 cents a litre. Basically, it's just another form of tax," said the Conservative member of parliament, a day after New Brunswick's Finance Minister Victor Boudreau said the Liberal government will consider a implementing a carbon tax as part of its upcoming tax review.

"I guess it fits in with the Liberal philosophy, tax more, spend more," added Thompson.

And with sky-high gas prices already affecting everything from the price of home heating, to transportation, and food prices, Thompson noted that a brand new tax on gas would stifle the province's economy and impact New Brunswickers' lives.

"It would have a huge impact on rural areas, no question about it," said Thompson, who was visiting the New Brunswick Legislature to meet with agriculture leaders.

(Click to read entire article)

SYRACUSE (AP) — National Grid is asking state regulators to approve the utility’s first natural gas rate increase since 1996.

If approved by the state Public Service Commission, the typical household will be paying $135 a year more for natural gas — or about $11.25 a month.

National Grid is asking the rates to be effective next April. The company has 560,000 natural gas customers in upstate New York.

The utility says its rate hike request covers only delivery charges — the cost of maintaining the pipes and providing gas service — not the price of natural gas, which is set on the open market.

All told, the utility is asking to boost rates by $95.3 million per year, a 10.9 percent increase. National Grid says inflation has increased 31.3 percent since its last rate hike.

FRANKLINVILLE — With more than 900 oil and gas well permits expected in New York State this year and booming interest in the Marcellus shale deposit extending across West Virginia, Ohio, Pennsylvania and New York’s Southern Tier, local landowners could soon be talking like Texas oil men.

But minerals experts signal caution and urge landowners to get educated, learn how to negotiate and think about forming a cooperative of landowners before signing the first lease offered by a natural gas company.

A group of people with experience in Central New York’s two largest natural gas booms told a crowd of more than 150 gathered Wednesday night in the Franklinville High School auditorium that the past five years’ 20-fold increase in well permits will soon bring the “world-class Marcellus gas play” into Cattaraugus County.

They described how a new horizontal drilling technique boosted gas output from shale in Texas, causing companies to look toward Appalachia for similar geology. Reserves of 50 trillion cubic feet, enough to fuel the entire U. S. for two years, have been identified in the Marcellus shale that was once thought to yield only nuisance puffs of natural gas.

Thicker deposits than those suspected in Cattaraugus and Allegany counties have been found in Central New York and are bringing $1,400 to $2,000 or more per acre, but observers say the wave of speculation is headed this way. The message of Wednesday night’s program, “Leasing Your Land for Gas and Oil,” is that despite the potential, landowners should not to rush into a lease despite offers of a bonus signing.

“Bonus money is what they use to glaze your eyes over and get you to sign,” said Lindsay Wickham, Farm Bureau field representative for Broome, Chemung, Chenango, Steuben and Tioga counties.

As one of the panel of presenters, Wickham said royalties are most important in the gas-lease speculation wave. He suggested that competition should be encouraged in Western New York to drive up the prices.

The Farm Bureau, sponsor of the program as an educational effort for members and the public, supports farmers and rural landowners with legislative initiatives and lobbying efforts. The organization has been working with legislators in Albany to update state law regulating vertical drilling to accommodate the new horizontal methods and the size of permitted land units.
Two of the speakers, Christopher Miller of the state Department of Environmental Conservation and Mike Saviola, an agricultural resource specialist with the state Department of Agriculture and Markets, told the audience how their oversight responsibility offers landowner protections during natural gas permitting and well and pipeline construction.

Dave Colligan, of Watson and Bennett of Buffalo helps solve old lease problems and makes decisions in new gas lease offers. He reminded the audience that once a landowner gives up any of his property rights, they are difficult to get back.

Tonight, Thursday, May 22, from 7 to 9 p.m., there will be a public hearing at the Fire House at 15 Allis Street in Prattsburgh to continue the saga of the a foregone application of eminent domain to allow the wind developers to seize private property. This hearing is a continuation of the April 21st Special Meeting of the Prattsburgh Town Board, where after publicly admitting he was being paid by UPC, the Town Supervisor refused to recuse himself and cast the tie-breaking vote to condemn the property of “those people” who don’t want turbines or the power lines connecting them on their property. In it’s convoluted logic, the Town Board has determined that the land must be condemned because, after more than 5 years, the majority of people in Prattsburgh still will not support the project – the public benefit of which has not been substantiated and the wind data never shared.

Rumor has it that, when contacted by a reporter for details on tonight’s hearing, the Town Clerk told her the event was ‘just window dressing’, that the Town Board had ‘made up its mind’ and had no intention of having a few people put the project of erecting dozens of 400’ industrial wind turbines at risk.

Mentioned in the Town’s resolution are eight specific properties as well as any other property it wants on Rosey Hill Road, Gay Road, Cook School Road, Davis Road, Fisher Road, Dillenbeck Road, Block School Road and Matton Road to use as the Town sees fit.

Those property owners who may subsequently wish to challenge condemnation on their property may only do so based on the issues, facts and objections raised at the public hearing . . . an auspicious proviso from a Town which, for the first several years while the developers were working surreptitiously, would not allow the words ‘wind turbine’ to be said aloud at a Board Meeting by anyone who was not either a developer or a board member and whose Town Attorney also represents the developer.

Taking private land to give to a private developer is un-American.

If Prattsburgh does this for Windfarm Prattsburgh, they will do it for Ecogen, and for the first developer who pays them to locate a nuclear waste dump on your property. Once made, this precedent will have far reaching and chilling effects throughout our communities.

