Locals to Lead on Renewable Energy
Renewable energy in the form of solar and hydroelectric projects could soon be used by local governments to lower costs and reduce our reliance on foreign oil and natural gas.
The new initiatives are being offered to local governments in upstate New York through a statewide purchasing arrangement created by the Municipal Electric and Gas Alliance (MEGA) in partnership with Tompkins County and the New York State Association of Counties.
Renewable energy suppliers SolarCity Corp. (Nasdaq: SCTY), with local operations in Albany, Elmsford and Hauppauge, New York, and Gravity Renewables, Inc., of Boulder, Colorado, with local operations in Saratoga Springs, Leeds and Stuyvesant, New York, were selected by MEGA through a competitive procurement process, and will soon be offering renewable hydro and solar energy options to qualified municipal governments statewide.
The new program has been made possible by a net metering bill sponsored by Senators Elizabeth Little (R-45)and George D. Maziarz (R-62); and Assembly members Anthony J. Brindisi (D-119), Kevin A. Cahill, (D-103),and Jose Rivera (D-78) and signed into law by Governor Cuomo in 2012. The program will also benefit from Governor Cuomo’s NY-SUN Initiative, which provides $100 million per year to fund solar projects.
“The recent state initiatives will allow our participants to meet their sustainability goals, while stabilizing and reducing energy costs, promoting green economic development, and creating jobs,” said Ron Feldstein, Executive Director of MEGA. Feldstein praised the state government for this new program as “setting the stage for a new market in sustainable, affordable, renewable electricity across the state.”
Municipal governments will have the opportunity to enter into agreements, up to 20 years, for the renewable energy. MEGA’s preferred providers, Gravity Renewables and SolarCity, will make the necessary capital investments, and secure any Federal and state incentives that are needed and available. The energy generating units do not necessarily need to be co-located with the energy user; they can be anywhere in the same utility territory and electric market region, under the rules. So a small hydroelectric project in the North Country could conceivably serve a municipal building in Central New York; a solar farm in the Capital Region could serve a facility in any county in that area.
Tompkins County statements from Mike Lane and Carol Chock, Tompkins County Legislature.
“Up to now, we have been able to support renewable electricity only by purchasing ‘Renewable Energy Credits’ or RECs which support generators hundreds of miles away,” said Mike Lane, Chair of the Tompkins County Legislature. “Now we can be a more direct user of the energy produced from new renewable sources right in our local area.”
“We are excited that Tomkins County can play a role in leading the way for municipalities across New York State to encourage and purchase renewable power,” said Carol Chock, Chair of the Tompkins County Legislature’s Planning and Environmental Quality Committee. “With MEGA’s base of over 200 public sector and institutional customers, we hope to foster the generation of a significant amount of renewable power while saving money and creating new jobs.”
Solar City statement from Lee Keshishian.
“Solar is win-win-win for municipalities here in New York,” said Leon Keshishian, SolarCity’s Regional Vice President. “Local governments can save taxpayer money, lock in their energy costs and meet their sustainability goals with clean solar energy. New York, under the leadership of Governor Cuomo, has taken the right steps to build the clean energy economy and give consumers better energy choices–and this partnership is a direct result of that leadership.”
Gravity Renewables statement from Ted Rose, CEO Gravity Renewables, Inc.
“New York is fortunate to be home to a large number of small hydroelectric plants” said Ted Rose, CEO of Gravity Renewables. “Many of these plants have been around for decades but have fallen on hard times, suffering from chronic underinvestment. Thanks to New York State’s remote net metering law, MEGA members can provide crucial support to revitalize these community assets, while receiving price stability and savings on their energy bills. Gravity is thrilled to work with MEGA members across the state to restore these historic assets.”
NYSAC statement from Mark R. Alger, President.
“MEGA’s partnership with NYSAC has helped dozens of county governments and other municipalities to save on their energy costs. These two new options can help local governments lock in more savings for the taxpayers, and make New York a leader in the renewable energy arena. We are encouraging all of our members to consider these as ways to reduce costs and go green,” said Mark R. Alger, President of the New York State Association of Counties. NYSAC has endorsed the MEGA program as its preferred energy procurement program for county governments.
MEGA is a Local Development Corporation established more than 16 years ago to serve local governments by group purchasing of electricity, natural gas and other energy products and services. It presently serves 33 county governments and more than 250 municipalities.
The New York State Association of Counties is a bipartisan municipal association serving the counties of New York State including the City of New York. Organized in 1925, NYSAC’s mission is to represent, educate and advocate for member counties and the thousands of elected and appointed county officials who serve the public.
SolarCity® (NASDAQ: SCTY) provides clean energy. The company has disrupted the century-old energy industry by providing renewable electricity directly to homeowners, businesses and government organizations for less than they spend on utility bills. SolarCity gives customers control of their energy costs to protect them from rising rates. The company offers solar power, energy efficiency and electric vehicle services, and makes clean energy easy by taking care of everything from design and permitting to monitoring and maintenance. SolarCity currently serves 14 states and signs a new customer every five minutes. Visit the company online at www.solarcity.com and follow the company on Facebook & Twitter.
Gravity Renewables is an owner, operator and developer of small hydroelectric power plants in the United States. Gravity Renewables brings long-term, cost-effective clean energy to electricity consumers, helps conserve and restore historical sites, and promotes educational and recreational opportunities in the communities it serves. Gravity Renewables currently has 31 MW of hydroelectric projects operating and under development across the United States, including projects in New York. For more information please visit www.gravityrenewables.com or contact us at 303.440.3378
EnergyNext, Inc. is a buyer’s agent consulting firm, and managed this procurement for MEGA. EnergyNext is based in Saratoga Springs, New York, and has managed group energy buying programs for business and government groups since the beginning of energy restructuring in the late 1990s. Principals are Gordon Boyd and Eugene Salerni. www.energynext.com. Or 518-580-9244.
Municipal Electric and Gas Alliance – Ron Feldstein – (607) 434-3333
SolarCity Corp. – Monica Ralston – (650) 963-5656
Gravity Renewables, Inc. – Omay Elphick – (401) 864-8788