Saturday, May 31, 2008
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
"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
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 firstname.lastname@example.org to preregister to give a 1 minute introduction of your business.
Featured speakers for the session will include:
- Gilad Amozeg, VP-M&A and Corporate Development, Globe Specialty Metals, Inc.
- Tracie Hall, Executive Director, U.S. Green Building Council NY Upstate Chapter
- Dave Majewski, President, Premier Services
Business Gets Green is sponsored by Buffalo's Green Gold Development Corporation.
Thursday, May 22, 2008
Sunday, May 18, 2008
"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 email@example.com. 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.
Saturday, May 17, 2008
The Western NY Climate Action Coalition is sponsoring a viewing of this informative and inspiring film (runtime: 52 minutes). Open discussion will follow. Admission and refreshments are free.
WHEN: Wednesday, May 21 at 7:00pm (refreshments at 6:30pm)
WHERE: Unitarian Universalist Church, Elmwood & West Ferry, Buffalo
For a poster to view and share with others, click here.
A film trailer is shown in the video below.
Friday, May 16, 2008
A reception will be held at the ReSOURCE Store on Friday, May 16, 6-8pm, and a Grand Opening will be held there on Saturday, May 17, throughout the day. For details, click here.
The ReSOURCE store is located at 298 Northampton in Buffalo, a few blocks east of DeltaSonic car wash on Main Street at Northampton. For a Map to the store, click here, and to visit the Web site, click here.
Michael Gainer, founder of Buffalo ReUse, was a speaker at the inaugural session of Business Gets Green and was also featured in the NY Times Magazine.
For more information about ReSOURCE and Buffalo ReUse, read the recent Buffalo News report by Tom Buckham, Buffalo ReUse opens a new door to transforming city neighborhoods. See also the News blog, Making a difference, one house at a time.
Tuesday, May 6, 2008
Business Gets Green will be held on the 3rd Thursday of each month at the Buffalo Museum of Science. Sessions will include an opening half hour where the first 20 businesses to register each get a quick minute to introduce themselves and what they do, followed by lively 15 minute presentations by 2 businesses, a local environmental organization, and a public official. The sessions will last no more than 2 hours and will close with the presenters fielding questions. If you want to become part of this emerging sector of our economy, want to network with other businesspeople who are 'getting green', or are curious about how you might fit in, Business Gets Green is the place for you.
If you would like a chance to introduce your business at the beginning of the session, please be sure to pre-register by contacting Bill Nowak, Green Gold Executive Director, at firstname.lastname@example.org . The introduction slots will be on a first come, first served basis, and will be cut off at 20.
Admission to this session will be free! Please arrive before 5:30 so we can start on time.
The first session of Business Gets Green is set for Thursday, May 15th from 5:30 to 7:30 PM at the Buffalo Museum of Science with the following lineup:
- Michael Gainer, Executive Director, Buffalo ReUse, Inc.
- Julie Barrett O'Neill, Exec. Director, Buffalo Niagara Riverkeeper
- Earl Aragona, Vice President, Ecology & Environment, Inc.
- Brian Reilly, Buffalo's recently hired Chief Economic Development Officer
Saturday, May 3, 2008
The Partnership recommends forming a coalition of interested groups with a unified annual platform for change and a set of sustainability targets and measures to hold the public sector accountable. For further information, e-mail Sam Magavern at the University at Buffalo Law School.
Hyatt Regency Hotel, Buffalo NY
To go the GLWC Web site, click here.