ALBANY, N.Y. (AP) -- The organization that oversees New York's electricity system expects the state to have a sufficient supply of power this summer.

The New York Independent System Operator says the summer 2008 peak electricity usage will reach almost 34,000 megawatts, barring unexpected weather extremes.

NYISO says that's about 5 percent higher than the peak of just more than 32,000 last summer and on a par with the summer peak in 2006.

Peak demand is the year's highest electricity demand for a one-hour period, and typically happens on a late summer afternoon.

New York City and Long Island -- which account for nearly half the state's summer electricity use -- are expected to have more than sufficient capacity.

On Wednesday, the U.S. House of Representatives passed The Renewable Energy and Job Creation Act of 2008 (H.R. 6049), a bill that could extend production and investment tax credits for renewable energy, by a vote of 263-160.

H.R. 6049 is a US $54 billion tax extenders package that contains an extension of the federal production tax credit for wind power (PTC) through December 31, 2009 and contains a new small-wind investment tax credit (ITC). The bill also extends the 30% investment tax credit for solar energy property and qualified fuel cell property, and the 10% investment tax credit for microturbines through the end of 2014. Biomass, geothermal, landfill gas and other technologies receive a three-year extension under the legislation.

The bill could still face obstacles when it comes up for consideration in the Senate, largely because there is no consensus on how to pay for the extensions. The Bush administration has also threatened to veto the legislation.

(Click to read the entire report)

With oil soaring over $130 a barrel and average national gas prices climbing towards $4 per gallon, the Department of the Interior today released a study showing that vast untapped oil and natural gas resources exist on public lands in the United States.

Federal lands throughout the United States are estimated to contain 31 billion barrels of oil and 231 trillion cubic feet of natural gas. The BLM administers leasing of onshore Federal oil and gas resources.

The inventory found that 60 percent of the onshore federal lands that have potential as domestic sources for natural gas and oil are presently closed to leasing, making 62 percent of the oil and 41 percent of the natural gas inaccessible for development.

(Click to read entire item)

Patience wears thin in Iberdrola bid

A $4.5 billion deal to buy the parent of Rochester Gas and Electric Corp. could sink if a state agency continues with its demands.

Almost a year after the deal was proposed, Department of Public Service staffers continue to mull the sale of Energy East Corp. to Spanish utility giant Iberdrola SA, even after other governments have approved the deal and moved on.

A key step in the New York process could come by the end of the week, when an administrative law judge for the Department of Public Service might issue his recommendation.

Judge Rafael Epstein was asked by Iberdrola to report his findings by Friday because the utility still hopes to complete the purchase of Energy East by the end of June. But Epstein is under no obligation to do so.

Epstein conducted public hearings around the state, including a standing-room-only Rochester hearing in February. His report will help guide the five-member Public Service Commission, which has the final say.

(Click to read entire article)

This bill was considered in committee which has recommended it be considered by the Senate as a whole. Although it has been placed on a calendar of business, the order in which bills are considered and voted on is determined by the majority party leadership. Keep in mind that sometimes the text of one bill is incorporated into another bill, and in those cases the original bill, as it would appear here, would seem to be abandoned.

The dream of a home ethanol pump has been realized, says the New York Times, thanks to inventor named Floyd S. Butterfield. One of the world's only celebrated non-hillbilly still-makers, Butterfield has invented the $10,000 E-Fuel 100 MicroFueler, a gadget that combines heaps of sugar and a sprinkling of yeast to ferment an alcoholic brew which it then distills into ethanol. The notion is that, as long as the price of sugar stays relatively low, it could cost about $1 per gallon to make the fuel. It's even cheaper when you put un-drunk stale beer in the system: Since the fermentation is done, all it takes is the electricity to distill the beer into scotch whiskey fuel for your car.

Carbon haters would be happy that a gallon of the MicroFueler's ethanol is supposed to produce just 12.5% of the carbon from a gallon of normal gasoline. Butterfield is also someone who people should listen to: In 1982 he won an award from the state of California for "best design of an ethanol still" says the Times. (I had NO idea I could enter my still in a competition!)

Naysayers predict that quality control would be a problem (and anyone who's ever homebrewed beer can probably attest to the finicky nature of the process. Others charge that since sugar costs 20-cents per pound, and you need 10 to 14 pounds to make a gallon of ethanol, well, there goes your cost savings. But Butterfield and his Silicon Valley finance whiz/business partner Thomas J. Quinn swears you can buy "inedible sugar" from South of the Border for 2 to 3 cents per pound.

(Click to read the NYT article)

(Click to read Press Release)

SAN FRANCISCO -- The Bay Area Air Quality Management District's board of directors on Wednesday approved new rules to charge businesses a fee for the pollution they emit.

The group's board of directors voted 15-1 on unprecedented new rules that will impose fees on factories, power plants, oil refineries and other businesses that emit carbon dioxide and other heat-trapping gases.

The agency, which regulates air pollution in the nine-county Bay Area, will be the first in the country to charge companies fees based on their greenhouse gas emissions, experts say. The new rules will take effect July 1.

The modest fee -- 4.4 cents per ton of carbon dioxide -- probably won't be enough to force companies to reduce their emissions, but backers say it sets an important precedent in combating climate change and could serve as a model for regional air districts nationwide.

