WAMC: Waiting on the Big New Ideas

Pace Law School has faculty members who are regular contributors to significant media including Bennett Gershman for the Huffington Post, Randolph McLaughlin for The Journal News and Fraz Litz who provides commentary on WAMC northeast public radio. Here is Litz’s latest commentary.

In this week’s commentary on WAMC Northeast Public Radio, Pace Energy & Climate Center Executive Director Franz Litz talks about the importance of innovation in addressing the momentous challenge of climate change.

“Knowing that time is running out to meet the climate change challenge, we also cannot help but hope for those new technological breakthroughs that will make clean energy the only obvious choice for us in the near future,” he says.

Litz discusses a book by Harvard Business School professor Sean Silverthorne chronicling this country’s green entrepreneurs. “Silverstone’s most revealing insight is that big new breakthroughs in the past have most often come from the margins of the business world—not from big corporate research and development departments.  America is, after all, a nation of tinkerers and inventors, pioneers and adventurers, entrepreneurs and dreamers.  This is as true today as it was 200 years ago,” Litz remarks.

He gives as an example the story of Bernie Karl, who built a hotel out of snow and ice in Alaska, only to see it melt the next year. After Forbes magazine named the hotel the “dumbest business idea of the year,” Karl set out to disprove it and developed “a radical technology designed to tap geothermal energy.  Over the course of two years, Karl battled through a series of setbacks and pioneered a geothermal energy technology that R&D Magazine and the U.S. Department of Energy named one of the top 100 technological breakthroughs of 2007. ” He has since licensed the technology to United Technologies, an industrial conglomerate in Hartford, CT.

Litz comments:

If we had a comprehensive energy policy in this country—if Republicans and Democrats in Congress could finally put aside their differences in the name of the public interest—that energy policy would make more Bernie Karls rich.  Reducing global warming pollution is too important to let fossil fuel interests continue to rule the day.  We must establish the right incentives to drive markets for new clean energy ideas.

Since coming to office, the Obama administration has ratcheted up the federal government’s funding for clean-energy innovation.  But as the stimulus funds run out, with no federal energy legislation likely to take its place, we are about to be back where we were. We can expect, for example, a battle over the production tax credit that supports the wind power pioneered by those Jacobs brothers nearly a hundred years ago. One step forward, two steps back.

If there are any bright spots in the energy policy picture, they are in the states. Connecticut, New York, Massachusetts and Vermont all continue to do their parts at the state level. As we enter another election year, though, we need to insist that the federal government follow suit.

The Journal News: Thruway Authority seeks energy answers in the wind | LoHud.com

Todd Olinsky-Paul, Manager of Communications, Education and Outreach at the Pace Energy & Climate Center, told The Journal News that wind farms go where the reliable wind is, often along waterfronts and on high elevations. ”Unfortunately it’s not always where the load is, but you have to go where the resource is,” he said.

The Journal News reported that the New York State Thruway Authority plans to install five wind turbines, expected to generate 1.2 megawatts of electricity combined, to help power its Buffalo offices.

Todd Olinsky-Paul, Manager of Communications, Education and Outreach at the Pace Energy & Climate Center, told The Journal News that wind farms go where the reliable wind is, often along waterfronts and on high elevations.”Unfortunately it’s not always where the load is, but you have to go where the resource is,” he said.

Many of New York’s wind farms are in the western end of the state, he said. Other areas might have the wind, but might be poor sites for other reasons, including the potential for public opposition. As an example, Olinsky-Paul said ridge lines in the Adirondacks might offer the wind.”I imagine there would be a lot of resistance to that sort of a project in a park,” he said.

Thruway Authority seeks energy answers in the wind | The Journal News | LoHud.com | LoHud.com.

The Journal News: Rockland hosts major test of carbon storage to fight climate change | LoHud.com

Environmental writer for The Journal News, Greg Clary, called upon Pace Energy and Climate Center head Jamie Van Nostrand for his expertise regarding an experimental process of burying carbon under ground.
(Left: Workers for the TriCarb Consortium for Carbon Sequestration drill test wells along the Garden State Parkway in Chestnut Ridge on April 6. Peter Carr/The Journal News).

Environmental writer for The Journal News, Greg Clary, called upon Pace Energy and Climate Center head Jamie Van Nostrand for his expertise regarding an experimental process of burying carbon under ground.

