Saturday, December 20, 2008

Green Jobs in Buffalo?

Whether it's to save the planet, or save money, going 'green' is in. Everyone and everything are going green. Certain blue-collar jobs and white-collar jobs are now being repurposed as green-collar jobs, or simply green jobs. Green jobs are becoming the rage across the country, and hopefully these new job opportunities will develop in Buffalo.

What is a green job? Green jobs are well-paid, career-track jobs that contribute directly to preserving or enhancing environmental quality. Such jobs are arising because of the need to address global warming pollution caused by burning fossil fuels, and also because of the need to develop sources of clean, renewable energy, like wind, solar and geothermal. Also, investment in energy efficiency can create new jobs, and at the same time help reduce global warming pollution. The table below lists a wide variety of representative jobs that are associated with several different strategies for green economic investment.

[click image to enlarge]
The table is from a report on a green economic recovery program which showed that a $100 billion investment in these areas over two years would result in 2 Million new jobs across the nation. This program would provide a major boost to the construction and manufacturing sectors throughout the U.S, and would have a very significant impact on New York’s labor market. There would be a net increase of 131,991 jobs, reducing New York’s unemployment rate to 3.8% in two years from 5.2% (June 2008). The full report on the impact of this economic recovery program on New York state is here.

Strong opportunities for creating green jobs are anticipated in the near future. President-elect Obama supports making strategic investments to catalyze private efforts to build a clean energy future. He also supports programs, like the Green Jobs Corps (see Web links on the right-side panel), that will provide youth participants with service opportunities to improve the energy efficiency of homes and buildings in their communities, and also with practical skills and experience in important career fields of expected high‐growth employment.

How about opportunities for green jobs and a Green Jobs Corps in Buffalo? Recently, NY State Assemblyman Sam Hoyt held a "Green Jobs Conference" in Buffalo. The text of his opening remarks is here, and the handout distributed at the conference is here. The conference brought together about 175 representatives from government agencies, businesses, and non-profit organizations to create a clear action plan for long-term success. Participants will continue to meet periodically in smaller groups to further develop job creation proposals and policy suggestions for consideration by state agencies. Hoyt is developing a proposal to create a concurrent green jobs and training corps program that would deconstruct, not demolish, abandoned houses in NY cities and reuse, not landfill, the recovered building materials, replicating Buffalo ReUse’s successful deconstruction model. We very much look forward to future developments on green jobs and training opportunities in Buffalo!

Monday, December 1, 2008

Business Gets Green: December 11th

On Thursday, December 11th, from 5:30 to 7:30pm at the Buffalo Museum of Science, Buffalo's Green Gold Development Corporation will host the 6th monthly session of Business Gets Green, a networking series for green businesses and businesses that want to explore going green. All are welcome and admission is Free. The session will feature presentations by:
  • David Lanfear, Bale-on-Bale Construction, on building a model green house, featuring superinsulation, solar hot water, photovoltaics, reclaimed materials, and a completely insulated slab with radiant heat. Video presentation.
  • David Majewski, Premium Services, will talk briefly about synergies in Low Impact Development (LID) that are continuing to grow as a result of green businesses communicating with each other.
Presentations at this session, like those at earlier Business Gets Green sessions, will be videotaped and shown on LCTV. To see videos of earlier presentations, check out the VideoWebWorks Business Gets Green Group on YouTube.

For more information, e-mail Bill Nowak at

Sunday, November 30, 2008

In the NEWS 11/29

West Valley cleanup could take 30 years - 11/27/2008
Phased shutdown is one of four alternatives unveiled in Department of Energy report
WASHINGTON — State and federal agencies are recommending a phased shutdown of the West Valley Nuclear Demonstration Project, a process that will take 30 more years.
Their report leaves many crucial issues unsettled, including which level of government is ultimately responsible for cleaning up the site and where radioactive waste would be shipped.
The full article by Douglas Turner is here.

Insulating your windows - 11/28/2008
Your Utility Bills by James Dulley
The savings from installing insulating shades and/or curtains often provides a much faster payback than expensive replacement windows.
The additional insulating value from indoor window coverings can range from R-1 to R-5, but the insulation is only part of the story. Insulating shades which have the edges trapped in vertical side tracks are most effective. This reduces the room air flow around the shade and across the cold glass. Read more here.

Pedestrians and bicyclists get place in road plans - 11/28/2008
Nondrivers vital to green road mind-set
Bicyclists, walkers and people pushing baby strollers have a right to the road, some green-minded people say, as they urge Erie County and City of Buffalo officials to see streets as paths for people, not just vehicles.
“The whole idea is to make sure that if people are walking and cycling, they are provided with a safe place to do so, and that we think about people before thinking about moving automobiles from Point A to Point B,” said Justin S. Booth, director of Green Options Buffalo.
The full article by Matthew Spina is here.

Everybody's Column
- 11/29/2008
Devise a plan to repair tattered infrastructure
"How about a “big idea” plan to bring our electrical grid into the 21st century? And include in the plan the requirement that all materials, parts and machinery be produced in the United States and that one must be a U. S. citizen to be employed by this massive endeavor." The full letter is here.
~Art Borgeson

Timing traffic lights will help fuel efficiency
"It is increasingly frustrating to do everything I can to practice fuel-efficient driving and still have to stop at nearly every single light. It’s time for better design so we can eliminate part of our dependence on oil." The full letter is here.
~Leslie Latham

Thursday, November 20, 2008

Business Gets Green V: Videos

The fifth session of Business Gets Green was held on October 16 at the Buffalo Museum of Science. Links to Videos of the presentations are listed below.

Featured Presentations:
Three Presentations are included in one Video below:
Videos are courtesy of LCTV and videographer Jon Allen.