(Click to read entire report)

Results of three-month Gulf of Mexico demonstration prove effectiveness of power generation and water desalination from renewable resource of ocean waves

MINNEAPOLIS, May 20 /PRNewswire/ -- Following a three-month demonstration of Minnesota-based energy technology company Independent Natural Resources Inc.'s (INRI(TM)) SEADOG Pump system, researchers from the Texas A&M University at Galveston Marine Engineering Technology Department released a report today validating the performance and output of the innovative yet simple technology.

The report, which focused on a SEADOG Pump installed off the Galveston, Texas coast in the Gulf of Mexico, analyzed the pump's performance from July 2007 to November 2007, tracking all weather conditions from calm days to the Category 1 force of Hurricane Humberto.

(Click to read entire report)

While many debate the real cause of global warming, and there are much more potent greenhouse gases than CO2, there is no debate on the need to stop bankrupting ourselves with imported fuels. Unfortunately, the economic consequences of our ill conceived subsidies of alternative energy is too often overlooked.

The biggest tragedy of our misguided subsidies is missed opportunity. Transportation and heating account for the majority of our imported fuel use, not electric power generation. New technologies are rapidly developing that will allow us to convert from imported fuels to U.S.-generated electric power for these uses, provided we do not allow the cost of electric power to be artificially increased. Two examples:

New battery technology for automobiles now allows powering decent sized cars 40+ miles on a charge from an outlet in your garage, at a cost of about 80 cents. This country’s own General Motors Corp. has made a huge commitment to this technology, with the chance to regain world leadership and create real jobs in this country. Internal combustion automobile engines only convert about 20% of the available energy in gasoline to motive power, while electric motors operate near 90% efficiency, and electric vehicles recapture energy when braking.

Heat pumps can pump about five times the amount of heat energy they consume, while conventional combustion furnaces cannot deliver even as much energy as they consume. Using the earth as a constant temperature heat source, sometimes referred to as using geothermal energy, is one means of making this technology practical for our cold climate. Another is the use of the new dual source furnaces that switch to natural gas on those few days when outside temperature makes heat pump operation less practical.

Lost Economic Opportunity: The U.S. with its entrepreneurial culture can develop these and other technologies, lead the world, and create jobs here, provided we do not skew the energy costs to place electric power at a disadvantage to continued use of imported fuels. Developing countries do not follow in lockstep behind developed countries, but leapfrog to best available technologies. To them, best available often means lowest cost. We can lead only if we focus on economic realities as well as environmental ones.

We are daily confronted with new evidence as to the problems we are causing with this country’s poorly thought out corn-to-ethanol subsidy program. Our wind energy subsidies will have an even greater adverse impact long term.

To allow the market to freely and rapidly convert from hydro-carbon fossil fuels to more efficient means of using energy as in the examples above, electric supplies must be both increased and kept economical. Intermittent sources of energy do neither.

Wind energy is being promoted as a way to reduce imports of fuels and to reduce production of greenhouse gases,. Wind turbines will not reduce our demand for imported fuel and may increase that demand. Subsidies for wind energy divert attention and investment from new technologies that can have a much more significant effect on reducing both our imported fuel demand and CO2 production.

Only a small fraction of our electric power is generated by imported fuels, but the wind turbines, which only produce rated power about 25% of the time, require that we build, maintain, staff and keep on stand-by conventional generating capacity for the other 75% of the time. Unfortunately, the most practical fast response conventional generating means is natural gas fired turbines ( peaker plants ) and this country is already importing natural gas. Additional wind turbines will not reduce our need for imported fuels.

The wind is free, wind turbines are not. Wind-generated electricity is more expensive than electricity from conventional sources, and when the hidden costs of the required backup capacity are added, it is much more expensive.

By unnecessarily saddling ourselves with high cost electric power, we are hurting our ability to compete in the global economy and are discouraging investment in technology that can help both our environment and our economy.

To allow the new technologies to flourish, we need an increased supply of economical, and 24-7 available electrical energy, not just alternative energy. Fortunately, there are alternatives that are both CO2 free and economical.

Nuclear power: May be our best choice in the near term, and it buys us time to develop other options.

Geothermal energy: Thanks to deep hole drilling technology developed for the oil industry, geothermal energy will soon be able to be accessed in most parts of this country. Most do not realize that the U.S. is the world leader in mass producing geothermal power, but until now it has been limited to geyser areas of our west.

Hydroelectric power: New means of harvesting it without dams are being developed.

Solar concentrators: Capture heat from the sun which can be stored, rather than converting sunlight directly to electrical power and thus minimizing need for backup power, are a viable alternative in sunny parts of this country. It is available during peak hours of electrical demand in those same areas further reducing the need for backup power. Solar heating of homes is viable in much of this country, and this state as it inherently includes means to store that energy.

This country desperately needs a realistic energy policy that will benefit its economy now and into the future, not just a farm subsidy policy masquerading as an energy policy ( Corn-to-ethanol )

David C. Amsler

Renewable energy systems, such as solar panels, for businesses and homes would be exempt from property taxes under a bill that was unanimously approved yesterday by the Senate Budget and Appropriations Committee.

The bill now heads to the full Senate. Identical legislation is pending in the Assembly Appropriations Committee.

"We need to do everything we can to make sure that renewable energy systems are affordable for families and businesses and promote green technology," said Sen. John H. Adler, (D-Camden), a sponsor of the bill along with Sen. Bob Smith (D-Middlesex).

Exempted systems include energy produced by solar technology, photovoltaic technology, wind energy, wave or tidal action, methane gas from an on-site landfill and hydropower.

The bill would allow property owners to exempt such systems as long as they are in use. The bill would also exempt property owners from municipal construction permit fees to build the systems.

