Please ensure Javascript is enabled for purposes of website accessibility

New campaign aims to reduce carbon footprint

On Thursday, Sept. 23, Causewave Community Partners will unveil a new campaign to promote the use of carbon-free electricity to power the region’s buildings and vehicles.

AMPED, an initiative that was developed by a number of community partners including Climate Solutions Accelerator, Greater Rochester Clean Cities, New York State Pollution Prevention Institute, the city of Rochester and several others, will launch Thursday with a program at Imaginarium at I-Square in Irondequoit.

Event speakers include:
• Todd Butler, president and CEO, Causewave Community Partners
• Abby McHugh-Grifa, executive director, Climate Solutions Accelerator
• David Keefe, coordinator, Greater Rochester Clean Cities
• Tamara Mayberry, director of intergovernmental affairs, Empire State Development
• Scott Ensign, VP client solutions, Butler/Till
• Donna VonDerLinn, creative director, Butler/Till
• David Belaskas, director of engineering and facilities management, Regional Transit Service
• Michael Waller, director of sustainability, Rochester Regional Health
• Adrienne Pettinelli, director, Henrietta Public Library

The event also will include networking.

[email protected] / 585-653-4021
Follow Velvet Spicer on Twitter: @Velvet_Spicer

State and private colleges reach agreement on clean energy campaign

New York State and private colleges are linking arms to support cleaner energy.

The state announced on Tuesday a memorandum of understanding between the New York State Energy Research and Development Authority and the Commission on Independent Colleges and Universities, representing 100 institutions.

“Private colleges in New York are already at the forefront of research and development related to climate change and energy efficiency so we are excited to bring our expertise together with NYSERDA’s in this unique partnership,” said Mary Beth Labate, president of the CICU. “There is no issue of greater urgency or magnitude facing our state and our nation than climate change. It is only by bringing public and private resources together to collaborate that we will make progress toward sustainable solutions.”

The memo says the state agency and college association will work together to

  • Establish an energy committee of CICU volunteers and others to identify energy issues and opportunities for member colleges and universities
  • Create an inventory of the commission members’ carbon emissions.
  • Release a webinar series of NYSERDA programming for member colleges and universities
  • Develop and pilot clean energy and energy efficiency programs for the higher education sector
  • Promote NYSERDA workforce development and training programs in the college market.

Alicia Barton, president and CEO of NYSERDA said, “This MOU is another major step forward in Governor Cuomo’s steadfast commitment to decarbonizing the grid and bringing clean energy solutions for all New Yorkers. Our collaborative partnership will help New York State remain at the forefront of the battle against climate change and ensure all colleges and universities and their students across the state have the opportunity to benefit from the energy transition.”

Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo has set a goal for the state of zero carbon emissions by 2040 as part of New York’s New Green Deal, aimed at creating jobs while battling climate change.

[email protected]/(585) 363-7275

A move toward carbon-free electricity is growing in Rochester area

The power of bulk purchasing and carbon-free sources of energy are factors behind a wave of decisions local municipalities are making about buying electricity.

In the Rochester area, several communities have already agreed to engage with a community choice aggregator — an approved go-between that seeks power from non-carbon-producing sources of energy, such as wind, solar and nuclear power.

Brighton, Brockport, Irondequoit, Pittsford, Victor and Geneva have all agreed to go this route. Rochester’s City Council is considering the same.

Before last year, residential and business customers concerned about global warming basically had three choices. They could invest in and install their own electricity generation, such as solar panels. They could use information on their utility bills to opt out of the general mix of power production (including burning fossil fuels) and opt into forms of electricity that don’t add carbon to the atmosphere. Or they could rely on their utility companies to choose for them.

“Any consumer can choose where they want to pursue the electrons from,” said Sue Hughes-Smith, a principal of Roctricity, the local, administrative partner for JouleCommunity Power, the only community choice aggregator approved to operate in New York.  “We do the education piece. JouleCommunity Power will do the negotiating.”

A CCA essentially adds a fourth choice involving a municipality.

“This moves the decision from utilities to government,” Hughes-Smith said. With an entire community’s utility bills in hand, the CCA can seek bulk power deals. “Now you have a large number of households going to the energy market as one single voice,” she said. Working together under a single CCA, several communities can also influence the source of the power, not just the price, she said.

“Roctricity is interested in carbon-free energy,” Hughes-Smith said, so Joule will seek electricity produced by wind, solar, nuclear and other forms that don’t create carbon, she said. Consumers can still opt out, though. A spokesman for the New York State Energy Research and Development Agency, which has been promoting more sustainable forms of energy, said when a CCA program is initiated in a community, utility customers will receive instructions on how to choose not to participate if they wish.

Joule Assets has US offices in Westchester County, NY, and Oregon; and European offices in Belgium and Italy. Roctricity was formed by Rochester-area people who have been advocating for cleaner sources of energy with the Rochester People’s Climate Coalition.

Roctricity has several upcoming public meetings — two are required in each community that decides to go with a CCA — to share information about the change in electricity purchasing in local communities. They are:

  • Tuesday, Dec. 3, for Brighton, 7 to 8 p.m. at Rustic Village Apartments, at the complex’s entertainment center across from parking lot 12.
  • Thursday, Dec. 5, for Pittsford, 6:30 to 7:30 p.m. at the Pittsford Village Hall, 21 North Main St., Pittsford.
  • Wednesday, December 11, for Pittsford, 6:30 to 7:30 p.m., at the Pittsford Village Hall.

[email protected]/(585) 363-7275