Energy - Rochester, NY area
The prospect of Climate Change for our area looms large and the extent of change will most probably be influenced by where we get our energy in the future.
Find out about energy and how it relates to Rochester. Also, discover alternative energy sources that are environmentally friendly. Rochester, because of its many schools of higher education, is becoming an innovative leader in developing many kinds of renewable energy sources.
Page Contents: Energy NewsLinks | Energy & Climate Change | Fracking & Energy and Environment |Wind Power | Solar Power| Tips & Help on Conserving Energy | Energy Information | Official Energy sites | Alternative Energy Information | Taking Action on Energy |Energy Blogs | Energy Essays |
Much of Rochester NY’s Climate and Environment Protection Resolution involves “increased use of alternative energy sources;” so if alternative energy sources aren’t really helping reduce greenhouse gases (GHG’s), then our focus on green energy could be wrong-headed. Of course, the use of alternative energy (renewable or green energy: solar, wind, geothermal, etc.) is not Rochester’s only strategy for ‘adapting to and mitigating Climate Change’* in our region. Nor is it the single silver bullet for other communities. There are also measures to “…reduce greenhouse gas emissions and increase energy efficiency…, green space preservation and Brownfield redevelopment, air and water quality improvements, reduced traffic congestion, economic development, [and] energy conservation.” (City of Rochester, NY)
However, many environmental groups, businesses, and governments herald green energy as the ‘we-can-still-have-it-all’ solution, the way to continue with our current lifestyle while solving the most important issue of our times, i.e., have our cake and eat it too. President Obama spoke on July 25, 2013, in his Remarks by the President on Climate Change, about the critical role renewable energy will play in reducing GHG’s and producing jobs for our country’s future. In doing so, the President probably triggered a political push-back on the green energy movement by deniers, because much of our country’s attitude on Climate Change is shaped by our dysfunctional political and communications systems.
Right here at home, a poorly written and badly researched article in our predominant newspaper despairing of renewable energy got a lot of attention: Rochester man puts solar panels on home to show waste (August 13, 2013) Rochester Democrat and Chronicle). First of all, I am sure the man who spent thousands of dollars to put solar panels on his house did not do so to ‘show waste’. Few have that kind of money to throw around merely to prove a point. The man in the article put solar power on his house to save money and live a sustainable lifestyle, but was dismayed that things didn’t work out. The article also failed to interview the solar industry, which knows how to install and place solar panels to maximize effectiveness. It failed to talk about the elephant in the room, the background that rules energy choices today, i.e. Climate Change. D&C’s national sibling, USA Today, has no issue with it:Satellite to track climate change (August 10, 2013 USA Today.) Nor did this article provide any opportunity for knowledgeable people to answer the negative allegations on green energy. Thirty years of evidence has shown that when the media provides data supporting Climate Change, they also unfailingly scour the planet to find a merchant of doubt to provide an ‘objective’ rebuttal for ‘balance’. Apparently, the converse does not hold in our warped media environment. [August 1203] more...