On June 2, 2008, Senate Democrats have vowed to bring forward global warming cap-and-trade legislation before the United States Senate that, if passed, would drastically increase energy costs at the gas pump, in the grocery store, and in our homes – all for no environmental gain. The purpose of this webpage is to serve as an online resource center for anyone looking to learn more about the severe economic impacts of the Lieberman-Warner bill. This page will be updated frequently with the latest news and additional links will be added leading up to Senate floor consideration of the bill.

*If you feel we are missing important information, please feel free to contact us and we will consider adding links to the page. Contact:

(Click to read entire items of report)

Save Energy Save Dollars

This is a great time to plan summer projects to make our homes more energy-efficient, which will keep us cooler in the summer as well as warmer in the winter.


You are invited to a FREE 2-hour workshop, Save Energy Save Dollars, where you will learn many low-cost and no-cost ways to lower your home energy bills. You'll also hear about New York State programs that can help you finance energy-efficiency improvements.
The information shared at this workshop is appropriate for year-round energy reduction, not just during the cold weather! Also, each household will receive a free kit of energy-saving items worth approx. $15.


THURSDAY, MAY 22, 6:30 - 8:30 PM

(Brooktondale Community Center's Old Fire Hall, 522 Valley Road)

THURSDAY, JUNE 5, 12:30-2:30 PM
THURSDAY, AUGUST 15, 6:30-8:30 PM

Pre-registration is required. Call CCE- Tompkins at (607) 272-2292 to reserve a seat and an Energy Kit, or email Carole Fisher at
Carole Fisher Community Educator Cornell Cooperative Extension of Tompkins County 615 Willow Ave. Ithaca, NY 14850 (607) 272-2292

The lies that the media are feeding us are fueled in part by Al Gore and company looking to reap a windfall in profits by scaring the public. The Politically Incorrect Guide to Global Warming and Environmentalism exposes their plan and debunks all of the lies and myths being passed off as truth by the media!

(Click to hear the audio interview from an ex-Enron employee)

Green Bean - Production Tax Credits

Texas Republican Sen. Kay Bailey Hutchison introduced legislation on Monday to freeze the federal mandate for corn-based ethanol at this year's current level of 9 billion gallons.

Hutchison said her legislation allows for necessary adjustments in the renewable fuel standard to transition to a more realistic and sustainable source which does not use food for fuel.

"The ethanol mandate is clearly causing unintended consequences on food prices for American consumers," Hutchison said. "Freezing the mandate is in the best interests of consumers, who cannot afford the increasing prices at the grocery store due to the mandate diverting corn from food to fuel."

Energy legislation signed into law last year requires an annual increase in the amount of ethanol produced domestically, from 4.7 billion gallons in 2007, to 9 billion this year, increasing to 15 billion in 2015 and then 36 billion gallons by 2022.

Congress provided the Environmental Protection Agency with the authority to waive the mandate, or adjust them as necessary to provide relief for consumers.

A Hutchison spokesman said the ethanol freeze legislation could be attached to the farm bill, which the president has threatened to veto over expensive commodity programs.

Alternatives to alternative energy

It’s not yet three years since the signing of the Energy Policy Act of 2005 and the world is already topsy-turvy because of this legislation. The Act called for incremental increases in the amount of biofuels (mostly ethanol) sold in the United States with 7.5 billion gallons being the goal for 2012. Due to the popularity of the green movement and government-subsidized capitalism run amok, ethanol production exploded out of the gate and 6.5 billion gallons were produced in 2006 with 7.7 billion expected for 2008.

This dire economic situation might only get worse: The Energy Independence and Security Act of 2007 demands 36 billion gallons of renewable fuels by 2022.

Other than canceling all this legislation (unheard of in federal circles), the only way that the federal government can save face and correct this disaster is by working hand-in-hand with the private sector to develop other forms of biofuel technologies as soon as possible. Two such alternatives can exist in the form of cellulosic ethanol and algae ethanol and oils.

(Click to read entire article)

How big is Iberdrola’s bet? The old rule of thumb (1 million euros buys the hardware and pays to install a megawatt of wind power) no longer applies for sure given price inflation in steel, components, and other things that make up turbines. But Iberdrola’s latest U.S. push is clearly in the same league as Mr. Pickens’ 4-gigawatt Pampa Wind Project, the biggest to date in the U.S., and on paper the same size as four smallish nuclear plants.

Of course, there could be another reading to Iberdrola’s sudden rush of enthusiasm. The Spanish company has spent a year trying to win regulatory approval for its 4.6 billion euro purchase of Energy East, a utility operating in the U.S. northeast. So far, the hurdle is New York regulators, worried Iberdrola will dominate the market. Iberdrola, which argues that it is crucial for the future of New York’s clean-energy development, is pressing for a decision by the end of this month.

Perhaps Iberdrola’s big announcement is an $8 billion shot across the bow to preserve the Energy East deal — another offensive in the company’s bid to make itself too big to ignore.

(Click to read entire item)

Battle over power blows in the wind

Most New Yorkers could care less about a ruling that an administrative law judge could make on the Iberdrola-Energy East merger as early as Friday.

But the decision could have huge implications for upstate New Yorkers and their energy usage.

Iberdrola SA is a Spanish utility that ranks as the world's largest developer of wind farms. The company is a 50 percent owner of the Maple Ridge Wind Farm in Lewis County, which at 321 megawatts is the largest wind farm in New York state.