From The Journal News:

A science project in Rockland is expected to speed up next month, when geologists drill holes to see whether carbon dioxide can be injected into the earth to keep it from rising into the air and creating climate problems.

… The technology also raises questions, even from those who support the concept.

“This pushes CO2 underground — but who bears the responsibility later on if it leaks out?” said James Van Nostrand, executive director of the Pace Energy and Climate Center. “The technology isn’t new, but so far no one has made it work on a large scale.”

Van Nostrand called it “the opposite of extraction” and said landowner issues haven’t been sorted out as mineral rights were long ago.

The process sounds similar to hydrofracking because liquid or gas is injected into the earth, but carbon dioxide is different than the chemicals, sand and other materials used in hydrofracking to force out natural gas from underground reservoirs.

For carbon dioxide storage, the concern is more about ensuring it doesn’t leak back from deep underground.

Van Nostrand said carbon storage is one of the strategies the government is investing “a lot of money” in to help reduce greenhouse gas emissions by 80 percent by 2050, part of an international campaign to reduce the effects of air pollution.

… Van Nostrand said the U.S. needs to use every technology possible to change the current emission trends.”The bottom line is we still get 49 percent of our energy from coal,” he said. “We have to develop carbon capture and storage.”

To read the full article:

Rockland hosts major test of carbon storage to fight climate change | The Journal News | LoHud.com.

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.

NEWS RELEASE: Pace Interns Prevail in Eight-Year-Long Battle with Big Oil

The Hudson Riverkeeper, represented over six years by the Pace Environmental Litigation Clinic and more than two dozen of its legal interns, announced a landmark settlement this week of federal litigation against ExxonMobil Corp. for oil contamination of Greenpoint, Brooklyn and nearby Newtown Creek.

Contact: Daniel E. Estrin
Pace Environmental Litigation Clinic                                                   Contact: Lauren Rubenstein
(914) 422-4661                                                                                               (914) 422-4389

destrin@law.pace.edu                                                                          lrubenstein@law.pace.edu

                                                                                                                                                                                                                        
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

Pace Interns Prevail in Eight-Year-Long Battle with Big Oil

Landmark settlement announced with ExxonMobil Corp. for oil spill in Greenpoint, Brooklyn

 

WHITE PLAINS, NY, November 18, 2010 — The Hudson Riverkeeper, represented over six years by the Pace Environmental Litigation Clinic and more than two dozen of its legal interns, announced a landmark settlement this week of federal litigation against ExxonMobil Corp. for oil contamination of Greenpoint, Brooklyn and nearby Newtown Creek.

The settlement, announced Wednesday by Attorney General Andrew Cuomo, the New York Department of Environmental Conservation, and Riverkeeper, requires ExxonMobil to conduct a comprehensive cleanup of its oil and related contamination at its Greenpoint facility and in the surrounding community.

ExxonMobil also agreed to pay $25 million for penalties, costs, and to improve the local environment. It will establish a $19.5 million “Environmental Benefit Project” fund to benefit the Greenpoint community. According to the New York Times, this represents the largest single payment for such a purpose in New York State history.

Daniel Estrin, supervising attorney at the Pace Environmental Litigation Clinic and an adjunct professor of law at Pace Law School, said Thursday, “I think that our victory should be an inspiration to people all over—to anyone in any community around the country that feels that they’ve been forgotten, or that they can’t take on polluters or the government where they violate the law.”

According to Estrin, staff and law students at the Pace Environmental Litigation Clinic have been working on this effort since 2002, when Riverkeeper first brought to their attention the tens of millions of gallons of petroleum polluting the Greenpoint area.

“We have not heard anything definitive about how 17 to 30 million gallons of petroleum wound up in the ground, but I tend to believe that it’s the result of decades and decades of basically sloppy practices at several refineries that line the creek dating back probably to the 1800s,” Estrin said.

The Clinic filed its complaint in 2004 following an extensive investigation. Cuomo took office in January 2007, and filed a lawsuit against ExxonMobil shortly thereafter, Estrin said.

“Through this campaign, we’ve achieved unbelievable results. By shining a spotlight on the neglect of prior administrations, we convinced the current administration to join us in this fight, which ultimately resulted in both the National Priorities Listing and the settlement that was announced yesterday,” Estrin said.

