energy

Julia Botero / WRVO News File Photo

Jefferson County lawmakers have voted not to grant tax breaks for big solar and wind projects. County leaders say large-scale alternative energy farms do not provide the county with enough incentives to justify a tax deal.

Legislature Chairman Scott Gray said wind developers are approaching towns in Jefferson County not expecting to pay their full share of taxes. 

“You’re asking the property tax payers of this community to subsidize a project. So we want to make sure there is something in return for those taxpayers’ investments."

Tom Magnarelli / WRVO News (file photo)

Aging homes, poverty and unemployment force too many central New Yorkers to live in housing that just isn’t safe according to the New York state attorney general’s office. So it’s giving Home HeadQuarters $1 million to create the Greater Syracuse Green and Healthy Homes Initiative.

Local governments and several agencies have signed a pact promising to support initiatives that will lead to healthy homes. Syracuse Mayor Stephanie Miner said one of the big issues will focus on potential lead poisoning from lead paint.

David Chanatry / New York Reporting Project at Utica College

The dispute over whether an energy company should be storing natural gas in salt caverns underneath Seneca Lake reaches a milestone this week.

For the last year and a half, more than 500 protestors from the group We Are Seneca Lake have been arrested at the Watkins Glen entrance of the Seneca Lake storage facility, owned by the Houston-based company Crestwood. The environmental group is upset with plans by Crestwood to expand storage of natural gas in salt caverns under Seneca Lake.

Tom Magnarelli / WRVO News

National Grid received a $10,000 donation from Dominion Transmission towards grants for low-income upstate residents to help pay for heat this winter.

Charles Rivers of Syracuse was one of those residents that filled out a grant application for this season. He is receiving $200 for his heating bills which is the maximum amount a customer can get. 

“That really helped out a lot, especially when you have children in the house, little ones in the house, it helps out so much,” Rivers said.

Ryan Delaney / WRVO News File Photo

Talks over the future of the James A. FitzPatrick nuclear power plant in Oswego County  have resumed between Gov. Andrew Cuomo's office and Entergy, which owns the plant. 

Meanwhile, Sen. Charles Schumer (D-NY) said he is in talks with the president of Entergy, about keeping the facility open. Entergy announced this week that it will close Fitzpatrick in about a year due to falling energy prices. They also complained about a lack of state financial assistance for the nuclear industry.

Tom Magnarelli / WRVO News

Residents spoke out at a public hearing on the state's effort to make utilities more affordable for people with low-income. That might mean all customers may have to pay a little more.

The New York State Public Service Commission’s proposal is to reduce the burden on low-income individuals and families paying for utilities to about six percent of their income. Currently, low-income residents are paying 10-20 percent of their paychecks to utilities. The six percent figure is on the higher end of the rate everyone else is paying.  

Kate O'Connell / WXXI News

President Barack Obama’s plan for national standards to curb power plant emissions is based, in part, on a type of cap-and-trade program already existence in New York.  

Conor Bambrick, with the group Environmental Advocates, says he thinks the president's plan , billed by the White House as the “first-ever national standards” to curb carbon pollution from power plants has some of its roots in New York.

dalemcneill / Flickr

A group of farm families in Tioga County wants a state permit for a natural gas well that uses gelled propane. It’s still fracking, but it would skirt the state’s ban.

The debate around fracking in New York state has been mostly about hydraulic fracturing -- using large quantities of water mixed with chemicals to break up underground shale formations and release natural gas.

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Apr 13, 2015

Climate change is calling. "The Adaptors" are responding... Join us for this Earth Day special from "BURN: An energy journal" this week on Public Radio Presents.

Inergy

The next fight in a long battle over storing liquefied petroleum gas along the western shore of Seneca Lake is an issues conference next month. Opponents to the facility are trying to get a seat at the table along with environmental officials and the gas company.

Storing the liquefied gas, or LPG in an expansive network of empty salt caverns along the southwestern shore of this finger lake was first proposed five years ago.

New York State Department of Transportation

New standards for how crude oil is shipped along rail lines through states like New York are moving forward, but Sen. Charles Schumer says the process needs to move faster.

The crude oil crossing the nation now is hauled in train cars known as DOT-111’s. Safety advocates say the cars are outdated and lack equipment to stop leaks or explosions. Introducing newer models has been a slow process. 

Matt Richmond / WSKG

A temporary ban on the controversial gas extraction method hydrofracking has dragged on for years. Even as the governor says a long-awaited study is nearing completion, a large group of local officials want the ban to continue.

Elected Officials to Protect New York, made up of more than 850 local-level elected officials, says Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s administration still has not properly studied fracking enough.