For more information on Business Gets Green, e-mail Bill Nowak

Sunday, November 16, 2008

Green Jobs Conference

NY State Assemblyman Sam Hoyt
will host a
  • WHEN: Saturday, November 22, 8am to Noon
  • WHERE: Erie Community College, 121 Ellicott St, Buffalo
The Green Jobs Conference will be an in-depth discussion of how we can overcome existing obstacles, including lack of training and a need to recruit new employers, to create new jobs at all skill and wage levels. Economic growth based on careers for “green” industries has the potential to create both long-term fiscal stability for the region and a healthier, more environmentally-conscious community. Topics will include community revitalization, manufacturing, transportation, energy, creating opportunities and industries, training programs, waste management and recycling, public awareness and education, public health and food. The conference is open to the public.

For more information on how Green Jobs benefit the economy, Click Here.

Thursday, November 13, 2008

Regional Conference on Building ReUse

Buffalo ReUse and the Building Materials Reuse Association are co-sponsoring the Great Lakes Building ReUse Conference in Buffalo, NY. This will be the first regional conference on developing and implementing building deconstruction and other creative solutions to address problems and solutions surrounding vacant and abandoned structures.

The purpose of the conference is to share creative strategies that foster community, develop job opportunities, and strengthen the local economy for all residents. Participants include community activists, students, policymakers, architects, city planners, grant makers, funders, contractors, building owners and other people eager to initiate and expand programs that employ building reuse and vacant property stabilization in "rust belt" cities surrounding the Great Lakes and throughout the country.

WHEN: Sunday, November 16 to Tuesday, November 18

WHERE: Hyatt Regency Buffalo, Two Fountain Plaza [ Map is HERE ]


Monday, Nov. 17: Tyree Guyton & Jenenne Whitfield of The Heidelberg Project
Tuesday, Nov. 18: Mayor Jay Williams of Youngstown, Ohio

WORKSHOPS: Six on Monday, Nov. 17, and three on Tuesday, Nov. 18 [ Click HERE ]

Tuesday, Nov. 18: 5–7pm
Local Vacant Property Summit. Buffalo residents and local policymakers strongly encouraged to attend. Moderated by Michael Groman of Pennsylvania Horticultural Society and Anthony Armstrong of LISC Buffalo.
[Note added on 11/15: A story about Michael Groman's work on greening Philadelphia appears in today's Buffalo News]

Several registration levels - including nonprofit and student rates - are available.
For more information, send E-mail or call 716.885.4131

Sunday, November 2, 2008

Help Him Change the World

"We can choose hope over fear, unity over division; the promise of change over the power of the status quo. I’m Barack Obama. If you give me your vote on Tuesday, we won’t just win this election – together, we will change this country and Change the World." -- Senator Obama, Democratic Radio Address, Nov. 1, 2008

The Buffalo News will cover the election live on the Web. Following the election on Tuesday, Nov. 4, Barack Obama will appear in Chicago's Grant Park to deliver a speech. Hopes are high among many Americans, including me, that election day will end with a victory speech in Grant Park and a real celebration. If we want it, we can make it happen by getting out the Vote for Obama!

The possibility of an election day celebration in Chicago's Grant Park reminds me of a song from the early 70's, "Saturday in the Park", by the rock group that bears the city's name, Chicago. It's an upbeat song mixed with some politically-charged phrases of the day, like "listen children, all is not lost", and "will you help him change the world". I hope that the celebratory feeling of the song will reflect the election outcome. Check out the song and video here.

Help him change the for Barack Obama on Tuesday, Nov. 4.

The Buffalo News has endorsed Obama. The News has a Web page for voters that provides a convenient comparison of Obama's and McCain's stands on a variety of policy issues. The Web page is here. It also shows the News endorsements for local election contests including Congress, State Senate and Assembly, District Attorney and State Supreme Court. Check it out, and get out and vote on Tuesday!

Polling Place Finder and Map: click here

Sunday, October 26, 2008

Great Lakes: Restore the GREATness

The Great Lakes basin contains 90% of the surface fresh water in North America, and 20% of the world's supply. Unfortunately, the Great Lakes aren't doing so great these days. Sewage from surrounding cites, toxic sediments, and invasive species are diminishing the quality of the water. The pollution and environmental destruction have raised cries from many who advocate that a major cleanup of our precious waterways is long overdue. Promises were made by President Bush in his 2004 re-election campaign, but little money to actually perform the cleanup has been provided by the federal government.

The Great Lakes basin in the U.S. includes New York, Illinois, Michigan as well as five other states that are crucial in the current presidentional race: Ohio, Pennsylvania, Indiana, Minnesota, and Wisconsin. Senator McCain is said to be for a cleanup, but has yet to put forward a plan. Senator Obama is a co-sponsor of legislation to implement the restoration of the Great Lakes, a part of his environmental plan. Heather Zichal, Obama's energy and environmental policy director, has said that Obama, hailing from a Great Lakes state, understands the lake's dire situation and would give them top billing. For the full story in the Buffalo News, click here.

The Great Lakes are a vital part of our environment. The lakes are the source of fresh water for millions of people, and they support regional agriculture, recreation, tourism and a muti-billion dollar fishing industry. The waterways are also economically important for hydropower, shipping and manufacturing. Restoring a healthy environment by cleaning up the Great Lakes needs to be strongly supported by our next president. The League of Conservation Voters gave Senator McCain a very low lifetime rating based on important environmental legislation, while Barack Obama was given the highest lifetime rating. McCain has no environmental plan on his website, while Obama does. To read Obama's environmental plan, including a section on "Restore the Great Lakes", click here. Obama has also proposed a trust fund towards implementing the full restoration of the Great Lakes.

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

Political Candidates discuss Sustainability

Candidates confirmed to attend are Jerry Schad , Sam Hoyt,
Alice Kryzan and Joe Mesi.

MAP to Allen Hall is HERE.