Iberdrola wants to buy Energy East Corp., an electric and gas utility headquartered in Maine that has 1.3 million upstate New York customers through its New York State Electric & Gas and Rochester Gas & Electric subsidiaries.

But the merger has faced opposition from the Department of Public Service, the state agency that oversees utilities in New York.

Staff at the department, who provide guidance and recommendations to the five-person Public Service Commission that must ultimately approve or deny the merger, have argued that the deal does not provide the public with enough benefits and that it could cause disruption to the state's wholesale electric market.

Agency staff believe Iberdrola will hold too much sway over the state's wholesale electric market if it owns a substantial amount of generation in the state, which is why the company has been pushed to sell Energy East's power plants and divest itself of its wind business in New York.

(Click to read entire article)

HUTCHINSON ISLAND — Public hearings on Florida Power & Light Co.'s wind turbine plan still are months away, but opponents already are gearing up for a serious fight.

The Save St. Lucie Alliance started a Legal Defense Fund this week in the hopes of hiring a land-use attorney who can represent residents opposed to putting six wind machines on FPL property near the St. Lucie Nuclear Plant. The group had raised $3,600 by Friday and has a goal of raising $10,000, which is the amount they estimate might be needed through a final County Commission hearing on the project.

"We're leaving no stone unturned," said Julie Zahniser, an Indian River Drive resident who leads the alliance. "We want to make sure we preserve our legal rights in the event the Board of County Commissioners approve it. Then we'll be positioned to take it one step further."

(Click to read entire article)

from Industrial Development Agency subsidies…




comprehensive IDA reform must get done
before they come home this summer!

from Industrial Development Agency subsidies…

The legislation seeks to give power plants, factories and refineries a financial incentive to reduce their global warming emissions. The bill would create a "cap and trade" program that limits total U.S. emissions of carbon dioxide and gives credits to companies able to cut their emissions through increased energy efficiency or cleaner technology. Companies can then sell those credits to other businesses that have not yet met those goals. Over the next four decades, all the affected industries would gradually have to make deep reductions in their emissions.

(Click to read entire article)

As part of the Bush Administration’s comprehensive effort to provide wide-ranging data and thorough statistical analysis in its 2009 National Transmission Congestion Study (Congestion Study), U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) Assistant Secretary for Electricity Delivery and Energy Reliability (OE) Kevin Kolevar today announced that the Department will hold six regional technical workshops across the country, to seek input on available transmission congestion data to be considered during preparation of the Congestion Study. The Congestion Study—as directed by the Energy Policy Act of 2005 (EPAct)—is intended to provide detailed analysis of the state of transmission capacity across the United States, and to identify those geographic areas requiring additional attention to transmission congestion and constraint.

(Click to read entire announcement)

Free New York, Inc. is a non-partisan, not-for-profit New York State corporation. We do not support or endorse candidates or political parties.

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Legislation that would renew billions of dollars in tax breaks for solar, wind, biomass and other renewable energy sources and extend a proposed new tax credit for ethanol fuels not produced from corn advanced in the U.S. House of Representatives on Thursday.

The bill approved by the Ways and Means Committee by a vote of 25-12 would extend about $54 billion in expiring tax breaks for renewable energy sources, education and a number of business expenses including research and development.

It would also extend federal tax deductions for state and local sales taxes.

Tax breaks for investment in coal gasification projects would also be expanded under the legislation, which comes as oil hit a record just below $127 a barrel this week and hovered above $124 a barrel on Thursday.

(Click to read entire article)

Worried about gas prices hitting $4 a gallon and beyond? Imagine if they were $6, $7 or even $8 a gallon. Those levels are a certain possibility should Congress pass cap-and-trade legislation, which could face a vote in early June.

Oil is trading at record levels, in excess of $120 a barrel. Leading Republican Sens. James Inhofe (Okla.) and Jeff Sessions (Ala.) both told the Business & Media Institute (BMI) energy prices would drastically increase if the Lieberman-Warner Climate Security Act (S. 2191) is signed into law.

“The studies show it would be directly affected, would be a $1.50 a gallon, in addition to what it is today,” Inhofe, the ranking Republican on the Senate Environment and Public Works Committee, said to (BMI).

(Click to read entire article)

UPS just announced it has ordered 200 hybrid electric vehicles (HEVs) - the largest commercial order of such trucks by any company - in addition to another 300 Compressed Natural Gas (CNG) vehicles for its U.S. delivery fleet.

The purchase of the 500 additional vehicles means the UPS alternative fuel fleet - already the largest such private fleet in the United States - will grow 30 percent from 1,718 to 2,218 low-carbon vehicles.

Obviously, UPS has other reasons besides the environment to get more efficient. Particularly, we expect that rising fuel prices are cutting into their profits. Already they've been taking measures to decrease gasoline use through more quotidian measures, like favoring right turns over left turns in delivery routes.

Nonetheless, the focus on hybrid and LNG propulsion is definitely a good thing for the environment. The trucks are expected to save 176,000 gallons of fuel annually and reduce CO2 emissions by 1,786 metric tons each year. Delivery trucks are particularly useful for both of these applications because they spend so much time driving in cities. Hybrid technology is most useful when there are lots of stops and starts, while the ultra-low emissions of LNG does a great job of reducing pollution in areas where it generally collects.

The truck's chassis is being supplied by Freightliner Custom Chassis Corp. while the hybrid drivetrain was created by Eaton. They'll look just like regular UPS trucks, but don't worry, you'll be able to tell the difference due to UPS's big blazing yellow labels on the side of each one.

