Saturday, July 25, 2009

In the NEWS

Great Lakes, Great Wind bring great Federal Investment
But not in Western New York...see Map

DOE-funded wind energy projects: Great Lakes Region

The Great Lakes region will receive nearly a third of the $8.5 million federal officials recently set aside for wind energy development. The region will see $475,929 to study wind energy environmental impacts, $100,000 for development of small turbines, $1,446,942 for wind energy education and training and $587,029 to bring wind energy to market. The projects are aimed at challenges identified in the Department of Energy (DOE) 2008 report, which sets a goal of using wind to supply 20 percent of the country’s energy needs by 2030. The full report is here.

Donn Esmonde: Future jobs are blowing in the wind
- 7/22/2009

The problem, as I see it, is the usual one around here: plenty of talk, not much action. The gap between rhetoric and results in Western New York is as wide as Lake Erie. All of the hot air blown by various officials and politicians would make those eight Lackawanna windmills spin like pinwheels.

We have what it takes—rail and roads, water access, work force, cheap power—to grab a piece of an industry of the future. Manufacturing windmill parts here means, in a word, jobs. The jobs will not come if we just talk about it. Commentary by Donn Esmonde in The Buffalo News.

But look at what's going on in Michigan. More than 30 Clean Energy Manufacturers have established new production facilities in the last 20 months, generating more than 3,000 new jobs! See the blog post here.

Environmental alliance launches bid to increase groups’ impact
- 7/17/2009

A group of 150 Western New York organizations launched an initiative Thursday to restore and preserve the region’s natural environment. The Western New York Environmental Alliance is a collective effort that wants to increase the impact of local environmental efforts.

“The health and enhancement of our region’s natural assets is crucial to the revitalization of this area and to the well-being of its residents,” said Clotilde Perez-Bode Dedecker, president and chief executive of the Community Foundation for Greater Buffalo, which helped convene the 150 groups.
Read the report by Jake May in The Buffalo News.

Central Terminal is not out as Rail Hub
- 7/24/2009

DOT officials reverse stand
State transportation officials did an about-face Thursday, saying it’s premature to rule out Buffalo’s Central Terminal as a train station if New York receives federal stimulus money to build high-speed rail.

The state Department of Transportation said it’s too early to preclude the Central Terminal from being considered.
A group that has been working to revitalize the sprawling complex praised the modified stand, as did Rep. Louise M. Slaughter. She called the old train station a “jewel.” “The purpose of bringing high-speed rail to upstate New York is to strengthen and re-energize our region, and if it’s possible, the Central Terminal should be part of this effort,” Slaughter said in a prepared statement.
Skip Carrier, the DOT’s communications director, made it clear Thursday that the Central Terminal has not been ruled out.
“It’s premature to be talking about a decision on a passenger rail station,” he said, noting that the looming challenge involves securing $8 billion in federal funds. “When we get to the station issue, we can look at [Central Terminal],” Carrier continued. Read the report by Brian Meyer in The Buffalo News.

State seeks money for Falls Train Station
- 7/23/2009

Among 37 rail projects DOT proposes for use of federal stimulus funds A new train station in Niagara Falls and upgrades to the Amtrak passenger station in Depew are among 37 projects for which the state is seeking federal stimulus funds as part of a sweeping plan to upgrade the state’s rail system. The state Department of Transportation next month will submit applications seeking $22 million for the proposed Niagara Falls train station and $573,000 for the Depew station, according to pre-applications that have already been submitted. Read the report by Denise Jewell Gee in The Buffalo News.

Thursday, July 23, 2009

Business Gets Green: July 30th

Thursday, July 30, 2009
Buffalo and Erie County Historical Society

25 Nottingham Terrace at Elmwood [Map]
5:30pm to 7:30pm

Comptroller speaks on Green Fund

New York State Comptroller DiNapoli has taken a strong interest in the development of green business in NY State and has been investing portions of the NYS pension fund in green businesses.

In April, 2008 Mr.DiNapoli launched his Green Strategic Investment Program to increase commitments to environmentally focused investment strategies by $500 million over the next three years across the New York State Common Retirement Fund’s entire portfolio.