This event is sponsored by the student-led
UB Environmental Network

For more on Sustainability, and an informative and clever video, click here.

Sunday, October 19, 2008

Buffalo News: Obama for President

Buffalo News -- EDITORIAL -- Sunday, Oct.19, 2008

Obama for President

Voters should seize the chance to elect a transformative leader

The only thing we have to fear, a great president once said, is fear itself. Barack Obama is not afraid. Concerned. Alert. Maybe even a little alarmed. But the Democratic candidate for president of the United States is not afraid and, of perhaps even more importance, he does not seek to be elected by making us afraid.

If Americans want a future where our leaders respond to challenges with judgment and principle, rather than panic and rashness, they will elect Barack Obama president. We recommend they do so.

For the full endorsement, visit

Many Americans agree with the endorsement. Yesterday, a record crowd of 100,000 people turned out in St. Louis, MO, to hear Senator Obama speak!
A picture is below, and the full text of the speech is HERE.

[click to enlarge]

Saturday, October 18, 2008

Local Candidates endorsed by NYLCV

The New York League of Conservation Voters, the political voice for New York's environmental community, has announced its "green" slate of candidates for the Nov. 4, 2008 general election.

"Now more than ever, we need innovative elected officials who will lead the fight against climate change, end our dependence on foreign oil and create a new ‘green' economy," said Marcia Bystryn, president of the New York League of Conservation Voters. "Members of our 2008 slate understand these challenges and will help lead New York State toward a cleaner, greener future."

Local candidates endorsed by NYLCV include, Alice Kryzan for Congress, Antoine Thompson and William Stachowski for State Senate, as well as Sam Hoyt and Mark Schroeder for State Assembly. Click on the candidate's name for links that include district maps and information about each candidate's eco-accomplishments and agenda to combat climate change and other environmental issues. To see a list of all the endorsed candidates from Western and Central NY, with links to their district maps and additional information, click here.

For additional information on the local election races reported in the Buffalo News, click here.

Sunday, October 12, 2008

Business Gets Green: October 16th

The next session of Business Gets Green will be Thursday, October 16th, at the Buffalo Museum of Science from 5:30 to 7:30 PM. There is no admission fee.

Business Gets Green has been an exciting and dynamic series where businesses get to network, learn about going green, and promote themselves all at the same time! The lineup for major presentations at October's session will feature:

Paul Vargovich, Jr., National Solar Technologies:
NST is a WNY manufacturer of renewable lighting and power systems for a multitude of applications. These include portable power systems, commercial power systems, street lighting, parking lot lighting, area/walkway lighting, flood lighting and custom-engineered lighting and power systems. NST is a GSA Contractor that provides its products and services throughout the US Federal Government.

Judy Einach, Exec. Director, NY Sustainable Agriculture Working Group
Erwin Rakoczy, Maker of Fine Hard Ciders, Farmers' Market Aficionado
Christa Glennie Seychew, Founder of Feed Your Soul, exclusive culinary events:
Strengthen Our Local Food System & Grow the Green Economy is the title of this presentation. It will offer insight into the role and impacts of a strengthened local food system on the regional economy, provide an overview of the proliferation of farmers' markets and what this means to farmers, consumers and the local economy, and report on recent activities and planned activities connecting local farmers with local chefs and consumers.

Andy McLellan and David Scott, UNYS / Environmental Education Associates, Inc.:
Since 1987, EEA has been training workers to safely handle and remove asbestos, lead, mold and other hazards. They are the largest environmental certification training provider in Upstate New York.

Kerri Bentkowski, Buffalo Niagara Riverkeeper:
The presentation will highlight the Riverkeeper campaign to distribute thousands of rain barrels to collect rainwater and cut the impact of polluting storm water runoff. This is an exciting, readily available, low tech tool that businesses and homeowners can use to reduce their environmental footprint.

Those interested in giving a 1 to 2 minute filmed introduction of their business or organization at the beginning of this session should contact Bill Nowak at

Business Gets Green is sponsored by the Green Gold Development Corp.


sponsored by the
WNY Climate Action Coalition
  • When: Wednesday, October 15, 7 pm. Refreshments at 6:30pm
  • Where: Unitarian Universalist Church of Buffalo, Elmwood Ave at West Ferry St.

FIGHTING GOLIATH: To see the film trailer, click here.
"The heart of this film is really about the issues of health, future generations, and the value of our own land and resources. The film was made to support the story of the Texas coalition and their struggle against a giant power company. It is our way of giving other states and communities a model for what can happen when people take personal responsibility and get results. We want people to know that they don’t have to give up hope."
- Robert Redford, Film Narrator

BLOOD AND OIL: To see the film trailer, click here.
The notion that oil motivates America's military engagements in the Middle East is often disregarded as nonsense or mere conspiracy theory. In Blood and Oil, bestselling author and Nation magazine defense correspondent Michael T. Klare challenges this conventional wisdom and corrects the historical record. Blood and Oil calls for a radical re-thinking of US energy policy, warning that unless we change direction, we stand to be drawn into one oil war after another as the global hunt for diminishing world petroleum supplies accelerates.

WNY Climate Action Coalition meetings are open to the public. Meetings are held at the Unitarian-Universalist Church of Buffalo at 7 PM on the third Wednesday of every month, and the WNYCAC is grateful to the church’s Social Justice Task Force for its sponsorship. For more information, contact Walter Simpson,

Tuesday, October 7, 2008

Business Gets Green IV: Videos

The fourth session of Business Gets Green was held on September 18th at the Buffalo Museum of Science. Links to Videos of the presentations are listed below.

Featured Presentations:
Short Presentations: click here

Videos are courtesy of LCTV and videographer Jon Allen.

The next session of Business Gets Green will be held on October 16th. If you are interested in giving a 1 to 2 minute filmed introduction of your business or organization at the beginning of this session, please let Bill Nowak know via email at

Business Gets Green is sponsored by the Green Gold Development Corporation.