Carbon Tax and Spend

Kevin Drum, a useful report from the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities about how if we sell carbon permits (as Barack Obama wants to do) instead of giving them away (as John McCain wants to do), we can raise the necessary funds to help the people most in need adjust to the new environment in which energy is more expensive. It turns out that such compensatory spending leaves us with a big pot of money left over.

The things they suggest spending this money on are basically sensible, though I should say I'm not so high on the popular notion of plowing money into clean energy subsidies. For one thing, I think there's very good reason to be dubious about the government's ability to pick technologies effectively. For another thing, the mere fact of the auctioned carbon permits would constitute a large de facto subsidy to alternative energy sources so it's not really clear that further subsidy is needed. Last, in a lot of ways the whole idea of subsidizing energy consumption goes against one very promising path, namely using less energy overall -- lots of elements of current U.S. policy subsidize or encourage lavish energy consumption and that's part of how we wound up in our current pickle.

Rather than spend new funds on further entrenching overconsumption of energy, we should just try to invest it in productive infrastructure. The biggest problem with adapting to a reduced carbon environment won't be that it's impossible in the long run for people to live in a high-cost energy environment, it'll be that so much of our existing infrastructure isn't well-suited to such an environment. A short-term infusion of cash is a good opportunity to start changing that (and, of course, imagine what we could have done over the past six years if we hadn't spent $1 trillion in Iraq).

U.S. Rep. Roscoe Bartlett is hoping to save two federal tax credits promoting alternative energies like solar and wind.
Bartlett, R-6th, whose district includes Frederick County, introduced a bill this month to continue the investment tax credit to stimulate investment in solar energy and the production tax credit to encourage investment in wind energy.

Those credits are set to expire this December.

The bill has 38 co-sponsors and is identical to a Senate bill that is co-sponsored by Maryland Sen. Benjamin Cardin, a Democrat.

(Click to read entire article)

New U.S. energy legislation mandates the use of renewable fuel but calls for continuing current biofuel subsidies that will cost taxpayers billions of dollars. The subsidies -- tax credits -- by themselves encourage ethanol production as a replacement for oil-based gasoline consumption. Instead, the tax credits will play a major role in unintentionally subsidizing gasoline consumption. This contradicts the new energy bill's stated objectives of reducing dependency on oil, improving the environment and enhancing rural prosperity.

Furthermore, this policy mistake is not unique to the United States but is a worldwide error of judgment as most countries use both mandates and tax credits simultaneously. The policy implication is clear: allow the mandate to work by itself, so eliminate the tax credits and save billions in taxpayer monies. This involves only a modest change in biofuel policy while dramatically improving policy achievements.

(Click to read entire article)

"A lot of uncertainty comes with the government's carbon emissions regulations needed to finance power plants," he said at the spring meeting of Independent Power Producers of New York Inc.

Dickman-Wilkes spoke Wednesday to a group of about 100 people during the Independent Power Producers of New York's annual energy conference at the Desmond Hotel & Conference Center in Colonie, N.Y.

The federal government is expected to develop cap-and-trade emissions standards in the coming years that would require utilities to pay for at least a portion of their emission allowances. A cap-and-trade system allows a utility to bank surplus emission reductions and sell them to other facilities that are above the cap, provided the seller maintains an overall emission level consistent with those of the National Ambient Air Quality Standards (NAAQS).

(Click to read entire article)

Outspoken oil billionaire T. Boone Pickens wowed the hundreds of attendees at yesterday's General Session meeting at the 2008 Alternative Fuels and Vehicles Conference and Expo in Las Vegas. Joined on stage by Andrew Littlefair, president and CEO of Clean Energy Fuels Corporation, Pickens delivered a keynote presentation that was insightful, humorous and highly provocative.

Pickens talked about America’s urgent need to get away from foreign oil and the sending of $600 billion to "A few friends and a hell of a bunch of enemies." and the opportunity that exists in turning to natural gas to solve the country’s immediate gasoline crisis. Pickens pointed out natural gas’ benefits of being substantially lower in harmful emissions than gasoline, its plentiful supply, and its significantly lower cost to consumers.

Pickens predicted that gasoline prices will continue to rise and that diesel fuel will never again be cheaper than gasoline.

The 2008-2009 Enacted State Budget sent a message to New York farmers that their needs are a priority for lawmakers in Albany. The Budget includes:

* The largest Environmental Protection Fund package ever to preserve irreplaceable farmland, protect water resources, and fight invasive species.
* $30 million for farmland protection and $13 million for agricultural non-point source pollution control.
* $9 million for the Agri-Business Child Development Program and nearly 100 percent increases for the Economic Development and Farmland Viability grants program and Farm Family Assistance.
* An unprecedented $40 million for the Upstate Agricultural Economic Development Fund.

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Independent Power Producers of New York will hold its 22nd annual spring conference Wednesday at the Desmond Hotel & Conference Center in Colonie.

The event takes place from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. Same-day registration is $435 for IPPNY members and $495 for non-members.

Speakers include Christopher Trabold, executive director of the Brooklyn Navy Yard Cogeneration Partners and IPPNY board chairman; Sen. George Maziarz, chairman of the state Senate Assembly Energy Committee; Paul DeCotis, deputy secretary of energy for New York; Sam Laniado, principal at Read & Laniado; Ashok Gupta, director of the National Resources Defense Council; John O'Brien, senior vice president of government and regulatory affairs for NRG Energy Inc.; Garry Brown, state Public Service Commission chairman; and Robert Gramlich, policy director for the American Wind Energy Association.