How we get our energy is one of the most important factors in Climate Change in our region. Using fossil fuels--gas, oil, coal, even biomass--creates even more greenhouse gas and warms our atmosphere. Read these reports and studies that link how we use energy to Climate Change:
- Special Report on Renewable Energy Sources and Climate Change Mitigation (SRREN) http://srren.ipcc-wg3.de/report/IPCC_SRREN_Full_Report "The IPCC 4th Assessment Report (AR4) covered the full range of mitigation options, which necessarily limited its treatment of renewable energy (RE) sources. Within the constraints of time and space, the AR4 showed that RE has the potential to contribute to the mitigation of climate change via the reduction of greenhouse gas emissions in the energy sector. Following the AR4, many governments as well as important actors in civil society and the private sector asked for more substantial information and broader coverage of all questions pertaining to the use of RE. As expressed by the interventions of many governments at the 25th Plenary Session of the IPCC at Mauritius – at which the scoping of an IPCC Special Report on Renewable Energies was approved - this is particularly true of certain countries and regions where specific information is lacking. Following the scoping meeting in Luebeck Germany in January, 2008, the outline of the IPCC WG III’s Special Report on Renewable Energy Sources and Climate Change Mitigation (SRREN) was approved at the IPCC Plenary in Budapest in April, 2008. "
- Integrated Assessment for Effective Climate Change Adaptation Strategies in New York State (Project Update.pdf) This project addresses a key issue identified in the EMEP research plan. Prior to devoting limited research dollars to intensive studies, an integrated assessment of potential impacts and adaptation strategies will be useful in identifying impacts and needs specific to New York. Working interactively with stakeholders, the assessment will identify critical vulnerabilities, climate risks, and adaptation strategies specific to NYS, for a range of key sectors: agriculture, coastal zones, ecosystems, energy, infrastructure, public health, and water resources. For each sector, the economic costs and benefits of impacts and adaptation strategies also will be assessed. Responding to Climate Change in New York State [5.67MB .pdf] text only [263KB .pdf]
UnWasteNY "unwasteNY is a public service of the New York State Public Service Commission (PSC) in collaboration with the New York State Energy Research and Development Authority (NYSERDA), electric and gas utilities, other state agencies, and community-based organizations. These organizations have joined forces to help New Yorkers see energy in a new light. unwasteNY is designed to help home and business owners across the state learn effective ways to eliminate energy waste by modifying behaviors, participating in do-it-yourself activities, and taking advantage of an array of New York State energy efficiency programs available to them. All New Yorkers are invited to join the unwasteNY, a groundbreaking online community where members can connect with others and share simple ways to unwaste. "
There are several expert and dedicated websites for finding out how to save money and save the planet through energy conservation.
- Get money to save energy: From the White House, find out about the Homestar Energy Efficiency Retrofit Program that will create jobs and save homeowners energy costs. Fact Sheet: Homestar Energy Efficiency Retrofit Program | The White House "Fact Sheet: Homestar Energy Efficiency Retrofit Program WASHINGTON--In his State of the Union address, the President called on Congress to pass a program of incentives for homeowners who make energy efficiency investments in their homes. Today, while touring a training facility at Savannah Technical College, the President outlined more details of a new “HOMESTAR” program that would help create jobs by encouraging American families to invest in energy saving home improvements. Consistent with the President’s call for a HOMESTAR program, the Senate Democratic leadership included a proposal of this kind as part of their Jobs Agenda released on February 4, 2010. The President looks forward to continuing to work with Members of Congress, business, environmental and labor leaders to enact a HOMESTAR program into law. "
- UnWasteNY "unwasteNY is a public service of the New York State Public Service Commission (PSC) in collaboration with the New York State Energy Research and Development Authority (NYSERDA), electric and gas utilities, other state agencies, and community-based organizations. These organizations have joined forces to help New Yorkers see energy in a new light. unwasteNY is designed to help home and business owners across the state learn effective ways to eliminate energy waste by modifying behaviors, participating in do-it-yourself activities, and taking advantage of an array of New York State energy efficiency programs available to them. All New Yorkers are invited to join the unwasteNY, a groundbreaking online community where members can connect with others and share simple ways to unwaste. "
- Official Google Blog: Power to the people "Imagine how hard it would be to stick to a budget in a store with no prices. Well, that's pretty much how we buy electricity today. Your utility company sends you a bill at the end of the month with very few details. Most people don't know how much electricity their appliances use, where in the house they are wasting electricity, or how much the bill might go up during different seasons. But in a world where everyone had a detailed understanding of their home energy use, we could find all sorts of ways to save energy and lower electricity bills. In fact, studies show that access to home energy information results in savings between 5-15% on monthly electricity bills. It may not sound like much, but if half of America's households cut their energy demand by 10 percent, it would be the equivalent of taking eight million cars off the road. "
- Home Energy Assistance Program (HEAP) | Office of Temporary and Disability Assistance HEAP may help you pay for Electricity, Propane, Natural Gas, Wood, Oil, Kerosene, Coal, or any other heating fuel. HEAP is a federally funded program that issues heating benefits to supplement a household’s annual energy cost. HEAP also offers an emergency benefit for households in a heat or heat related energy emergency. Additionally, HEAP offers a furnace repair and/or replacement benefit for households with inoperable heating equipment
- AskPSC - The Public Service Commission is responsible for the intake and resolution of consumer complaints involving New York's utilities (energy, telephone, cable and water) and competitive energy service companies operating in New York State.
