NEWS RELEASE: Climate Action Plan for Town of Red Hook to be developed by Pace Law School’s Energy and Climate Center

Pace Law School’s Energy and Climate Center will be developing an action plan for the town of Red Hook. Municipalities elsewhere are also waking up to the benefits of local climate improvement for their citizens and the planet.

Climate Action Plan for Town of Red Hook to be developed by Pace Law School’s Energy and Climate Center

Municipalities elsewhere also waking up to the benefits of local climate improvement for their citizens and the planet

WHITE PLAINS, NY, March 25, 2011 –Like a growing number of municipalities in New York and around the country, the small Dutchess County town of Red Hook is thinking proactively about climate change. Town officials recently signed a contract with Pace Law School’s Energy and Climate Center (PECC) to develop and implement a Climate Action Plan.

Red Hook has already taken the first step in its journey: taking stock of the carbon dioxide and other greenhouse gases it emits.

Joining a proactive trend

As energy consultants, PECC staff will follow internationally recognized milestones from ICLEI, an association of over 1,200 local governments around the globe that promotes sustainable development. The PECC consultants will set a greenhouse gas reduction target for Red Hook, and develop an action plan to achieve that goal.

In seeking to reduce their greenhouse gas emissions, Red Hook joins the ranks of other local communities that are taking action. Last year, 14 municipalities in Northern Westchester County formed the Northern Westchester Energy Action Consortium. Its goals: reduce reliance on fossil fuels, save money for residents and businesses, increase energy efficiency, enable renewable energy generation and increase economic activity.

Seven of those communities were awarded grants from the New York State Energy Research and Development Authority (NYSERDA) to develop climate action plans.

“The real action is local”

The plan will address the residential, commercial and transportation sectors of the Red Hook community, among others, and include a timeline, description of financing mechanisms, and assignment of responsibility to departments and staff. Community input and involvement will be sought throughout the process.

James Van Nostrand, PECC executive director, said, “We have been very involved at the state and regional levels in addressing climate change issues, but the real action is at the local level to implement the strategies necessary to reduce greenhouse gas emissions. Through this work, we will effectively carry out the policies we have been promoting to help local governments and their constituents reduce their energy bills and follow more sustainable practices.”

“We are pleased to have the opportunity to work with the Town of Red Hook on this project,” he added.

The $52,000, one-year contract is funded by a grant from NYSERDA. Anne Marie Hirschberger, Climate Change Law and Policy Advisor at PECC and a graduate of Pace Law School’s J.D. and Climate Change LLM programs, will serve as project manager. She will collaborate with PECC staff and interns.

Hirschberger said, “Addressing climate change at the local level is a critical element in achieving meaningful greenhouse gas reductions, and the Town of Red Hook has already demonstrated its leadership in this area. I look forward to working with the Town over the coming year to build upon its current programs.”

Sue Crane, Town Supervisor of Red Hook, said, “The Town of Red Hook is delighted to be associated with the impressive resources of the Pace Energy and Climate Center through this NYSERDA funded program. For years the Town Board and our volunteer Conservation Advisory Council leadership have pursued efforts to raise awareness, provide education and demonstrate our commitment to sustainable programs and projects. With Anne Marie Hirschberger’s experienced management skills, together with the expertise of PECC consultants, we look forward to joining in creative, practical, replicable climate change programs that will help residents reduce their energy usage.”

Contact:

Lauren Rubenstein
Manager, Media Relations
(914) 422-4389
cell (914) 329-8680
lrubenstein@law.pace.edu

Anne Marie Hirschberger
Ottinger Energy Research Fellow
Pace Energy and Climate Center
(914) 422-4126
ahirschberger@law.pace.edu

Founded in 1976, Pace University School of Law has over 7,000 alumni throughout the country and the world and is consistently ranked among the nation’s top four programs in environmental law. It offers full- and part-time JD programs on its White Plains, NY, campus and offers the Master of Laws degree in Environmental Law and Comparative Legal Studies, and a Doctor of Laws in environmental law. The School of Law is part of Pace University, a comprehensive, independent, and diversified university with campuses in New York City and Westchester County. www.law.pace.edu http://www.pace.edu/environment/

NEWS RELEASE: Pace Climate and Energy Center Hosts Conference on Comprehensive Smart Energy Innovations

“Business as usual will kill us by 2030,” was the message from Steven W. Pullins, president of Horizon Energy Group, in his keynote address at a conference on District Energy Systems and Microgrids held Friday at the Judicial Institute on the campus of Pace Law School.