Tuesday, September 30, 2008

Green JOBS: Buffalo ReUse

BUFFALO ReUSE Inc is seeking extraordinary community builders with experience in urban agriculture, land use planning, and developing best practices of green space management. Responsibilities consist of installing and managing community gardens and events/educational programming related to the urban agriculture.
Complete job description and contact information are HERE.

Sunday, September 14, 2008

Environmental Summit at Daemen College

4th Annual Environmental Summit
"My Environment, My Choice"

This FREE event will include multiple workshops to address questions about greening your home and promoting environmental responsibility. The full AGENDA is here.

WHEN: Saturday, September 27, 8:30AM to 12:30PM
WHERE: Daemen College, 4380 Main St., Amherst, NY [Town MAP]
MEETING: Wick Center [Campus MAP]

REGISTER: Click here, or Phone 839-8524.
An event FLYER is here.

The Summit will include a "GREEN JOBS NOW" event hosted by Brenda Young as part of a National Day of Action. The local Apollo Alliance chapter will have an informational table and speak briefly about green jobs. For more information, and to register, click here.

GREEN JOBS NOW is project of Green for All, 1Sky, and the WE Campaign.

Riverkeeper Jobs & Internships

Buffalo Niagara Riverkeeper has several openings for jobs and internships:
"Everyone has the RIGHT to clean water"

Saturday, September 6, 2008

Alice Kryzan for Congress

Alice Kryzan is a Democratic candidate for the 26th Congressional District. She is an experienced attorney and has lived in the district for over 30 years. Alice Kryzan has developed a comprehensive plan to create new jobs that will help achieve energy security while preserving our environment. She will work to bring an end to American involvement in the war in Iraq, and be an advocate for returning security and prosperity to the middle class families in Western New York.

Alice Kryzan has the endorsement of the NY League of Conservation Voters, former Rep. John LaFalce, local environmentalists, and the National Organization of Women PAC.

Vote for Alice Kryzan in the Democratic Primary on Tuesday, September 9!

Find your polling place HERE.

NY District 26 MAP

Business Gets Green: Session IV

The next session of Business Gets Green will be Thursday, September 18 at the Buffalo Museum of Science from 5:30 to 7:30 PM. If you are interested in giving a 1 to 2 minute filmed introduction of your business at the beginning of this session, please e-mail Bill Nowak at .

Cheryl Zanghi
, Director, Buffalo's Green Hospitality Initiative, wherein the Convention and Visitor's Bureau is working with local hotels and others to provide a green and clean experience for visitors to conventions and conferences in WNY.

Frank Kennedy, from one of the original local Green Gold businesses, will discuss his patented insulated block, which has been used to build over one hundred highly energy-efficient buildings throughout the US. Thermal insulated block offers a tremendous opportunity for builders, developers, architects, and engineers to reduce our carbon footprint using a proven, available, economical alternative to standard block.

David Hahn Baker, a member of the Green Gold board,is a consultant to the Community Action Organization which for over 40 years has administered the county's Head Start programs. Dave is helping design CAO's environmental program which is working on projects to prevent lead poisoning, foster brownfield redevelopment, educate the community on environmental issues, reduce exposure to air pollutants, and foster urban agriculture.

Dave Bauer, President of Sustainable Earth Solutions, where in the empowerment and training of youth and small business owners is used to achieve sustainable action plans on environmental issues. SES applies the world-wide, research-based model of creative problem solving in achieving its clients' goals.

Business Gets Green is sponsored by the Green Gold Development Corporation.

EVENT: Sustainability for Tomorrow

The Green Future and You!

Blue Green Alliance ~ Town Hall Meeting
  • When: September, 24, 2008
  • Where: Buffalo Historical Society (map is here)
  • Time: 6pm-9pm
Speakers will include:
  • NY State Senator Antoine Thompson
  • County Legislator Bob Reynolds (Solar Energy)
  • Walter Simpson (Energy Audits)
  • Bob Knoer (Climate)
  • Bill Nowak (Wind Action Group)
  • Bruce Herman - Dep. Commissioner of Workforce, DOL
This event is sponsored by the Blue Green Alliance, the United Steelworkers, the Sierra Club, and Green Jobs for America.

Sunday, August 17, 2008

Environmental Row: Elmwood Arts Festival

Saturday, August 23, 10am-7pm
Sunday, August 24, 11am-5pm


Go to Elmwood & Auburn [see map]
Learn about wind and solar power, preserving our waterways, re-using building materials, green transportation, and buying local food and goods. Solar panels supplied by Sunweaver and Solar Liberty will provide electricity for two stage events.

Click on an Artistic logo below to visit the exhibitor's Web site.

BUFFALO Recycles
For further information visit Web pages at

Saturday, July 26, 2008


Huntley dream was just too speculative
Clean-coal technology was pricey, unproven
By David Robinson NEWS BUSINESS REPORTER Updated: 07/20/08
At first glance, the advanced coal power plant proposed for the Huntley Station in the Town of Tonawanda seemed like a good solution to some of America’s energy problems. Use America’s abundant — and relatively affordable — supply of coal to generate electricity in a groundbreaking new way that would keep the carbon dioxide that causes global warming from spewing into the atmosphere. But the reality was far different for the Huntley Station project — and at least 11 other similar plants that had been on drawing boards across the country. Read more...

Power project short-circuits
Loss of Huntley clean-coal effort hurts, but the numbers simply didn’t add up
EDITORIAL Updated: 07/19/08
It’s a shame it had to come to cancellation, but the decision to abandon plans to build a technologically advanced clean-coal generating plant in Tonawanda looks like the right move. When the science is uncertain and the cost is prohibitive, few other choices remain, especially when the state — which would have to subsidize the project — is already facing a massive deficit. Read more...