- PROJECT-HOUSE.US Project H.O.U.S.E. is designed to be a comprehensive resource for anyone who is looking for information, motivation, organizations, etc. in regard to reducing our carbon footprint, saving money & energy, and sustaining a liveable planet. Please click on all the tabs to fully access the information and resources available to you on this site.
- Rochester Green Living Our goal is to help lower the environmental impact of the homes and lives of those living in the greater Rochester area. To reach that goal we provide workshops in sustainability, promote local green events, provide a free local resource in sustainable information, and create connections to other green organizations throughout New York. We hope we will be the first stop on your journey to a deeper understanding of sustainability.
- Energy Conservation Five Ways the Consumer Can Reduce Electricity Consumption, Reduce Electricity Bills and Reduce Harmful Air Emissions from Power Plants. --from HOME - OFFICE OF THE NEW YORK STATE ATTORNEY GENERAL ANDREW M. CUOMO
- Great Lakes Renewable Energy Association The Renewable Energy Association is a non-profit organization that educates, advocates, promotes, and publicly demonstrates renewable energy technologies. National interest in safe sustainable energy technologies is growing daily. With utility restructuring occurring all over the country, the opportunity for customer choice of greener energy consumption has never been greater. Will your choice mean greener energy? The Renewable Energy Association invites you to explore that possibility and learn about the world of renewable energy.
From Rochester Gas & Electric
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- Fuel Economy | US EPA Beginning with 2008 models, all fuel economy estimates based on new test methods, which EPA finalized in December 2006. The new methods better account for actual driving conditions that can lower fuel economy, such as high speed, aggressive driving, use of air conditioning, and cold temperature operation. The new estimates will give drivers a more accurate estimate of the fuel economy they are likely to achieve on the road. Because of the new methods, the estimates for most 2008 models will be lower than their 2007 counterparts. To aid consumers shopping for new cars, EPA has also redesigned the fuel economy window sticker posted on all new cars and light trucks to be easier to read and understand. --from U.S. Environmental Protection Agency
- Take the Green Ribbon Pledge to conserve energy for a secure future. Join the people who have taken the pledge to conserve energy for a secure future! There are hundreds of things you can do every day to reduce energy consumption. And cutting down energy use is the most important thing you can do to secure our future from the negative effects of unreliable, unstable and environmentally damaging energy sources.
- Ask PSC Welcome to the NYS Public Service Commission's consumer information website. Contact us at Ask A Question below or visit the NYS Department of Public Service. Ask PSC: Utility services:
- CLEAN AIR AND ENERGY PROJECT Fighting Global Warming and Reducing Energy Costs Past energy policy choices have saddled New Yorkers with a whole host of problems. Power plants are the state’s largest source of industrial air pollution, causing global warming, mercury contamination and unhealthy air quality. Volatile energy markets and skyrocketing costs are hammering consumers --from NYPIRG
- Alliance to Save Energy - A coalition of business, government, environmental, and consumer leaders who promote the efficient and clean use of energy worldwide. Lots of helpful tips, and true believers can sign up to have the "e-FFICIENCY NEWS" delivered to their e-mail boxes.
- Northeast Sustainable Energy Association The Northeast Sustainable Energy Association (NESEA) is the nations's leading regional membership organization focused on promoting the understanding, development, and adoption of energy conservation and non-polluting, renewable energy technologies. We work to bring clean electricity, green transportation, and healthy, efficient buildings into everyday use in order to improve the environment, protect human health, and nurture local economies. For more than a quarter century, NESEA has facilitated and enhanced a network of professionals, practitioners, and other citizens in pursuit of responsible energy use. Our programs and activities focus on the northeastern United States (from Washington, DC to Maine).
