NYIPL’s Position on Solar Jobs Legislation

2011 Solar Jobs Bill
A.5713 (Englebright) / S.4178 (Maziarz)

Statement: New York Interfaith Power and Light strongly supports the New York Solar Industry Development and Jobs Act of 2011.  The bill will position New York as a renewable energy leader by establishing a sustainable market for solar energy development.  Increasing New York’s reliance on solar energy will provide a hedge against volatile fossil fuel prices, reduce peak demand, improve the quality of the air we breathe, and drive economic development across the state.

The legislation draws from and improves upon successful models in other states, and supports a broad diversity of business models, customer types and technologies in order to ensure market growth in all market sectors.  The bill creates the long-term certainty necessary for solar investment, while continuously driving lower-cost installations.  And since solar creates more jobs per MW than any other power source (on a capacity basis), it’s an excellent driver of local economic development.  Over the course of the program, the proposed policy will create jobs across a wide spectrum of professions, ranging from business managers and salespeople to engineers, installers and electricians.  With an established local market, New York will have the opportunity build a manufacturing base, and play a leadership role in this important energy resource of the future.
Solar is well matched to New York’s power needs, as its highest production comes in the summer when the state needs power the most.  This correlation to system peak means that an investment in solar reduces the need for the most expensive, and often most polluting, electricity generation supply.  In addition, solar energy’s modularity means that it can be sited within congested distribution networks, saving on electric line network upgrades and reducing the need for new transmission.
Jumpstarting the solar industry in New York will have a gross impact of less than 1 percent to total statewide spending on electricity—and that’s not counting the benefits of transitioning from volatile, polluting fossil fuels to fuel-free renewable resources.  It’s a small price to pay to start saving with the sun.
This bill will create new jobs, increase energy independence, reduce global warming pollution, and improve electricity system reliability.  It’s what New York needs, and we strongly urge its immediate passage.

NYIPL: New York Interfaith Power & Light is a faith-based non-profit organization that serves the state of New York.  Our mission is to support congregations of all faiths in their actions to curb global warming and protect the sacredness of the earth. We currently have 79 member congregations, and regularly communicate with 900 people via our email list.

We are part of a national network of congregations of all faiths concerned about the effects of global warming and power plant pollution.

Contact: Janna Stieg Watkins, NYIPL Executive Director (315) 256-0078

Tibetan Glaciers Melting, Dalai Lama Claims

This article originally appeared on the Huffington Post

NEW DELHI — The Dalai Lama said Saturday that India should be seriously concerned about the melting of glaciers in the Tibetan plateau as millions of Indians use water that comes from there.
The Tibetan spiritual leader quoted Chinese experts as saying that the Tibetan glaciers were retreating faster than any elsewhere in the world.

He called for special attention to ecology in Tibet. “It’s something very, very essential,” he said.

The glaciers are considered vital lifelines for Asian rivers, including the Indus and the Ganges. Once they vanish, water supplies in those regions will be threatened.

As these major rivers come from the Tibetan plateau and “since millions of Indians use water coming from the Himalayan glacier, so you have certain right to show your concern about ecology of that plateau,” the Dalai Lama told an audience of about 400 Indians.

He was speaking at the centenary celebrations of India’s former President R. Venkataraman in New Delhi.

“India, a free country, I think should express more serious concern, that’s I think important. This is nothing to do with politics, just everybody’s interest, including Chinese people also,” he said.

Rising demand has put a strain on access to freshwater in India and China – which are home to more than a third of the world’s population.

Solar Industry Development and Jobs Act

Solar power is clean, safe, and renewable and can provide jobs here in New York State.  The Solar Jobs Act would provide a blueprint to increase New York State’s production of solar power up to 5000 megawatts (MW) by 2025. According to the Citizens’ Campaign for the Environment, that is enough energy to power approximately:

  • 1 million NYS homes (at 5 kW system size); or
  • 100,000 (50 kW) grocery stores; or
  • 50,000 (100 kW) schools; or
  • 10,000 (500 kW) parking garages; or
  • 5,000 (1 MW) shopping malls.

That would create approximately 22,000 new jobs and $500 million in new wages, as well as investing in an energy source that does not produce greenhouse gases.

Read the Citizens’ Campaign for the Environment article here.

You can also find a summary of last year’s Act compiled by Vote Solar.

Read Up on Hydrofracking

Here are some articles and videos to keep you up to date on what Hydrofracking is and the ongoing debate:

Republican Study Committee Recommends Withdrawing Funds for Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change

Last week the Republican Study Committee released a list of recommended budget cuts, including a proposal to withhold U.S. funding from the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change.  According to the Union of Concerned Scientists (UCS) (http://www.ucsusa.org/) this is an indication of the level of climate change denial in congress.

“It’s sad that members of Congress who refuse to recognize scientific reality continue to obstruct efforts to reduce global warming emissions and go after the IPCC” said Lexi Schultz, USC’s Climate and Energy Legislative Director.  “At the very least, the public deserves to know just how serious the risks of climate change are and not be misled by politicians who continue to block progress on clean energy.”

Thousands of scientists from around the world contribute their work to the IPCC for no direct compensation.

Read the USC’s press release.