Gore calls end of fossil fuel reliance key to resolving economic crisis
By Dina Cappiello - ASSOCIATED PRESS Updated: 07/18/08
WASHINGTON — Former Vice President Al Gore called Thursday for a “man on the moon” effort to switch all of the nation’s electricity production to wind, solar and other carbon-free sources within 10 years, a goal that he said would solve global warming as well as economic and natural security crises caused by dependence on fossil fuels. Read more...
Video and text of Gore's speech are here.

Scrapped coal plant would have cost taxpayers at least $175 million a year
Huntley Station project also would have relied on unproven technology
By David Robinson NEWS BUSINESS REPORTER Updated: 07/17/08
State officials pulled the plug Wednesday on a proposed $1.6 billion advanced coal project that would have brought more than 1,000 construction and operating jobs to the Town of Tonawanda, saying the electrical generating plant would cost taxpayers too much and relied on technology that remains unproven. Read more...

Lackawanna project needs hard look
Coal-to-synthetic gas plant sounds good but waste-carbon process is incomplete
EDITORIAL Updated: 07/11/08
Everybody wants to be in on the ground floor of the next big thing. The question about the proposed Lackawanna Clean Energy project is whether it is the wave of the future or a delusional last gasp for the carbon-based economy. That is the question that will need to be pondered as state officials consider environmental permits for the project and when, and if, project managers seek anything in the way of public funding or tax breaks. Read more...
Proposal for synthetic gas plant at Bethlehem Steel site raises both hopes and doubts. NEWS report by Stephen T. Watson is here.

New Under The Sun

Outrages & Insights Blog By James Heaney 7/10/08
Ah, progress. The mainstream economic development agencies are waking up to the potential of the green economy. Buffalo Niagara Enterprise has launched a campaign to attract solar manufacturers to the region, piggy-backing on plans by Globe Metals to open a plant in Niagara Falls next year to produce high-grade silicon, the key material for the panels. Read more...

Thursday, July 24, 2008

Business Gets Green: Session III

The third session of Business Gets Green was held on July 17th at the Buffalo Museum of Science. Bill Nowak, meeting organizer and Executive Director of Green Gold Development Corp., said:
"At this session we started focusing on synergies - the ways that businesses can use each other's products and services. Premium Services and Indoor Air Professionals each had great examples of partnerships they've developed as a result of Business Gets Green sessions. Personally, I had Jeff Ingersoll from Ingersoll Painting & Construction over to give me an estimate of a solar hot water heating system as a result of hearing him at Business Gets Green."
Dave Majeski of Premium Services listed numerous examples of the synergies arising as a result of Business Gets Green sessions, as shown in this video.

Videos of the featured presentations:
  • Nathan Rizzo, Solar Liberty Energy Systems, Inc., Solar Energy Installation in Buffalo
  • Paul Pfieffer, Buffalo Niagara Enterprise (BNE), Director of Investor and Public Relations, BNE and Renewable Energy
  • John Beckinghausen, HSBC Bank's North American Director for Sustainability, Greening of HSBC
  • Cheryl Zanghi, Director, Buffalo's Green Hospitality Initiative, Greening the Convention and Hospitality Industry.
Videos of short presentations are here.

Videos are courtesy of LCTV and videographer Jon Allen.
Check back later for more videos.

Business Gets Green is sponsored by the Green Gold Development Corporation.

Saturday, July 12, 2008

Wind Power: More Onshore! Offshore too?

Look for more wind turbines at Steel Winds in the future. Thirteen more will be added to the old Bethlehem Steel site by 2009 or 2010, depending on equipment availability. In addition, five wind turbine towers will be erected at a new site along the Lake Erie shore in Hamburg. That's a total of 26 local generators of electricity fueled by no-cost, non-polluting, wind power! The full Buffalo News report is here.

In addition to onshore turbines, wind power advocates are promoting the idea of offshore wind turbine towers in Lake Erie. There is a lot of wind power to be harvested offshore in a region extending up to 3 to 6 miles out. Offshore wind power is already well developed in Europe at 21 different sites, and at least 11 sites in the U.S. are under consideration. Canada is considering offshore wind in Lake Ontario. For the full Buffalo News report, click here.

An earlier post here described a UB report urging NY State to develop a comprehensive plan for offshore wind power. It's time to move forward on the offshore plans. A contract was announced recently to build the nation's first offshore field of wind turbines in the Atlantic Ocean. 150 wind turbines will be anchored in the seafloor about twelve miles off the coast of Delaware. The CNN report is here.

Someday we'll be able to take an Electric boat tour on Lake Erie to see the wind turbines and view other areas. A fleet of electric water taxis is envisioned for the Buffalo waterfront, according to John Montague, executive director of the Buffalo State Maritime Center. The quiet, battery-run boats will depend on solar and wind energy for power...electrifying! Click here for the News report.

Sunday, June 29, 2008

'Clean Coal': a New Way to Pollute the Planet

Big Coal has lots of money to advertise the myth of 'clean coal' and fool some of the public. Coal companies would like to build new coal-fired power plants first, and test later whether or not they can actually 'clean' the coal by removing the global warming pollution and other pollutants. Coal lobbyists have fooled some governmental officials as well as the Presidential candidates to think that clean coal is real. But Big Coal can't fool all of the people all of the time. The chorus of people who say that there is no such thing as clean coal grows larger and louder every day! The Buffalo News "gets it", as evidenced by today's editorial that exposes the many 'ifs' associated with the unproven, 'clean coal' technology proposed for Jamestown, NY.

NY Governor Paterson and his advisers need to "get it" too. It makes no sense to back the Jamestown clean coal initiative with $6 Million before finding out the results of a much less costly initiative to determine whether the capturing and sequestering carbon dioxide is even feasible, let alone economical, environmentally safe and permanent.