- Renew Penfield is a One Stop Resource for Energy Efficiency Savings Assistance and Incentives "RenewPenfield.org, a one-stop resource for members of our community who wish to learn more about energy conservation and opportunities to reduce home and business energy expenses. "
- How clean is the electricity I use? - Power Profiler | Clean Energy | US EPA "How clean is the electricity I use? - Power Profiler In the United States, electricity is generated in many different ways, with a wide variation in environmental impact. Electricity generation from the combustion of fossil fuels contributes toward unhealthy air quality, acid rain, and global climate change. Many electricity customers can choose their provider of electricity or can purchase green power from their utility. In fact, you might now have the option of choosing cleaner, more environmentally friendly sources of energy. Power Profiler will: Determine your power grid region based on your ZIP code and electric utility Compare the fuel mix and air emissions rates of the electricity in your region to the national average Determine the air emissions impacts of electricity use in your home or business " -from US Environmental Protection Agency
Knowing the impact of your Energy Source Matters: Check out this major study on how the burning of coal for our energy affects our health and environment. You can use interactive maps to Find Your Risk from Power Plant Pollution in your area. Many will avoid this study because it will make them uncomfortable about using our present energy sources, but they should read it. Much of the energy that we have used to heat our homes and light up our lights has taken a great toll on our health and our environment. It’s important to acknowledge this when making energy choices—or when we avoid backing renewable, non-pollution, choices like off-shore wind when they are offered in our area This report shows that much has been done to reduce the negative effects of coal and more needs to be done. It shows that governmental measures to reduce the pollution from coal work. But, it doesn’t show that moving to renewable energy wholesale would eliminate all of the effects of burning coal because the pollution affects of coal go further than just burning it. Digging it, transporting, and getting rid of the waste, and the removal of mountain tops all are a part of an energy source that needs to end. The Toll from Coal - Clean Air Task Force (CATF) "Among all industrial sources of air pollution, none poses greater risks to human health and the environment than coal-fired power plants. Emissions from coalfired power plants contribute to global warming, ozone smog, acid rain, regional haze, and–perhaps most consequential of all from a public health standpoint – fine particle pollution. In 2000 and again in 2004, the Clean Air Task Force commissioned comprehensive studies of health impacts caused by fine particle air pollution from the nation's roughly 500 coal-fired power plants. " (September 2010) Clean Air Task Force
Our area has energy options such as nuclear energy and natural gas and there are websites that offer information sources for them.
- RIT - The Sustainability Institute "The Sustainability Institute (TSI) at Rochester Institute of Technology is an exciting and wholly unique initiative. TSI will play a major role in enabling the transformation of global industrial enterprises into sustainable systems by undertaking comprehensive interdisciplinary initiatives in education, research, and technology transfer. Programs within the SI will take a holistic approach toward optimizing production and consumption systems by simultaneously addressing material flow, energy utilization, societal needs, ecological impacts, technology and policy factors, and the economics of sustainable business enterprises. Graduates of TSI will be prepared to effect meaningful change on a global scale."
- Cornell Cooperative Extension's Natural Gas Development Resource Center "The Cornell Cooperative Extension (CCE) Natural Gas Development Resource Center brings together information from a variety of sources, including academic research, industry analysis, local government officials and citizens. Our goal is to provide a space for dialogue and learning that will lead to informed decision making by all concerned parties."
- NRC: The U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC) is an independent agency established by the Energy Reorganization Act of 1974 to regulate civilian use of nuclear materials. NRC is headed by a five-member Commission. The NRC's mission is to regulate the Nation's civilian use of byproduct, source, and special nuclear materials to ensure adequate protection of public health and safety, to promote the common defense and security, and to protect the environment.
- US Nuclear Power Plant Addresses and WWW Sites This list identifies the owners and/or operating companies and Mapquest locations for US power plants. Maps are linked from plant names. Websites are linked from the company names.