“Clean technology and renewable energy have become increasingly profitable,” DiNapoli said. “It’s not just about doing good for the environment; going green is good for the bottom line too. The Common Retirement Fund has a unique opportunity to produce strong, risk-adjusted returns while at the same time supporting our goal of curbing greenhouse gas emissions and decreasing our dependence on foreign energy sources. This investment commitment will put us half a billion dollars ahead of the green curve.”

The Fund has been reviewing the clean tech and renewable energy sectors for potential private equity investments since 2005. DiNapoli’s Green Strategic Investment Program allows for the expansion of the Fund’s private equity exposure to these sectors while encouraging additional investments across the Fund’s entire portfolio.

We are excited to feature Comptroller DiNapoli at the July session of Business Gets Green.

Please note our new venue. Due to the BodyWorld exhibit, the Science Museum is no longer available to us. The Historical Society is graciously making their fantastic auditorium available.

As usual, this session will be filmed for LCTV and YouTube. Thanks Jon Allen!

The Agenda for the July 30th Business Gets Green session will consist of:
  • The introduction of local green (and going green) businesses to the Comptroller
  • Introduction of the Comptroller by Senator Thompson - VIDEO
  • Comptroller DiNapoli's talk on the Green Fund -- VIDEO
  • John Stouffer, Team Leader of the Comptroller's Green Initiative will describe the Initiative.
  • Questions and discussion on the development of the Green Business Sector in NY State.

To learn more about Business Gets Green, see the Agenda, Speakers list and VIDEOS from the June 18th meeting at Re-ENERGIZE BUFFALO.

There won't be an August session due to many folks taking a summer break. The September session will be on Thursday the 17th.

Questions? Contact Bill Nowak, Deputy Chief of Staff, and Director of Policy Research for NYS Senator Antoine M. Thompson.

Friday, July 17, 2009

In the NEWS

Riding the wind to new jobs - 7/16/2009
Wind power seen as a hot industry
Speakers at a conference hosted by Buffalo Niagara Enterprise suggested the Buffalo Niagara region is well-positioned to tap into the wind power manufacturing industry, if it can capitalize on resources it already has. The wind power industry is gaining appeal as other economic sectors struggle, and renewable energy draws more interest with the fluctuations in the cost of oil and environmental concerns. Read the full report Matt Glynn by in The Buffalo News.

Upstate NY representatives get money for high-speed rail line - 7/14/2009
The Upstate New York congressional delegation today secured federal money needed to lay the groundwork for a high-speed rail line from Buffalo to Albany. Five House members gained a subcommittee's approval of nearly $4.6 million to improve tracks and grade crossing safety across Upstate which is essential work for a high-speed passenger rail line. The money will pay for work to reconfigure existing tracks and improve existing warning devices, allowing for Amtrak's passenger rail to travel at higher speeds, according to Rep. Louise Slaughter, D-Fairport, chairwoman of the House Upstate New York Caucus. Read the full report in The Post-Standard.
See an earlier blog post on NY high-speed rail here.

Central Terminal won’t serve as rail hub - 7/15/2009
Buffalo’s Central Terminal will not be used as a train station if New York receives stimulus funds to build high-speed rail, a key Congress member said Tuesday. Rep. Louise M. Slaughter, who heads the Upstate New York Caucus, which has made bringing high-speed rail to Western and Central New York a top priority, said the station is ill-suited to become a rail hub again. “At first I had hoped [it could be], but I don’t think it’s situated in the right place,” said Slaughter, DFairport. Read the full report Mark Sommer by in The Buffalo News.
See an earlier blog post on an intermodal transportation center for the high-speed rail hub

Let’s rename Buffalo the Emerald City - 7/10/2009
Frank J. Hotchkiss, of the Western New York Apollo Alliance, believes in Buffalo’s green future.
Buffalo and the surrounding region have the potential to become the greenest location on the Great Lakes. The Emerald City will be the city that recognized the opportunity and seized the moment to build the yellow brick road to prosperity as the largest green manufacturing and services city in the United States. Buffalo and Western New York are in a competition to capture the new manufacturing businesses as our old established industries fade from the scene. We need to transition from “brown” smokestacks of old to “green” smokestacks of the future. Read the full My View article in The Buffalo News.