Hooker Chemical Company previously thought that burying toxic chemicals in clay vaults would be safe too, but they were completely wrong. Remember Love Canal in the city of Niagara Falls? The toxic chemicals LEAKED out, and the people in the neighborhood suffered the consequences. Pumping toxic concentrations of carbon dioxide underground under pressure is no different in principle. It's just another way to pollute the planet.

What if toxic concentrations of buried carbon dioxide were to LEAK out? A leak of toxic concentrations of carbon dioxide buried under a crater lake in an extinct volcano did occur in Cameroon. Almost 1,800 people living around Lake Nyos died by suffocation. Scientists concluded that carbon dioxide, trapped at the bottom of the lake, had suddenly risen to the surface due to 'lake overturn'. The report is here.

Another major concern is what will be the impact of newly-built coal-fired power plants on global warming and climate change if the carbon dioxide (CO2) can not be sequestered? According to climate scientist, Dr. James Hansen, "Coal will determine whether we continue to increase climate change or slow the human impact. As oil resources peak, coal will determine future CO2 levels." Hansen favors a moratorium on building new coal-fired power plants in the absence of a proven method for carbon dioxide capture and sequestration.

Let's forget about the 'clean coal' myth and the old fossil fuel economy, and push for a real clean energy economy, creating new jobs involving renewable energy sources like wind, geothermal and solar, that emit no global warming pollution.

Monday, June 23, 2008

Business Gets Green: Session II

The second session of Business Gets Green was held on June 19th at the Buffalo Museum of Science. When asked for his thoughts on the session, Bill Nowak, meeting organizer and Executive Director of Green Gold Development Corp., said:

"When we got 80 folks to the first Business Gets Green session, I was impressed. At the 2nd one there were 90 folks, the featured speakers were truly excellent, the 20 businesses that introduced themselves were fascinating, and the networking was enthusiastic and extensive."

Eric Posa, President of DocuSyst, said that the session was " of the best events that I have been to in a long time. It was very refreshing to learn about the projects and services in the Buffalo area that are helping to bring positive change."

Dave Majewski, President of Premium Services Inc. and a featured speaker, was highly enthusiastic about the session. He said "WOW on last night it was @#$%&$ WOW! How interesting and educational." As a direct result of his presentation and networking following the session, he will be partnering or working with three business as well as with UB, ECC and Daemen College. WOW!

Videos of the featured presentations:
Green Shorts: Videos of the short presentations:
A list of participating Businesses with contact information is here.

Videos of presentations are courtesy of LCTV and videographer Jon Allen.

Analysis of featured presentations by James Heaney of the Buffalo News is here.

Business Gets Green is sponsored by the Green Gold Development Corporation. Save the date for the next Session on July 17, featuring John Beckinghausen, HSBC's North American Director for Sustainability.
Reminds me of an earlier blog I wrote on sustainability that links to an informative and cute video (5 stars).

Friday, June 13, 2008

Candidates address Climate Change, June 18

WNY Climate Action Coalition


The 26th Congressional District seat is currently held by retiring Congressman Tom Reynolds. All announced candidates have been invited to attend to present their positions and intended policies to address the pressing issue of climate change.

Please come join the conversation and see if you are inspired to volunteer on one of their campaigns!

Wednesday, June 18, 7 PM
Unitarian-Universalist Church of Buffalo
Elmwood Ave at West Ferry St

Refreshments will be served at 6:30 PM
Click here for a printable flyer

Thursday, June 12, 2008

Socially Responsible Investing, June 17th

HSBC is holding a
Socially Responsible Investing Seminar

9:00 to 10:30 AM at the HSBC Auditorium, One HSBC Center, Buffalo, NY

  • David Leach, The Calvert Group, Investing in Green Companies and Resources
  • Paulette Crooke, HSBC Regional President, Environmental Initiatives to cut Carbon Emissions
  • Local Business Clients in the Environmental Preservation field, Two minute "Commercials" on how their company helps the environment
LIVE THE BRAND: Michael A. Anderson, AVP, One HSBC Center, Buffalo, NY, 716-841-4371

BUSINESS: Green Jobs Workshop - June 20

Friday, June 20th - 1:00 to 6:00 PM

BUSINESS to BUSINESS - A Green Jobs Workshop
Daemen College, Wick Center, 4380 Main St., Amherst NY
Admission $15 - Waived if you register by Friday, June 13
Register with Katie Chadwick at 716-852-4191 or at

  • 1:10 -1:30: Introductory Remarks – Honorable Antoine Thompson, Ranking Minority Member, Environmental Conservation Committee, New York State Senate

  • 1:30 - 2:00: Parts and Services Required for Wind Energy Facilities - Bill Nowak - Wind Action Group
  • 2:00 - 2:30: Landfill with Methane Capture - John Lembach - Director of Research IBEW Local 86 Rochester, NY
  • 3:00 - 3:15: Break – Beverages & Cookies
  • 3:15 - 3:45: Opportunities Created by the Reopening of the Highland Avenue Plant in Niagara Falls - Speaker to be determined - Globe Specialty Metals Inc.
  • 3:45 - 4:15: New York’s Efforts to Capitalize on the Green Economy - Diego Sirianni - Empire State Development Corporation
  • 4:15 - 5:00: Where to Get Help on Breaking into the Renewable Energy Economy - Panel Discussion Moderator: Robert E. Knoer, Esq. - The Knoer Group, PLLC
  • 5:00 - 6:00: Social Networking Hour
For a printable flyer, click here.

Wednesday, June 11, 2008

Business Gets Green meets June 19th

The Second Session of Business Gets Green meets on Thursday, June 19th from 5:30 to 7:30 PM at the Buffalo Museum of Science. Free Event.