- How does your choice of electricity affect our environment? Use these handy new tools by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) to locate your energy sources and how much coal, nuclear, or renewable energy they use. 03/08/2011: EPA Updates Database on Health and Environmental Impacts of Electricity Generation/ WASHINGTON -- The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency updated its database that helps Americans understand the health and environmental impacts of electricity generation. EPA’s Emissions and Generation Integrated Resource Database (eGRID) and Power Profiler now include data from 2007, an update from 2005. eGRID is a comprehensive database of emissions from almost all electric power generated in the United States. More information about eGRID: http://www.epa.gov/egrid More information about Power Profiler: http://www.epa.gov/powerprofiler
- New York Energy Highway "In his State of the State address, Governor Andrew M. Cuomo introduced the N.Y. Energy Highway, envisioned as a public-private initiative to upgrade and modernize New York State’s energy system. The Governor’s New York Energy Highway Task Force is issuing a Request For Information (RFI) to invite innovative ideas from interested parties, including the State’s investor-owned utilities, private developers, investors and other respondents. On April 19, 2012 the Task Force will hold a Conference of RFI Respondents and Interested Parties. The conference will include an overview of the Energy Highway initiative, details on the RFI process, and an opportunity to ask related questions. Attendance is encouraged, but not required for respondents to the RFI. "
Infographic: Ramping Up Renewables Renewable energy is growing rapidly and is already a significant source of electricity in many states and countries. View infographic The amount of electricity generated from renewable sources such as wind and solar power increased nearly four-fold in the United States from 2007 to 2012. Nine states currently generate 10 percent or more of their electricity from wind and solar power, including Iowa (24%), Minnesota (14%), Colorado (12%), and Oregon (10%). Nationwide, the U.S. generates only 3.6 percent of its electricity from wind and solar power, much less than many other countries, including Denmark (30%), Spain (19%), and Germany (15%). -from Union of Concerned Scientists
Governmental role in our Energy equation is represented by various institutions.
- NYSERDA - New York State Energy Research and Development Authority The New York State Energy Research and Development Authority (NYSERDA) is a public benefit corporation created in 1975 by the New York State Legislature. NYSERDA administers the New York Energy $martSM program, which is designed to support certain public benefit programs during the transition to a more competitive electricity market. Some 2,700 projects in more than 30 programs are funded by a charge on the electricity transmitted and distributed by the State's investor-owned utilities. The New York Energy $martSM program provides energy efficiency services, including those directed at the low-income sector, research and development, and environmental protection activities.
- New York Power Authority: We're the country's largest state-owned, nonprofit power organization, producing some of the cheapest electricity in North America. Our 17 generating facilities and over 1,400 circuit-miles of transmission lines produce the power to help sustain more than 400,000 jobs statewide. We are a national leader in promoting energy efficiency and the use of renewable-fuel and clean-energy technologies.
- Get Energy tips and news and policy from the US Department of Energy: Department of Energy - Homepage "The Department of Energy's overarching mission is to advance the national, economic, and energy security of the United States; to promote scientific and technological innovation in support of that mission; and to ensure the environmental cleanup of the national nuclear weapons complex. The Department's strategic goals to achieve the mission are designed to deliver results along five strategic themes: Energy Security: Promoting America’s energy security through reliable, clean, and affordable energy Nuclear Security: Ensuring America’s nuclear security Scientific Discovery and Innovation: Strengthening U.S. scientific discovery, economic competitiveness, and improving quality of life through innovations in science and technology Environmental Responsibility: Protecting the environment by providing a responsible resolution to the environmental legacy of nuclear weapons production Management Excellence: Enabling the mission through sound management Within these themes there are sixteen strategic goals which are designed to help DOE successfully achieve its mission and vision. "
- Energy Empowers "Welcome to Energy Empowers: an information service capturing the hearts and minds of the people building America's clean energy economy. The Department of Energy (DOE) recognizes the importance of discussing successful domestic outcomes within the clean energy sector. Here at Energy Empowers, we're telling your stories to give a glimpse of how, together, we are building America's new energy economy — by improving efficiency, by building sustainable businesses that create new jobs, and by dusting off age-old skills and using them in new ways to generate clean energy. It's our mission to put names and faces to the people who work on energy efficiency in the residential, commercial, and industrial sectors and renewable projects, including solar, wind and water, biomass, geothermal, and hydrogen and fuel cells, supported by the DOE and beyond. " - Department of Energy