For more information, call 436-3749.

What, then, might the true cost of an effective cap-and-trade system be?

This question was recently examined in a detailed analysis of the Lieberman-Warner “Climate Security Act” by the American Council for Capital Formation and the National Association of Manufacturers, which concluded as follows –

The CO2 emissions allowance price needed to reduce energy use to meet the Bill’s targets is estimated at $55 to $64 per metric ton of CO2 in 2020, rising to between $227 to $271 per ton in 2030.

The cost of the allowances raises energy prices for residential consumers by 26% to 36% in 2020, and 108% to 146% in 2030 for natural gas, and 28% to 33% in 2020, and 101% to 129% in 2030 for electricity. In short, a workable carbon trading scheme, even if it were necessary, could be expected to double the price of basic household energy.

These and other increased energy costs will slow the US economy (at today’s prices) by $151 billion to $210 billion in 2020 and $631 billion to $669 billion in 2030, causing job losses of between 1.2 million to 1.8 million in 2020 and 3 million to 4 million by 2030. If anything, these figures for job losses are conservative, since the calculation ignores any second-order or “knock-on” effects caused by the rapid and worldwide economic dislocation that “cap-and-trade” would cause.

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Carbon Sciences, Inc. (OTCBB: CABN), the developer of a breakthrough technology to transform harmful carbon dioxide (CO2) into high value, earth-friendly products, today announced its first application targeting a near term multi-billion dollar global market.

This initial application of the Company's technology is a process that will transform CO2 into a high value chemical compound, currently used in the manufacture of paper, pharmaceuticals and plastics. Unlike existing methods of production, Carbon Sciences' clean tech process will be carbon neutral, use less energy and result in a lower cost product.

The demand for this high value chemical compound (Precipitated Calcium Carbonate or "PCC") is projected to grow to 10 million tons by 2010, due to increased global paper consumption and construction in Asian countries. Of the forecasted total, approximately 70% of the PCC produced is expected to be used by the paper industry as brightness coating and filler.

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A coalition of about 300 property owners near Deposit, Sanford and Windsor have struck it rich, and the drilling hasn't even started yet.

The coalition will be accepting a deal collectively worth nearly $90 million -- to be paid to property owners in lump sums this year -- to allow natural gas companies drilling rights to their land for five years, said Dewy Decker, the coalition organizer. They will receive another lump some of $90 million if the gas companies want to extend their leases for three years.

The group agreed to an offer by XTO Energy of Fort Worth, Texas and Whitmar Exploration of Denver. The two companies working under a partnership offered landowners $2,411 per acre for energy rights for five years, and the same amount for the three-year extention.

But the real money could come once the drilling begins, and property owners get 15 percent of the royalties to whatever the natural gas wells produce.

A signing is scheduled for May 29 and 30 at the Binghamton Regency, Decker said.

The coalition represents 37,000 acres of land in the towns of Sanford, Deposit and Windsor near the site of the Millennium natural gas pipeline being constructed this year.

State Has Demand Without Supply

Recent actions by Connecticut and New York to block the proposed Broadwater LNG terminal in Long Island Sound must leave energy investors and some consumers scratching their heads in wonderment.

Energy policies in Connecticut are driving up demand for natural gas, so much so that its use to generate electricity has tripled in a decade. New York has fared better, but it too has adopted policies that may change that trajectory and drive up demand. So here we have two high-tech, energy-importing states sending conflicting messages to the market: Increase use of natural gas, but do it without increasing supply.

And, at least in Connecticut's case, it assumes that projects in other states and regions will meet the demand that it is unwilling to supply. Projects off the coast of Massachusetts and New Jersey are mentioned. But these projects are being built to meet other needs, which may leave Connecticut without a fallback position.

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CO2 maps gas sources

PSC looking out for the consumer

Regarding Iberdrola's proposed acquisition of Energy East, the Public Service Commission is doing exactly what it was mandated to do by the state Legislature. That is, to keep control of electricity distribution separate from electricity generation — Iberdrola's wind developments.

Industrial wind power has not lived up to its claims in real- world operation. Conventional power plants must be kept on constant standby — using fossil fuel and emitting carbon dioxide — for when the wind doesn't blow. No green benefit there. Actual electricity production averages 15 percent to 30 percent of capacity at best. Wind power is unreliable, unpredictable and expensive, with many negative effects. Go to for a real eye-opening experience.

Iberdrola will be making far more money than it will be investing in New York and taking those profits out of the United States. The PSC is protecting the common citizens' interests, not that of big business.



A Tifton agricultural researcher says he has found the solution to the world’s energy crisis through genetic modification and cloning of bacterial organisms that can convert bio-mass into hydrocarbons on a grand scale. The local researcher believes his groundbreaking discovery could result in the production of 500 to 1,000 barrels of hydrocarbon fuel per day from the initial production facility. The hydrocarbon fuel — commonly known as oil or fossil fuel when drilled — will require no modification to automobiles, oil pipelines or refineries as they exist today and could forever end the United States’ dependence on foreign oil, he said.

J.C. Bell, who brought the world powdered peanut butter, has spent the last four years, identifying the bacteria that produces hydrocarbon and then finding a way to genetically alter it so that it could produce hydrocarbon in greater volume.

Bell cited a USDA study that projected it was possible to produce two billion tons of bio-mass that could be converted to hydrocarbon with some modification to agriculture and forestry practices.

