Who We Are

SHARE is a coalition of community, faith, environmental justice and climate action groups whose mission is to convert the Capitol complex (Capitol, Empire State Plaza, and other nearby state facilities) to 100 percent renewable energy.  In addition to reducing greenhouse gas and other emissions, locally and as a shining example of what needs to be done throughout the state, this transition will finally address a major environmental injustice in Albany’s Sheridan Hollow neighborhood.

For over a hundred years, the neighborhood has been burdened by pollution from facilities on Sheridan Avenue that have burned coal, oil, gas, and even garbage to pump steam through a tunnel to heat and cool the Capitol complex. SHARE was organized in 2017 after the state announced a plan that would have increased pollution in the Sheridan Hollow neighborhood even further, by adding two massive gas turbines to produce both heat and electric power for the Capitol complex.

Graphic showing Power/Steam Plant polluting Sheridan Hollow to benefit Empire State Plaza.

SHARE stronglyand successfully! (see below)opposed the states plan with activism, community outreach, and scientific analysis that exposed its flaws.

But there’s much more to be done. We are continuing to work toward fully realizing the goal of a renewable energy solution for the Empire State Plaza, which will permit shutting down the gas-fired Sheridan Avenue Steam Plant. SHARE has worked with state legislators Pat Fahy, John McDonald, and Neil Breslin to introduce and promote the Renewable Capital Act, which requires that all operations that power, heat and cool the Capitol complex must be run on renewable energy systems, such as wind, solar, geothermal, and hydro. Although the RCA gained many sponsors in the Assembly and Senate, unfortunately it was not brought to a vote in either the 2022 or 2023 legislative sessions. In 2024, the act was included in the Senate one-house budget proposal but not in the Assembly’s or the Governor’s budget proposals. Although it was not included in the final 2024-2025 budget, SHARE continues to push for passage in the Legislature and signature by the Governor.

If you would like more information or have any questions, please contact us.

Ruth Foster, SHARE Co-Chair

Merton Simpson, SHARE Co-Chair

Additional Background Information

We began work in the summer of 2017 in response to a proposal by New York State agencies to build two new fracked gas turbines at the power plant on Sheridan Avenue in Albany. The project had statewide significance as the turbines and existing steam plant were proposed to heat, cool and power the Empire State Plaza, the complex of NYS government buildings in downtown Albany. Since Sheridan Hollow is a predominately Black and people of color neighborhood just blocks from the Capitol, the project was contrary to the state’s stated environmental justice policies. It proposed to burn fracked gas and pollute the neighborhood to benefit state government.

In September 2017, SHARE delivered a letter to the Governor in response to the proposed siting of a co-generation fracked gas power plant in Albany’s Sheridan Hollow neighborhood, an environmental justice neighborhood. Our letter called for a full Environmental Impact Statement and for a Request for Proposals to power the Empire State Plaza with renewable energy.

A noted engineer, Jay Egg, published an article which explains why “it is reasonable to assume that geothermal heating and cooling can be accomplished at the Empire State Plaza.” This article presented a real, concrete solution that addressed the state’s need for power while not harming the climate and the neighborhood.

For two years, we engaged in a campaign of petitions, rallies, public meetings, press conferences and similar actions. We met numerous times with state legislators and succeeded in getting the budget item for the fracked gas turbines significantly amended to remove the authorization for a (gas) co-generation plant and to emphasize renewable energy. We prepared detailed critiques of the New York Power Authority’s late-2017 claim that renewables were not feasible for the Plaza plus discussions of renewable-energy alternatives. In July 2019 we issued a detailed science report which recapped and expanded on these critiques and discussions.

In September 2019, after SHARE activism succeeded in blocking funding for gas turbines and redirecting it to be used for renewable energy, the New York Power Authority and the Office of General Services announced plans that included dropping the proposal for gas turbines, replacing the obsolete and polluting emergency generators located in Sheridan Hollow, getting fifty percent of electricity from a solar farm, installing LED lights, and partially electrifying the air conditioning system of the Empire State Plaza buildings. Instead of building new fossil  fuel infrastructure, the plan would reduce burning of fracked gas by 20%.

Much work remains to be done, however, to get the Plaza and Capitol to 100% renewables. SHARE continues to promote the conversion of the heating system of the buildings and the remainder of the air conditioning to geothermal energy, which will enable the phasing out of the gas-driven Sheridan Avenue Steam Plant. We are also advocating for getting the remaining fifty percent of electrical energy for the Plaza from renewable sources, as well as ensuring that the September 2019 plans are fully carried out.

Documents and articles related to past events can be found in the posts on the homepage of this web site.