New York Energy $mart(SM) NYSERDA's residential programs are programs that work - programs that help homeowners and renters reduce their energy costs; programs that help multifamily building owners provide energy-efficient apartments for their tenants; programs that reduce the impact homes have on the environment; and programs that provide training to contractors on how to provide quality energy efficiency services to their neighbors. Working with a select group of contractors, builders, multifamily partners, retailers, and manufacturers, we have created a statewide network of partners who offer energy efficiency solutions that can help reduce your energy usage and costs. Find the program that can help you become more energy efficient: Owners of Existing Homes Buyers of New Homes Low and Moderate Income Homeowners and Renters Renters Owners and Managers of Existing Multifamily Buildings Developers and Owners of Multifamily Buildings Teachers & Students Shoppers interested in Energy Efficient Products
Learn about the alternative energy ideas that may be coming to the Rochester, NY area
- Examining the feasibility of converting New York State’s all-purpose energy infrastructure to one using wind, water, and sunlight from Elsevier
- American Solar Energy Society: The Solar Nonprofit Advancing Education, Research, Advocacy, News, and Insight Since 1954 Established in 1954, the nonprofit American Solar Energy Society (ASES) is the nation's leading association of solar professionals & advocates. Our mission is to inspire an era of energy innovation and speed the transition to a sustainable energy economy. We advance education, research and policy. Leading for more than 50 years ASES leads national efforts to increase the use of solar energy, energy efficiency and other sustainable technologies in the U.S. We publish the award-winning SOLAR TODAY magazine, organize and present the ASES National Solar Conference and lead the ASES National Solar Tour – the largest grassroots solar event in the world.
- BCSE - The Business Council for Sustainable Energy was created in 1992 by the business leaders from the energy efficiency, renewable energy, natural gas, independent power and electric utility industries and is also committed to economic growth through sustainable energy development.
- Welcome to the Renewable Fuels Association As the national trade association for the U.S. ethanol industry, the Renewable Fuels Association (RFA) has been working as the "Voice of the Ethanol Industry" since 1981 to secure a strong marketplace for ethanol. Ethanol is sold nationwide as a high-octane fuel that delivers improved vehicle performance while reducing emissions and improving air quality. By reducing foreign oil imports, ethanol creates American jobs and provides value-added markets to bolster agriculture and rural America. In the midst of record growth, the ethanol industry will continue to play a larger role in meeting our nation's energy needs.
- Genesee Region Clean Communities Genesee Region Clean Communities is a U. S. Department of Energy sponsored program designed to encourage the use of alternative fuel vehicles (AFVs) and their underlying support systems throughout the Greater Rochester area. Our organization is built on the premise that we can change our communities for the better through cooperation and voluntary partnerships, working to reduce our reliance on imported oil and improve air quality. Through GRCC, we develop public/private partnerships to promote alternative fuels and vehicles, fuel blends, fuel economy, hybrid vehicles, and idle reduction
- NYSEIA - The only statewide non-profit membership and trade association dedicated solely to advancing solar energy use in New York State. The only statewide non-profit membership and trade association dedicated solely to advancing the solar energy industry in New York State
ENERGY STAR is a joint program of the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency and the U.S. Department of Energy helping us all save money and protect the environment through energy efficient products and practices. Results are already adding up. Americans, with the help of ENERGY STAR, saved enough energy in 2009 alone to avoid greenhouse gas emissions equivalent to those from 30 million cars — all while saving nearly $17 billion on their utility bills.
Groups in the Rochester area who mission is advocacy for alternative and better energy conservation
- Dealing with Light Trespass Problems in New York State - SELENE of NY Light pollution is rapidly degrading the sky's quiet majesty and our nighttime environment. Excessive and misdirected outdoor illumination wastes precious energy, resources, and dollars; it increases power plant-generated air pollution, causes glare that blinds drivers and pedestrians, intrudes onto our property, and invades our privacy. SELENE's mission is to advocate for better lighting practices in NY State and to ensure the passage of the The Healthy, Safe, and Energy Efficient Outdoor Lighting Act