The federal government recently added Newtown Creek to the National Priorities List, naming it a “Superfund” site slated for a comprehensive cleanup.

Estrin added, “Our students have really done everything in the case from drafting discovery requests and motion papers to even arguing in federal court.” More than two dozen student interns have worked on this case since 2002, he said.

Estrin recalled an occasion in 2006 when a third-year law student, Eric Annes, argued against a motion from ExxonMobil that would have required other oil companies to be added to the lawsuit, and prevailed.

“To see one of our students go up against an experienced litigation partner from a big firm and come out on top is especially rewarding,” Estrin said.

Elizabeth Bennett, a third-year law student who is interning at the Pace Environmental Litigation Clinic this semester, helped with the settlement negotiations.

“Being at the Environmental Litigation Clinic has been really great. It’s taught me a lot about litigating and the process of a lawsuit,” Bennett said.

She said she lives in Brooklyn near the affected community, so she feels personally connected to the outcome.

“I’m really happy for the community members. It’s been really great getting to know them. They really deserve this,” Bennett said.

Pace Energy and Climate Center Releases Study on Impact of July 2006 Con Edison Power Outage in Western Queens

In July of 2006, the lights went out in western Queens in an extended electrical outage that continued over nine days. Everyone knows that a power outage is inconvenient; but a new study released by the Pace Energy and Climate Center reveals in specific detail just how severe the consequences can be, particularly if the outage occurs during a summer heat wave.

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

PACE ENERGY AND CLIMATE CENTER RELEASES STUDY ON IMPACT OF JULY 2006 CON EDISON POWER OUTAGE IN WESTERN QUEENS

Findings reflect issues other cities may face if systems fail

Commentators call for change in reimbursement law

WHITE PLAINS, NY, July 16, 2010 – Four years ago tomorrow, the lights went out in western Queens in an extended electrical outage that continued over nine days.

Everyone knows a power outage is inconvenient; but a new study reveals in specific detail just how severe the consequences can be, particularly during a summer heat wave.

Earlier this year, the Pace Energy and Climate Center (Pace) and partnering organizations released the findings of a comprehensive study of the July 2006 electrical outages in Consolidated Edison’s Long Island City network.  The survey is the first to measure both the economic and health impacts associated with extended electrical outages.

Settlement

The 2006 outage occurred from July 17 through July 25, and affected about 174,000 people in Western Queens (Sunnyside, Woodside, Long Island City, and Astoria).  Following the outage, the New York State Public Service Commission, the state administrative agency that regulates New York’s investor-owned energy utilities, conducted a review of the events in a “prudence” investigation.  After extensive settlement discussions, the active parties in that proceeding (including Con Edison, staff of the Department of Public Service, New York State Consumer Protection Board, the City Of New York, NYS Assemblyman Richard L. Brodsky, the Public Utility Law Project, and Western Queens Power for the People, a community group formed by residents of affected areas to seek restitution from the damage) reached agreement on a settlement that was approved by the PSC in July 2008.

As part of the agreement, Con Edison agreed to pay up to $500,000 to cover the costs of the study. The findings included:

  • Total outage-related losses were about $188 million, including losses of about $77 million incurred by residential customers and $111 million by business customers.
  • The major categories of losses for residential customers included spoiled food ($21.5 million), health and medical-related expenses ($7.3 million), housing-related costs ($19 million), and personal expenses like extra commuting time, dining out and lost wages ($29 million).
  • For residential customers, Con Edison provided reimbursement of about $12 million, leaving $65 million in net losses.
  • The $111 million in losses incurred by business customers includes $55.5 million in lost revenue.  Con Edison provided reimbursement of about $5 million of the direct losses, leaving about $106 million in net losses for these customers.
  • In assessing possible disparities in the impacts of the power outage (including areas that may have been more acutely affected and certain groups or individuals who did not receive reimbursements from Con Edison), the study concluded that there were no significant differences in the impact of the outage and the level of reimbursement for the various demographic subgroups.

“Our study puts some numbers and personal testimony on how the loss of power adversely affects the daily lives of customers and businesses in an entire urban community,” Jamie Van Nostrand, the Executive Director of the Energy and Climate Center and manager of the study said.

“The kind of data utility companies compile do not capture the economic and health impacts that customers experience during an extended power outage,” he added.

