Citizens For Local Power welcomes its new staff, Matthew Eshed, and new board members, Pat Courtney Strong, and Lindsay Hutton.
Spring 2019 Newsletter
Among the several exciting new initiatives in our area are the establishment of the Kingston Land Bank, the victory of Town of Ulster activists and their allies (including CLP) in preventing construction of a new gas-fired generation plant, the imminent arrival of Community Choice Aggregation in the Mid-Hudson region, and exciting new ways for residents to buy clean power from local firms that offer hydro or solar with subscription or purchase options.
To learn more, read on:
(You may also access a pdf of this newsletter via a link at the bottom)
Launching the Community Energy Project
We are excited to announce the launch of Community Energy, a collaboration with the City of Kingston, the Kingston Land Bank, and diverse grassroots organizations to help ensure that residents, especially those who are most vulnerable and in need of energy savings and information, can engage in the process of energy renewal. While CLP intends to remain active at the state level, we are re-focusing our efforts on practical steps that will help municipalities and communities in the Mid-Hudson Valley achieve our goal: to create a locally based clean energy economy.
With the support of a small grant from the Sparkplug Foundation, we are conducting a weekly sequence of meetings with local organizations and activists as one step in building a broad, community-based initiative that involves residents directly in making their communities cleaner, greener, more powerful and prosperous.
As a result of this grant, we now have a storefront where we will host meetings and community events—a Midtown Kingston space we are fortunate to be sharing with New Yorkers for Clean Power.
During the coming year, we will draw on the results of our intensive outreach, education, and research to catalyze programs that lead directly to new green-energy-related jobs and job training in the Mid-Hudson region—jobs that are essential both to the State’s efforts to respond to climate change and to the economic welfare of the people who live here. At a moment when New York State aims to lead the fight against climate change by achieving—by 2030—a 40% reduction in greenhouse gas emissions from 1990 levels and a 23% decrease in energy consumption in buildings from 2012 levels, it is very disturbing to know that according to the “New York Clean Energy Industry Report, 2017,” 75% of clean energy firms surveyed reported difficulty in finding qualified candidates to hire in the last 12 months. CLP’s goal is to play an initiating and supportive role in programs that include formal training, on-the-job training, internships, and apprenticeships. Programs should increase the skills of current workers in the industry and lead to badly needed jobs for young people, low-income community members, and formerly incarcerated residents.
No New Fossil Fuel Plant in the Town of Ulster
GlidePath Power Solutions has revised its plans for the proposed Lincoln Park Grid Support Center in the town of Ulster. In response to concerns raised by Ulster residents and a broad coalition of community and environmental groups, including CLP, Glidepath dropped the fossil-fuel portion of the proposed design and now plans to build a 20-MW battery-only facility on the site. The revised design eliminates community concerns about water, air, and greenhouse gas pollution from the facility. The batteries will be used to support power quality and reliability on the regional electricity grid. As the penetration of wind and solar grows, battery storage will be increasingly valuable on the grid to smooth out fluctuations in renewable generation. CLP wants to thank all of the coalition partners and everyone who raised their voice to help bring about a much safer, cleaner, 21st-century design for this project.
CCA is Here!
Community Choice Aggregation is coming to the Hudson Valley. To date, six communities—Beacon, Cold Spring, Fishkill, Marbletown, Philipstown, and the City of Poughkeepsie—have implemented a local law that enables them to deploy a Community Choice program, and have chosen Joule Community Power and Hudson Valley Energy to implement the program. Joule Community Power will act as administrator of the CCA, with Hudson Valley Energy as implementing partner working with member communities.
As friends and supporters will remember, CLP played an important role in bringing CCA to New York in 2016. We learned about CCA from its inventor, Paul Fenn, who convinced us of the immense potential of CCA to transform energy use through local control and management. CCAs can only be formed by municipalities—typically a group of cities, towns, and villages working together—and include all their residents who get their electricity from the local utility and do not opt out. Ideally, CCAs—in the so-called “CCA 2.0” model that CLP supports—are able not just to lower the cost of energy for municipal residents by aggregating their electricity purchases, but to offer greener options and to invest in clean, locally-controlled energy and the local jobs needed to build and support it. The CCA model promises all these things, and in other states, such as California, it is already achieving them. The version that is now available in New York is getting closer. (Note that CCA does not include distribution; the electrical grid and everything related to getting the electricity from its source to the place where it is used remains in the hands of regulated utilities.)
Last spring, Joule Assets, in Westchester County, received authorization from the Public Service Commission to include Community Solar in CCA programs on a trial basis. The pilot allows residents who are members of the CCA to “opt up” and receive their electricity from a community solar project. A number of towns and villages in upstate New York are doing just this, meaning that the CCAs can sign up with nearby solar developers or other clean energy generators. Joule hopes that over time the Public Service Commission will continue to liberalize its approach and will allow CCAs to ally with community solar on an opt-out basis, which will be much more effective and easier to implement. Already, there is a proceeding underway to decide how to combine the billing for Community Solar, which would CCA members who receive Community Solar get a single, combined bill from their utility.
For further information, contact Jeff Domanski, email@example.com, tel: 845-859-9099.
Community Solar and Small Hydro Electricity are Available Now!
Two new green generating projects are now offering the chance to buy your electricity from them, and it’s a great opportunity to get green power created right here in the Mid-Hudson Valley by a local company. If you currently get your electrical power through Central Hudson, you can subscribe to Natural Power Group—generating hydropower at its plants in Wallkill and Wappingers Falls and offering a subscription at a price that is guaranteed to be lower than what Central Hudson charges—or Pointe of Praise Church—offering a purchase option whereby you actually own solar panels in the new array in Kingston, with no upfront costs and at a rate that is also lower than Central Hudson’s. There is also a solar subscription option if that makes more sense for you. We encourage everyone to check them out.
Access a pdf of this newsletter by clicking here.
With environmental protections being rolled back at the federal level, now more than ever it’s clear that lasting change needs to come from the ground up. Combining research, education, advocacy, and project coordination, CLP supports community and municipal engagement in energy decision-making, transforming energy policy and practice to strengthen local economies, mitigate climate change and increase resilience. Given the increasing pace of global warming, 2018 was a busy year for us.
On August 28, CLP joined the Energy Democracy Alliance and other groups holding press conferences in six cities (NYC, Long Island, Kingston, Syracuse, Elmira, and Buffalo) with an urgent call to Governor Cuomo: Fix New York’s solar policy by restoring net metering – the old policy under which the utility bought any solar energy you contributed to the grid at the price you would have paid if you were buying that same electricity from the utility.