Gillibrand seeks aid for manufacturers
- 7/8/2009
Western New York has lost 23,627 factory jobs since 2001, and the decline is accelerating
U. S. Senator Kirsten Gillibrand said that Congress should promptly pass legislation to help struggling New York manufacturers afford health insurance for their workers, open and expand new markets, and switch to cleaner energy production. Touting the historic importance of manufacturing to the state, she said support is critical, as the state “cannot rebuild our economy without our manufacturers.” The Democratic lawmaker said manufacturers “powered us through the 20th century, but have been among those hardest hit by these difficult economic times.” Read the full report by Jonathan D. Epstein in The Buffalo News.

Saturday, July 4, 2009

In the NEWS

The Buffalo News endorsed Senate passage and Obama signing of a climate change bill, stating that the House bill which passed is not perfect, the Senate version could be improved, and the version that the president signs could be better still. See the Editorial below.

Action on climate change
-- 7/02/2009

House passage of an emissions bill starts nation toward global solutions
"This time, we’re all going to the moon. The climate change bill that narrowly passed the House of Representatives Friday recalls nothing so much as President John F. Kennedy’s 1961 call for the United States to send a man to the moon within a decade."
"But we need a bill passed and signed, or we will never get this mission launched." Read the full Editorial in The Buffalo News.

Video interview on the climate change bill - 7/01/2009
Buffalo native Jason Kowalski, Policy Analyst at in Washington DC, favored strengthening the recently-passed House climate change bill in support of renewable energy, green jobs and a global emissions agreement in a TV news interview.

Obama pressures Senate to pass climate change bill
-- 6/28/2009

WASHINGTON (AP) — Hailing the House, President Obama put pressure on senators Saturday to follow its lead and pass legislation to limit greenhouse gas emissions, helping usher the U. S. into a new age of energy efficiency.
“Now my call to every senator, as well as to every American, is this: We cannot be afraid of the future. And we must not be prisoners of the past,” the president said in his weekly radio and Internet address. “Don’t believe the misinformation out there that suggests there is somehow a contradiction between investing in clean energy and economic growth. It’s just not true.” Read the full Associated Press report in The Buffalo News

White House says global warming is already here and getting worse -- 6/17/2009 WASHINGTON (AP) — Rising sea levels, sweltering temperatures, longer droughts and heavier downpours — global warming’s serious effects are already here and getting worse, the Obama administration warned Tuesday in the grimmest, most urgent language on climate change ever to come out of any White House.
But scientists and government officials seemed to go out of their way to soften the message. It is still not too late to prevent some of the worst consequences, they said, by acting aggressively to reduce world emissions of heat-trapping gases, primarily carbon dioxide from the burning of fossil fuels.
Read the full Associated Press report in The Buffalo News.

Hurray, Yahoo!
-- 7/03/2009

Hope for boost to ‘new economy’ helps justify costly incentives

Yahoo! is coming to Western NY. The NY Power Authority, urged by Gov. Paterson, is selling Yahoo! discounted hydropower, a subsidy of $33,000 to $54,000 per job, per year, for jobs that pay $65,000 to $75,000 plus benefits. That's more than four times the average annual per-job power discount of $12,446. Read the full Editorial in The Buffalo News.

Solar panel maker gets low-cost electricity
-- 7/01/2009

Sunworks pledges to create 175 jobs

"The state Power Authority has awarded a large block of low-cost hydropower to a fledgling California company that plans to build a plant in Western New York to manufacture solar panels."

"Sunworks Solar plans to spend $200 million to build a plant that would employ 175. The New York Power Authority on Tuesday agreed to allocate five megawatts of hydropower, which it will sell to the San Francisco-based company for about one-quarter the market rate." Read the full report by James Heaney in The Buffalo News