(Click to read entire article)

Gov. David Paterson plans to do away with one of the two leadership posts within the Empire State Development Corporation (EDSC) as a way to unify the agency that oversees development throughout the state.

During a question-and-answer period in the New York Times Midtown headquarters, following a live interview before a packed auditorium with Times journalist Matt Bai, Paterson spoke of pending changes to the agency.

"You can't have an upstate economic development chair and a downstate one, which is what we have right now. We've got to have one chair on the Empire State Development Corporation, because we're one state," the governor said, when Bai asked about the city's economic responsibility to the rest of the state.

Bai was posing the question on behalf of a Buffalo resident viewing the hour-long interview and submitting his query via Web cast.

Paterson later told reporters that during a meeting it was decided "it sends a wrong message" to have two chairs of the agency.

"Not that there was anything wrong with the talent, but we felt that there was a problem with the structure. We also felt it sent the wrong message. This is one state," he said.

The former downstate chairman of the ESDC, Pat Foye, resigned in March when Gov. Eliot Spitzer stepped down amid a prostitution scandal.

The upstate chairman, Dan Gundersen, still holds his post.

"I'm sure one person can be sensitive to these issues all around the state," Paterson said, pointing out that the federal government only has one secretary of commerce and one housing chair.

Paterson said Gunderson is not leaving and did not get into specifics on staffing changes to the agency.

The governor is looking to have just one statewide economic development boss - leaving uncertain the future of Daniel Gundersen, the Buffalo-based co-chairman of the Empire State Development Corp.

The move has some upstate officials worried that the new Paterson administration will return to the Manhattan-centered approach that dominated economic development efforts in the state for decades. They voiced concern that rhetoric about pushing an upstate economic revival might be less achievable without adequate power being given to the person promoting the upstate region to businesses.

Governor David Paterson could eliminate the Upstate Empire State Development Corporation and the upstate post of Dan Gundersen, according to the Buffalo News.

I'm worried about this for a few reasons. First, Eliot Spitzer made upstate a focus and Gundersen was in that post because of Spitzer. As much as this state wants to separate itself from Spitzer, the work Spitzer did with upstate is what should be followed by every governor that follows him - including Paterson.

Also, I'm concerned about who is influencing this decision. I don't believe Paterson, unilaterally, would make such a decision. He has showed that he is willing to work with upstate and on behalf of upstate to address our economic concerns.

One thing is clear: Gundersen was good for upstate. I sat in on a conference call after the budget was finalized and Gundersen talked about the upstate economic initiatives. He knows what's going on up here. We need Gundersen in that post.

Group critical of wind farms

Coalition would keep watch on state energy policy issues

By Matt Surtel

Jim Hall has a philosophy. The 60-year-old Steuben County resident is part of Cohocton Wind Watch one of numerous small-town groups opposing wind farms proposed in their communities.

Each group is up against the same cookie cutter” approach when a wind energy developer enters their town with a potential project, Hall says. And they’re often re-inventing the wheel in their efforts.

Hail is among those organizing the Citizen Power Alliance. The coalition of groups and activists aims to address the bigger, state issues involved in energy projects and policy.

The CPA will conduct an organizational meeting the morning of May 18 at Letchworth State Park.

We’re not limited to strictly wind issues,” Hall said Wednesday. “We’re an environmental and energy alternative group that encompasses energy and environmental policy primarily in New York State but we have members outside the state ax well.”

The CPA includes 14 member groups so far, including Citizens for a Healthy Rural Neighborhood of Perry. They’re primarily based in Western New York, though the CPA is a statewide group, with other members in New Hampshire and Ohio.

“The alliance coalition has been organizing over the past several months,” Hall said. The Letchworth gathering is more a get-together because we don’t have a tremendous amount of opportunity where people can see each other face-to-face.”

Members will discuss which directions they’d like to pursue, along with organizing leadership and committees.

Eminent domain and the state’s proposed Article X legislation are among the CPA’s biggest concerns. Hall said.

The former has traditionally been used by the government to seize land for public developments such as highways and hospitals. But it’s more recently been used for commercial development, and CPA members fear eminent domain could be used for projects benefiting private companies, and which are not in the public interest.

Article X was developed to speed up the review process for determining the locations of new power plants, but expired in 2003. Proposals to renew the law are under way at the state level, and opponents have often cited fears it would take away local control over wind farms and other projects.

“Were really concerned home rule will be thrown aside and New York state will allow siting of all kinds of power projects, without taking into consideration the local economics and environmental policy like (the State Environmental Quality Review process).”

State officials have denied Article X would allow indiscriminate siting of power projects.

Hall said the state’s pursuing the “fast track” for such projects, which would override local laws and ordinances passed by towns.

We’re looking for a sound environmental and energy policy on the state level,” he said. “We feel the current direction does not work.”

The state is pursuing policies which ignore all the implications of subsidies given to corporations, that won’t really produce the desired energy, he said. He cited energy credit trading and problems with turbine gearboxes at the Steel Winds project in Lackawanna.

The CPA members feel that’s fraud, he said.

Besides the existing member groups, the CPA has another 15 to 20 partner links on its Web Site, Hall said. He believes the group represents several thousand members cumulatively.

Those interested in working with the group will be able to attend the gathering, 9 am to 10 pm May 18 at the Middle Falls pavilion. It’s asked that those attending be constructive, and the CPA reserves the right ask disruptive people to leave.

“We’re quite interested to invite anyone who has interest in sound and community-based environmental interests and energy policy in New York State to attend,” Hall said. “We don’t keep secrets. Were very open.”

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