Reimbursements

“This study shows that Con Edison reimbursement rates are inadequate,” said Patrick Barnhart on behalf of Western Queens Power for the People.  “Power outages impose costs on affected communities that are millions of dollars more than are repaid, even after a lengthy public PSC investigation like the one we participated in.”

He said: “New York State laws and regulations need to be brought up to date to include the higher reimbursement rates that reflect the real costs of a power outage and the real costs of restitution to those who are affected by it.  This study provides state legislators, elected officials and regulators with the evidence they need to make those urgently needed changes.”

Assemblyman Richard Brodsky stated, “I am proud of the administrative proceeding we brought to hold Con Edison accountable for its decisions leading up to the 2006 power outage in Queens.  It was critical that Con Edison be held accountable for its negligent actions that brought unnecessary suffering and economic harm to residents and businesses.”

Survey methods

Pace partnered on customer surveys and data gathering with LaGuardia Community College, which has significant ties to the businesses and residents of the neighborhoods in the Long Island City grid area. Pace also retained a bio-statistician and econometrician, Dr. Haftan Eckholdt, to develop the sampling methodology to make sure the study is statistically valid.  The project team surveyed 198 non-residential respondents (business owners or workers) and 1,993 residential respondents in face-to-face interviews, and conducted telephone interviews of 936 residential respondents.

One challenge, according to Van Nostrand, was providing a means to reflect some of the “intangible” impacts of the outage, such as the inconvenience and personal discomfort experienced due to the loss of lights and air conditioning during a summer heat wave.  “We attempted to capture that through open-ended questions in the survey,” said Van Nostrand, “which gave the survey participants the chance to share their experiences.  We included several narrative responses in the Final Report to reflect these ‘qualitative’ impacts.”

“Dead and Scary”

Here is one such narrative statement:

“I remember that during about the 2 weeks we used to refer to the bag of ice as your Sunnyside briefcase, and you’d come (home) through a city that was lit at night on your way home from work, and you’d get, you’d come around the corner of the number 7 train always hoping that your power would be back on.  I was living by myself at the time, so I couldn’t check in with my family.  And, I remember, just the sense of disappointment every night seeing that big field of darkness that was Sunnyside Gardens and walking back home in the dark; with the Con Ed crews were working on, all the time, but it was just, it was dispiriting getting off the subway every night and realizing that around you, the city had power and life was going on, and in our neighborhood everything was dead – and scary.”

The study also analyzed the health impacts of the outage, with hospitalizations and emergency room visits that were potentially heat-related classified by vulnerable age group, race, and ethnicity for each zip code. The vast majority of hospitalizations occurring during the outage were attributable to respiratory illnesses, and associated costs were nearly $500,000. In addition, the study examined transportation-related data, including bus service, subway ridership, traffic operations, and extra commuting costs.

A complete copy of the study is available at the Pace Energy and Climate Center website at http://web.pace.edu/page.cfm?doc_id=25292.

About the Pace Energy and Climate Center

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

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 programs in environmental law. I t offers full- and part-time day and evening JD programs on its White Plains, NY, campus and offers the Master of Laws degree in Environmental Law, Sustainability 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.

Contacts:

For Pace:

Cara Cea
(914) 773-3312
ccea@pace.edu
Sammie Becker
(212) 346-1637
sbecker2@pace.edu
For Western Queens Power for the People:

Alyssa Bonilla
718-383-4769
tab4315@earthlink.net
Patrick Barnhart
(917) 549-2376
patrick.barnhart@gmail.com
Anne Eagan
(718) 482-0170
anneagan@speakeasy.net

For Assemblyman Brodsky:

Anna Pycior
Communications Director
(914) 345-0432

Pace Law School Selected to Co-host Regional Center for Advancement of Combined Cooling & Heating

Generating electric power right at the sites of businesses and institutions while using otherwise wasted heat for purposes like heating interiors or water is likely to become an increasingly desirable option for managers in the Northeast U.S. over the next decade.