Contact: Todd Olinsky-Paul                                                                 Contact: Lauren Rubenstein
Pace Energy and Climate Center                                                                      Manager, Media Relations
(914) 422-4418                                                                                               (914) 422-4389

tolinskypaul@law.pace.edu                                                                 lrubenstein@law.pace.edu

                                                                                                                                                                                                                        
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

Pace Climate and Energy Center Hosts Conference on Comprehensive Smart Energy Innovations

“District energy systems” and “microgrids” seen as viable solutions for improved savings, sustainability and reliability.

WHITE PLAINS, NY, November 19, 2010 – “Business as usual will kill us by 2030,” was the message from Steven W. Pullins, president of Horizon Energy Group, in his keynote address at a conference on District Energy Systems and Microgrids held Friday at the Judicial Institute on the campus of Pace Law School.

As private and governmental leaders listened intently, Pullins explained how the current course is not “sustainable or affordable.”  If nothing changes, increased power disruptions—costing businesses tens to hundreds of billions of dollars each year—will result, not to mention rising energy costs.

But microgrids, or localized mini-grids that can generate their own power and disconnect and reconnect from the larger electricity grid at a moment’s notice, are a smart solution to the nation’s struggles with energy, said Pullins.

Among the many benefits of microgrids are anticipating and responding to system disturbances; providing quality power for the digital economy; optimizing asset utilization and operating efficiently; and allowing users to operate resiliently against attacks or natural disasters.

The conference consisted of four panels, on topics including “What is the Microgrid? Why it Matters,” “Legal, Financial and Other Considerations,” “Business Models, Can we Implement,” and “Vision for High Efficiency Municipal, School, University and Industrial Campuses.”

Speakers hailed from energy and engineering firms such as the Galvin Electricity Initiative, Pareto Energy, Viridity Energy, Nexterra, Burns & McDonnell, Gotham 360, and FVB Energy. Also featured were attorneys specializing in the legal aspects of district energy, including Robert Loughney of Couch White, Catherine Hill of Whiteman, Osterman & Hanna, and Phyllis Kessler of Duane Morris.

In his keynote address, Pullins pointed out that microgrids are not yet in widespread use in the United States. The handful of current projects includes four military bases, the University of California, San Diego, and Pullins’ own company, Horizon Energy Group.

“There just aren’t a lot out there right now, but collectively, we’re learning,” he added.

Pullins predicts there will be 2,000 microgrids operating in the country by the year 2020.

Pace-Led Team Finds That New York Sustainable Biofuel Could Help Decrease Greenhouse Gas Pollution

A report issued by a team led by Pace Law School’s Energy and Climate Center provides insights into possible future liquid transportation solutions. Use of biofuel made from wood, grass and other forms of biomass could reduce New York State’s gasoline consumption by as much as 16% of projected use in 2020 and play a significant role in reducing greenhouse gas emissions, according to the report.

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

Contact: Cara Cea, (914) 773-3312, ccea@pace.edu

Pace-Led Team Finds That New York Sources of Sustainable Biofuel Could Help Decrease Greenhouse Gas Pollution, Create Jobs, and Increase Energy Security

WHITE PLAINS, NY (June 7, 2010) – A report issued by a team led by Pace Law School’s Energy and Climate Center provides insights into possible future liquid transportation solutions. Use of biofuel made from wood, grass and other forms of biomass could reduce New York State’s gasoline consumption by as much as 16% of projected use in 2020 and play a significant role in reducing greenhouse gas emissions, according to the report.

Produced at the recommendation of Governor David Paterson’s Renewable Energy Task Force, the “Renewable Fuels Roadmap and Sustainable Biomass Feedstock Supply for New York State” (Roadmap) was developed to help guide state policy on renewable fuels.  The project was undertaken with funding from the New York State Energy Research and Development Authority (NYSERDA), the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation (NYSDEC), and the New York State Department of Agriculture and Markets.

To conduct the study, the Pace Energy and Climate Center assembled a team of the leading authorities on biofuels throughout the Northeast, including researchers from Cornell University and the SUNY College of Environmental Science and Forestry, and from consulting firms on energy and environmental issues such as Energetics, Energy and Environmental Research Associates, and Antares Group.  The coalition known as Northeast States for Coordinated Air Use Management as well as Cornell Cooperative Extension branches throughout New York State were also members of the Pace-led team.

