Sunday, January 17, 2010

In the NEWS

Steel Winds project will add six windmills
Six new windmills will be built on the old Bethlehem Steel site this year. According to First Wind spokesman John Lamontagne, the new towers will be about 240 feet tall, and with the blades, the windmills will be about 400 feet tall, the same as the eight turbines that the company operates along the Lackawanna shoreline.

The Thruway Authority will seek proposals from the wind turbine industry to assess the feasibility of constructing smaller windmills at six Thruway sites in Western NY: Batavia, Eden-Angola, Silver Creek, Dunkirk, Westfield and Ripley.

The plan is part of Gov. Paterson’s objective of meeting 45% of NY electricity needs through energy efficiency and renewable energy.

Read the report in The Buffalo News.

Water-focused group tries to steer government money to clean up Buffalo
BUFFALO, New York – When the state of New York and this post-industrial city don’t have the resources to seek government funding for water preservation projects, Julie Barrett O’Neill’s staff step in.

“There is a lack of capacity at the state and city level,” said the executive director of nonprofit group Buffalo Niagara Riverkeeper, which works to promote, preserve and protect the environments of the Buffalo and Niagara rivers. “There’s not a lot of infrastructure so we have to step in.”

So far the 20 or so staff at Buffalo Niagara Riverkeeper have brought up to $12 million in funding to Buffalo, with another $50 million to come over the next two years.

The group is now looking at ways to access some of the $475 million set aside by the administration of U.S. President Barack Obama as part of the Great Lakes Initiative, aimed at restoring the Great Lakes. Together the Great Lakes contain 22 percent of the world’s fresh water.
Read the full report at

Report finds region ripe for green economic future
Buffalo Niagara Enterprise on Tuesday rolled out what it called “third-party validation” that the alternative energy industry can hold the key to turning this part of the Rust Belt green.

“With its diverse manufacturing heritage and skilled work force, the region can become a key asset in U. S. efforts to expand its competitive presence in emerging green industries and technologies,” wrote consultant Keith W. Rabin, president of KWR International.

The 162-page report, commissioned by Buffalo Niagara Enterprise and funded by a grant from the electric utility National Grid, argued that such factors as idled industrial facilities, skilled work force, varied educational institutions and strategic location should position the region to respond to the nation’s call for renewable, secure and environmentally friendly energy sources.

Beyond the idled factories and the underemployed worker base, Rabin said, Western New York offers the climate and resources necessary to generate wind, solar and water power, plus the transportation network necessary to ship products that could be manufactured here.
Read the report by George Pyle in The Buffalo News.

For a Buffalo Niagara Enterprise Summary Report on the green economy and Western New York’s alternative-energy manufacturing potential, click here.

US Department of Labor announces $150 million in ‘Pathways Out of Poverty’ training grants for green jobs
WASHINGTON — Secretary of Labor Hilda L. Solis announced $150 million in green jobs training grants, as authorized by the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009 (Recovery Act). The "Pathways Out of Poverty" grants — as the group of funding awards is known — will support programs that help disadvantaged populations find ways out of poverty and into economic self-sufficiency through employment in energy efficiency and renewable energy industries.

"These Pathways Out of Poverty grants will help workers in disadvantaged communities gain access to the good, safe and prosperous jobs of the 21st century green economy,"said Secretary Solis. "Green jobs present tremendous opportunities for people who have the core skills and competencies needed in such well-paying and rapidly growing industries as energy efficiency and renewable energy."

Through the 38 grants awards announced today, targeted populations will receive recruitment and referral services; basic skills, work-readiness and occupational skills training; supportive services to help overcome barriers to employment; and other services at times and locations that are easily accessible. Through these programs, participants will receive certifications and on-the-job training that will lead to employment.

The press release is here.

NOTE: A search of grant recipient cities in upstate NY found Rochester and Syracuse, but not Buffalo.

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