Wednesday, July 28, 2010

3 Great Green Bills in NYS Limbo

As long as the price of petrol is low, it doesn't appear that free markets will do much about reducing our dependence on it. Gas doesn't look too awfully expensive now, so people stop buying hybrids and companies see too long a payback on converting to renewables.

With mixed feelings, then, we look to the avenue of government to advance urgently necessary causes that are otherwise blocked or stalled. Unfortunately, when the New York State legislature adjourned July 1, they left behind at least three bills with the potential to "make New York a real leader in solar power development."

Those same rascally lawmakers are back tonight for the special session Gov. Paterson called, but "expectations are that nothing will actually get done," according to the Albany Times-Union, due to continuing political gridlock. Nevertheless:

The Solar Industry and Jobs Development Act

The Solar Jobs Act would require New York State's electric utilities to get 2.5% of their power from solar energy by 2025, enough electricity to power one million homes. That's starting from the current merest sliver of a percent. Backers say the bill would generate $20 billion in economic activity, including 22,000 quality jobs in an array of fields, all while costing ratepayers an average of 39 cents a month. (From a report by the Vote Solar Initiative, an industry advocate).

In a July Op-Ed in the Times-Union, Jeff Jones claims, "Solar energy represents less than one tenth of one percent of our state's energy mix, yet creates more jobs per megawatt than any other electricity resource," and then he gets specific:

"Think of the glassmakers that have lost auto contracts but could be covering solar panels; semiconductor factories that no longer make computer parts but could be making solar cells; public and private educational research and development facilities ready to partner with industry and foster the next generation of solar technology."'s blog had a great crack that, " As if that weren’t enough to motivate New York lawmakers, the report’s authors emphasize that inaction on the bill equates to losing to New Jersey: 'New York is already losing solar trainees and economic output to neighboring New Jersey, which installs nearly five times as much solar annually.”

Lose to Joisey! Say it ain't so, Joe.

(Two more to come in follow-up posts…)

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