SHARE achieved a major goal when state officials recently announced new plans for powering the Empire State Plaza that did not include fracked-gas turbines and instead took steps toward renewable energy. This letter, published in the Times Union on October 14, outlines where things stand now:
We can win the fight for renewable energy
Two years ago, a coalition of residents, activists and engineers joined forces to oppose a fracked-gas power plant proposed in downtown Albany and to advocate for renewable alternatives for meeting energy needs of the Empire State Plaza. Though our work is far from done, as a member of the Sheridan Hollow Alliance for Renewable Energy, I’m happy to say that progress is now underway.The New York Power Authority recently announced it has abandoned plans to install gas turbines in Sheridan Hollow, which would have increased the burning of fracked gas for decades (“Power switch for State Plaza,” Sept 19). Instead, NYPA will begin to electrify the Plaza’s air-conditioning system, significantly reducing the amount of gas burned in Sheridan Hollow, and will replace the obsolete backup generators that have polluted the community for years. NYPA further proposes development of a remote solar array, offsetting 50 percent of the Plaza’s electricity needs.
More needs to be done. Most importantly, the Plaza’s heating system must be converted to renewable energy. Indeed, climate legislation recently signed into law requires nothing less. SHARE recently met with NYPA and Office of General Services staff and advocated for geothermal and conservation to meet the Plaza’s heating needs. We were encouraged by NYPA’s apparent commitment to renewable solutions. If there will be ongoing, engaged dialogue between the state agencies, SHARE and the affected community, I’m hopeful we will get there.
For more about what we learned in the meeting between SHARE, NYPA, and OGS, see the previous post (October 3).