Featured speakers and Topics will include:

Businesses that want to give a 1 minute introduction need to pre-register.
Questions? Contact Bill Nowak at

Videos, Reports
, and Business Contacts from the May 15th Session are available here.

Business Gets Green is sponsored by Green Gold Development Corp.

Tuesday, June 10, 2008

New Coal Power: Advance or Big Mistake?

NY Governor Paterson today announced State support for an 'advanced coal' power plant in Jamestown. The plant is intended to be a demonstration facility for carbon dioxide capture and permanent underground storage, a still unproven technology.

'Advanced coal' is a new name for what the coal power companies have been calling 'clean coal'. To date, there is no such thing. It is not known whether this unproven technology will be commercially feasible, cost effective and environmentally safe. Electricity costs will certainly rise since 'clean coal' power plants will be expensive to build and operate.

Climate activists and environmentalists were not happy with the Governor's support for the initiative. “This power plant is ill-advised from both environmental and economic points of view and does not deserve to go forward,” said Walter Simpson, co-founder of the Western New York Climate Action Coalition and leader of a coalition of groups opposed to the plant. He criticized the Governor for "acting before an $800,000 New York State Energy Research & Development Authority-funded study to examine the geological and legal issues associated with carbon capture and storage in the Southern Tier region has begun". Brian Smith, Western New York Program Director for Citizens Campaign for the Environment said “Investing millions of tax dollars in unproven, highly questionable technology is unwise.”

It is not known whether underground storage of carbon dioxide (carbon sequestration) is safe and permanent. Would you like to have toxic concentrations of carbon dioxide stored underground where you live? Suppose toxic concentrations of the gas leak out? What do you think: Advance or Mistake?

Here's Tom Toles' take on carbon sequestration:
[Click to enlarge]

No Fuel Costs or CO2 using Wind Turbines

Dave Bradley of the Buffalo Wind Action Group wrote informative answers to questions asked about my post, Clean Coal: More Expensive, Less Desirable. The answers are in the comments section below that post, but in case you missed them, I decided to post them here:

Question: How much of that $1.5B cost for Huntley is government subsidy?
Answer: Most of that $1.5 billion (and it could be $2 Billion) is the cost of constructing the facility AND the Air Separation plant(s) to supply it with O2 instead of air. The subsidies come from allowing the CO2 pollution to occur, and also from the long term power purchase agreement that would take place between NRG and the New York Power Authority (NYPA). The price stability (very hard to find in NY) would protect it from competition from lower cost generation, such as onshore wind turbines.

There may also be certain subsidies from either NY State or the Dept. of Energy for this initial trial plant (though other such projects have been done on a slightly smaller scale). But the main subsidies are the essentially cost free allowance to pollute our atmosphere with fossil fuel derived CO2, not including the costs of coal mining (like mountain top removal), and the preferential stability that a Power Purchase Agreement gives (wind projects get no such treatment from NYPA in NY). That will lower the financing insecurity, and save the owners billions in higher interest costs that would otherwise happen if NRG has to sell this power on the NYISO at whatever rate NYISO goes for at any given time - the so-called free enterprise route.

Question: And how much solar or wind generating capacity could that much money buy? 680 MW?
Answer: As for the $1.5 billion in capital, that could buy 750 MW of installed onshore wind capacity - a very decent sized wind farm, or set of farms. With an average of 33% output (typical NY value), this would deliver an average of 250 MW of power. However, most of the costs would be involved in paying down the debt - no fuel costs for wind turbines. That avoids this terrible fate.

The Huntley plant was built for $40/ton coal, and so far this year, prices are now near $108/ton, with this just the early part of summer. The coal price spike is due to oil and natural gas prices going up, as well as the devaluation of the dollar, which allows Europeans (Euro currency) to buy our coal cheap (to them) and the increased demand just spikes U.S. prices. The one virtue of coal used to be its cheapness - and that is also fading away.

Saturday, May 31, 2008

Clean Coal: More Expensive, Less Desirable

A 'clean coal' technology has been proposed that will provide power to generate electricity without emitting global warming pollution. The idea is that modified coal power plants would capture the polluting gas, carbon dioxide, pump it into open spaces underground, and store it there permanently. The technology has been promoted by coal mining and power companies, and has been supported by President Bush and the three presidential candidates. However, carbon dioxide capture, storage, and safety remain unproven, and the cost of building clean coal power plants is proving to be prohibitive.

The cost of the FutureGen clean coal project in Illinois rose from $1 Billion to $1.8 Billion, including $1 Billion in government subsidies. Fearing that the already high cost would further increase, the U.S. Energy Department canceled the FutureGen project. Another clean coal plant proposed in Edwardsport, Indiana would cost an estimated $2.35 Billion, a $365 Million increase from earlier estimates.

Here in the Buffalo area, an ailing economy and the need for new jobs are driving demands to build a clean-coal power plant in Tonawanda, NRG's proposed Huntley plant. The cost last year was estimated at $1.5 Billion. The current cost and status of the Huntley plant are not clear, and NY State is moving away from coal power to decrease pollution. Recently, in nearby Rochester, NY, a coal-fired power plant was shut down and converted to use natural gas, which generates less carbon dioxide than coal, and doesn't emit mercury pollution.

Coal's future looks bleak on Wall Street. Citigroup and Merrill Lynch have downgraded coal company stocks across the board. Morgan Stanley, Citigroup, JP Morgan Chase and Bank of America said lending for coal-fired power plants will be contingent on utilities demonstrating they would be economically viable under future federal rules on emissions. A federal tax on carbon dioxide emissions is inevitable. Together with the high cost of cleaning coal, the tax will make coal a more expensive and less desirable source of energy.