The Roadmap evaluates the future of liquid biofuel production and feedstock supplies (materials used to produce the biofuels) for transportation purposes in New York State in order to achieve reductions in greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions as well as achieve greater independence from petroleum usage.  In Executive Order No. 24 issued in August 2009, New York adopted a goal of achieving an 80% reduction in GHG emissions from 1990 levels by 2050, or an 80 by 50 target.  The Roadmap presents a snapshot of New York’s current biomass production, including agricultural products and forest products, as well as existing biomass feedstock inventory.  The Roadmap also considers land use issues, transportation and distribution infrastructure, competing uses for biomass, and technologies that are necessary to convert feedstocks to biofuels, for example, grasses or woody material to produce ethanol or soy to produce biodiesel.  In its analysis, the Roadmap examines the potential effects of increased use of renewable fuels, such as ethanol and biodiesel on economic development, the environment, and public health.

“The Roadmap sheds light on important aspects of how New York’s transportation infrastructure will develop,” stated Jamie Van Nostrand, Executive Director of the Pace Energy and Climate Center.  “In order to achieve an 80 by 50 target, we need to transition the transportation sector away from carbon-emitting fuels, either through electrification or use of renewable fuels.  Given the time it will take to transition to electric cars and to build the electrical grid infrastructure necessary to power this new fleet, ethanol-gasoline mixtures will still be a necessary component of this transition.”

“There is no silver bullet for ensuring New York’s clean energy future,“ according to Zywia Wojnar, Research Director at the Pace Energy and Climate Center, and Roadmap Project Manager.  “Biofuels could be an integral part of the fuel mix that is necessary to limit greenhouse gas emissions, while reducing dependency on fossil fuels.  The Roadmap provides important insights into just how a New York biofuels industry could help meet those goals.”

Some of the key findings include:

  • Based only on in-state feedstocks (e.g., perennial grasses, woody biomass, and soy from which biofuels are produced), New York could provide 5.6 – 16% of estimated 2020 gasoline consumption by the residents of New York State.
  • Biomass-based liquid fuels, or biofuels, potentially can play a large role in reducing the state’s emissions of greenhouse gases, which are a leading contributor to global warming.  A new industry that makes cellulosic biofuels from feedstocks grown in a sustainable manner has the potential to decrease GHG emissions by between 67% and 85% compared to the equivalent energy content of petroleum fuel.
  • Potentially negative environmental effects from the production of biofuels in New York State include deteriorated air quality, soil erosion, impaired water quality, acidification of water and soil, and reduced biodiversity.  Implementing appropriate best management practices in growing and harvesting the feedstocks would minimize some of these adverse effects.
  • Compared to fossil fuels, in a total life cycle analysis of cellulosic biofuels from sustainable feedstocks, levels of certain air pollutant emissions may be reduced, such as sulfur oxides and benzene. Levels of other pollutants may increase, such as nitrogen oxides, aldehydes, and particulate matter.  Increased emissions of some air pollutants may lead to increased public health concerns such as cardio-vascular diseases.
  • Four centralized large-scale or 24 smaller-scale biofuels product facilities could operate with sustainably available biomass in the State.
  • An assessment of the current technologies to convert biomass to advanced biofuels suggests that the industry is five to ten years away from commercial production.
  • Depending upon the rate at which the biofuels industry grows, between 4,000 and 14,000 jobs could be created state-wide.
  • Establishing a sustainable biofuels industry based upon the information provided in the Roadmap will require the adoption of new policies by New York State lawmakers.

Annual updates to the Roadmap report will be prepared in 2011 and 2012 in order to address technological improvements and policy developments.

A copy of the Roadmap can be found at www.law.pace.edu/energy/programs.

The Energy and Climate Center is an integral part of Pace Law School’s environmental law program, which regularly is ranked by U.S. News & World Report as one of the nation’s top environmental law programs.  For more than 20 years, the Energy and Climate Center has been a leading multi-disciplinary organization in the areas of environmental research and policy on energy issues in New York and throughout the Northeast, while training law students in these areas.www.law.pace.edu/energy

Founded in 1976, Pace University School of Law has nearly 6,700 alumni throughout the country and the world. It offers full- and part-time day and evening JD programs on its White Plains, NY, campus. The School also offers the Master of Laws in Environmental Law, Climate Change Law, and in Comparative Legal Studies as well as an SJD in environmental law. The School of Law is part of a comprehensive, independent, and diversified University with campuses in New York City and Westchester County. www.law.pace.edu.