Contact:
Jennifer Riekert
(914) 422-4128
jriekert@law.pace.edu
www.law.pace.edu

Mary E. Horgan
(914) 923-2798
mhorgan@pace.edu

Release: Immediate

BUSINESSES, INSTITUTIONS TO GET POST-BLACKOUT ENCOURAGEMENT
FOR DECENTRALIZED POWER AND COOLING-HEATING TECHNIQUES
FROM $450,000 REGIONAL CENTER AT PACE LAW SCHOOL
AND UNIVERSITY OF MASSACHUSETTS-AMHERST

Regulatory and financial hurdles to be addressed
enroute to nationwide goal of 100% increase by end of decade

Fuel cells, microturbines and clean generators

White Plains, NY, November 24, 2003 – Generating electric power right at the sites of businesses and institutions while using otherwise wasted heat for purposes like heating interiors or water is likely to become an increasingly desirable option for managers in the Northeast U.S. over the next decade.

One reason is that the summer’s blackout has highlighted the advantages of this approach, known as Combined Heat and Power generation, or CHP.

Another reason is that the Northeast will soon have a significant center working to encourage CHP.

The U.S. Department of Energy and the New York State Energy Research and Development Authority have selected Pace Law School’s Energy Project, in White Plains, and the University of Massachusetts-Amherst, to share $450,000 in combined state and federal grants for establishing a Northeast Regional Applications Center (NERAC). The Center is to promote clean, efficient, and reliable on-site power systems throughout the seven-state Northeast region.

“Through targeted research and project assistance, we hope to catalyze interest in and usage of CHP in a range of commercial, institutional and industrial settings,” said DOE’s Boston Regional Office Energy Technology Customer Specialist, Scott Hutchins. “NERAC will be a major force in meeting the Department of Energy’s goal of doubling the amount of new CHP installed in the U.S. by the end of the decade.”

Lowering business hurdles. “The Northeast has high energy costs, and the recent regional blackout heightened concern over the reliability of the electric grid,” said the Pace Energy Project’s Executive Director, Fred Zalcman. “By providing low-cost power at or near the point of consumption, CHP clearly can be part of the solution — but we must move aggressively to address the regulatory and financial hurdles that prevent businesses in our region from fully exploiting this resource.”

The new center commenced operation in November 2003. People seeking more information can contact the Pace Energy Project at (914) 422-4013 or visit the Center’s web site (<a href=’http://www.northeastchp.org/nac/home.html‘>http://www.northeastchp.org/nac/home.html</a>).

The two educational institutions will work jointly to provide “one-stop” engineering and policy support to potential end users, regulators, CHP project developers and others. The Pace Law School Energy Project will be primarily responsible for the center’s education, outreach and policy research objectives. The University of Massachusetts-Amherst’s Center for Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy will direct NERAC’s application assistance function.

National leadership. “NERAC will cement New York State’s well deserved-reputation as a national leader in promoting combined heat and power systems that use advanced technologies like fuel cells, microturbines and clean generators”, added Peter Smith, NYSERDA’s Acting President. “We are pleased to help bring the economic development, energy security, consumer choice and environmental benefits of CHP to the entire region.”

The Pace Energy Project, in White Plains, NY, is an initiative of the Pace University School of Law’s environmental law program, ranked third in the nation by the U.S. News and World Report annual ranking of colleges and universities. The project’s mission is to reduce the environmental, social and human health burdens of today’s predominant forms of electricity production and consumption. Its multi-disciplinary team of lawyers, economists, planners and marketing specialists aims to accelerate the world’s transition to clean, efficient and renewable energy alternatives. The Energy Project has used New York State as a primary laboratory for policy innovation for over 15 years.

The Center for Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy, at the University Massachusetts-Amherst in Amherst, MA, provides technological and economic solutions to environmental problems resulting from energy production, industrial, manufacturing, and commercial activities, and land use practices. Its University based research program is built on four sub groups with unique abilities to service energy and environmental problems. CEERE offers research, training and educational experiences for graduate and undergraduate engineers and scientists.

Founded in 1976, Pace Law School is a New York law school with a suburban campus in White Plains, N.Y., 20 miles north of New York City. Part of Pace University, the school offers the J.D. program for full-time and part-time day and evening students. Its postgraduate program includes the LL.M. and S.J.D. degrees in Environmental Law and an LL.M. in Comparative Legal Studies. Pace has one of the nation’s top-rated Environmental Law programs and its Clinical Education program also is nationally ranked, offering clinics in domestic violence prosecution, environmental law, securities arbitration, criminal justice, and disability rights. www.law.pace.edu