Fortunately, clean energy sources, like wind, solar, hydro, and geothermal, provide alternatives to burning coal. Clean energy sources do not emit carbon dioxide pollution, and are environmentally safe and renewable. Low-cost, reliable hydropower from Niagara Falls is attractive to manufacturing companies and is creating new jobs in Western NY. Wind turbine towers are sprouting up across the region. A national shift to clean energy sources will create millions of new jobs in construction, engineering, manufacturing and other areas, and will reduce global warming pollution. It will be a win-win situation for Americans and the planet.

Sunday, May 25, 2008

500 New Jobs: Silicon for Solar Electricity

The idle Globe Metallurgical Plant in Niagara Falls will reopen under the parent company, Globe Specialty Metals, Inc., and produce high-purity silicon, a rare commodity essential to make solar-electric panels. Globe will create 500 new jobs, as well as additional jobs needed for construction of a new 100,000-square foot facility. The new facility will produce 4000 tons of solar-grade silicon per year by 2011, and overall the plant will produce 30,000 tons of metallurgical grade silicon annually.

"In about seven months from now, approximately 150 people will be working there, not including contractors who will complete the construction," said Alan Kestenbaum, President and CEO of the New York City based company. In 1.5 to 2 years, an additional 350 people will be added to the staff. The average salary will be approximately $52,000, as reported in Business First of Buffalo.

Kestenbaum said that “This project will be a cornerstone for New York State to become a major center for production and research for renewable energy, and in particular solar energy products", as reported in a Buffalo News story. Globe will invest $60 million to retool the existing metallurgical-grade silicon plant and to construct and outfit a new facility to produce the premium-grade silicon product.

An economic development package supplying low-cost electricity from the Niagara Power Project was key in attracting Globe Specialty Metals to western NY. Empire State Development Corp. (ESDC) and the NY Power Authority partnered to develop the incentive package that provides Globe with 40MW low-cost hydropower over 5 years, and up to $25 Million in Empire Zone Benefits for up to 10 years. In the agreement, 25% of Globe's solar-grade silicon will be used to attract new solar panel manufacturers, positioning NY as a potential solar energy hub. The timing of this news couldn't be better as the National Solar Conference organized by the American Solar Energy Society will be held in Buffalo in 2009!

The ESDC sees the incentive package as necessary to develop the green economy in western NY. Others question the amount of subsidies and the need to waive payment of taxes, as detailed in the Buffalo News report by James Heaney, and covered in his News blog. Still, with so many incentives from the Federal government directed towards the fossil fuel economy that is linked to global warming pollution as well as environmental, health and security concerns, isn't about time that we take a giant step necessary to establish a green economy in western NY based on producing a commodity essential for a clean, renewable energy source? I'm for it. Perhaps some of the issues will be addressed in the June 19th session of Business Gets Green, where a representative from Globe Specialty Metals is slated to speak.

Saturday, May 24, 2008

Business Gets Green meets on June 19th

The second session of Business Gets Green is set for Thursday, June 19th from 5:30 to 7:30 PM at the Buffalo Museum of Science.

According to meeting organizer, Bill Nowak, 15 businesses have already signed up for the 20 one-minute introduction slots at the beginning of the meeting. E-mail him at to preregister to give a 1 minute introduction of your business.

Featured speakers for the session will include:

Reports on the first session of Business Gets Green, Videos of the featured presentations, and Contact Information for participating businesses are available here.

Business Gets Green is sponsored by Buffalo's Green Gold Development Corporation.

Offshore Wind Turbines: a Powerful Plan

A report from the University at Buffalo urges New York State to develop a comprehensive plan for production of clean, renewable offshore wind power from wind turbines located in Lakes Erie and Ontario. Doing so would create a demand for wind-power energy, as well as large-scale manufacturing of wind turbines and components, that could bring new jobs to Western New York. The report is the product of UB law professor Robert Berger, director of its Environment and Development Clinic, and Dwight Kanyuck. The full report can be viewed here.

Thursday, May 22, 2008

Happy about Wind Power in Bliss, NY

The region’s newest wind farm of 67 turbines just opened in Bliss, NY. Noble Environmental Power built the $260 million Noble Bliss Windpark in Wyoming County. Another 84 towers will be added by the end of 2008 in Eagle and the adjacent town of Wethersfield. And that's not all. Projects in Chautauqua County, Cattaraugus County and Allegany County are being developed. Also an 18-tower expansion of the big 2.5MW turbines at the Steel Winds project in Lackawanna and Hamburg is in the works. For the Buffalo News story by John F. Bonfatti, click here.

Sunday, May 18, 2008

'Green' is growing on Business People

The first session of Business Gets Green sponsored by the Green Gold Development Corporation was a huge success, with twenty-two businesses introducing what they do, and four keynote speakers presenting environmentally-friendly talks to an audience of around eighty at the Buffalo Science Museum. Bill Nowak, meeting organizer and Executive Director of Green Gold Development Corp., said:

"I'm very happy with the way the first Business Gets Green session came out and grateful to everyone who helped make it a success - especially the 22 businesses who gave concise, well focused presentations. I look forward to other businesses stepping forward to introduce themselves at future sessions, and urge them to contact me at I'm excited to think that we will be broadcasting video from these sessions on LCTV and other venues. It's a good opportunity for businesses to get exposure. I was especially happy to see the networking that went on - some businesses were looking to contract with each other for services already!"

Videos of the presentations:
- Buffalo ReUse, Michael Gainer
- Buffalo Niagara Riverkeeper, Julie Barrett O'Neill
- Buffalo's Chief Economic Development Officer, Brian Reilly
- Ecology and Environment Inc., Laurie Shortt Kutina
Video presentations are courtesy of LCTV and videographer Jon Allen.

A list of participating Businesses with contact information is here.

Today's Buffalo News has a brief report by James Heaney on the May 15th meeting: Speakers offer insights into benefits of 'going green'. The next session of Business Gets Green will be held on Thursday, June 19 at 5:30pm in the Science Museum.