Thomas Schmidt / Flickr

The Cuomo administration has announced a $40 million competition designed to encourage local energy solutions for extreme weather conditions. The problem at hand is an aging electrical infrastructure in New York state and the nation. The solution may be a "microgrid."

Mike Mozart / Flickr

Assemblyman Anthony Brindisi (D-Utica) is blaming what he calls the state's weak gas zone pricing laws for the Mohawk Valley's higher-than-average gas prices.

According to a recent report by the New York State Energy Research and Development Authority, gas in the Utica-Rome area was selling for an average of $3.24 a gallon, which was the third highest price in the state. By contrast, gas in the Syracuse area was going for twenty cents less.

Brindisi says higher gas prices effect the area's economy.

'Cans for Pets' boosts recycling, helps shelters in several states

Nov 22, 2014
Kara Holsopple / Allegheny Front

Recycling saves energy -- recycling one aluminum can save enough energy to run a television for three hours. But some segments of the population apparently haven't heard that message -- like pet owners. Aluminum pet food cans are one of the least recycled household items. Now there's a program to reverse that trend with an incentive to recycle, that also helps shelter animals.

Margaret Corrado is an exception to the rule. At a pet store south of Pittsburgh, she dumps about 40 little empty cat food cans from a plastic grocery bag into a blue recycling bin.

redplanet89 / Flickr

The Port of Oswego is considering a new contract with an energy integration company intended to help the port save money, and possibly become a net-zero energy user.

Duke Energy / via Flickr

New Yorkers could see health benefits from proposed standards for coal power plants, new research has found.

A vast majority of New York’s energy production comes from nuclear, hydro and natural gas, but the state is downwind from states that do burn a lot of coal, like Ohio, so that means the soot blows this way.

Jenna Flanagan/Innovation Trail

Winery owners have been stepping up their pressure on Gov. Andrew Cuomo to reject a proposal to store natural gas liquids in the salt caverns along scenic Seneca Lake.

A small but passionate group of career vineyard farmers and winery owners had one united message to deliver to Albany recently.

“We demand that Gov. Cuomo do the right thing and deny all these permits for gas storage on the west side of Seneca Lake,” says Doug Hazlet, a Seneca Lake vineyard owner.

Martin Abegglen / Flickr

The United States is not yet generating a watt of energy from commercial offshore wind. A couple of years ago, it looked like the Great Lakes might lead the nation. Pennsylvania was among a handful of states working with federal agencies to speed up the process.  As recently as a couple of months ago, construction of a wind farm in Lake Erie, off the Ohio shoreline near Cleveland, looked promising. But now some are sounding the death knell for any wind development in the Great Lakes.

President Barack Obama and the national press descended on the village of Cooperstown Thursday afternoon. His presence also brought out protesters both for and against the controversial process of drilling for natural gas, known as hydrofracking.

Victor Furman says it’s unfair that New York is beholden to what he calls an unfair moratorium, with such a resource at it’s feet.

SUNY Cortland flips the switch on 3,600 solar panels

May 16, 2014
Ryan Delaney / WRVO

SUNY Cortland has flipped the switch on a solar panel field that will supply six percent of the college’s electricity needs.

The 3,600 solar panels are tucked off to the side of the college’s athletic fields. It was a two year project from start to finish and cost $3 million. SUNY Cortland was the first public college in the state to install such a project.

The panels produce 1.5 million kilowatt hours of power. The college has set a goal of getting 10 percent of its power from solar by 2050.

Ryan Delaney / WRVO

National Grid customers should get some relief from their next energy bill after prices skyrocketed during a frigid winter, thanks to supply costs for electricity ticking down slightly.

National Grid says customers can expect their next electric bills to be 40 percent cheaper than the month before. A bill for 600 kWh of energy used will drop from $130 in March to $75 in April.

Ellen Abbott / WRVO

Environmental activists said there needs to be more emphasis on renewable energy and less on fossil fuels at a hearing on the New York Draft Energy Plan in Syracuse Thursday.  

The New York State Energy plan is a comprehensive economy-wide, multi-year plan put together by the state energy planning board. It’s meant to showcase Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s energy policy.  

Keith Schue, an engineer from Otsego County, said the plan doesn’t have the pieces in place to reach the state’s goal of reducing greenhouse gas emissions a full 80 percent by the year 2050.

United States Government Work

The U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC) has issued a citation to the owners of the Ginna nuclear power plant in upstate New York. Preliminary inspection findings released Tuesday cited the plant for failure to address a long-standing flood risk. The issue is considered a low-to-moderate level safety concern.

It all comes down to an improperly sealed manhole at the plant, which could have allowed flood waters to breach the rooms housing emergency batteries.

Downed trees from ice storm will be turned into energy

Jan 22, 2014
Joanna Richards / WRVO

All the power lines have been fixed after last month’s ice storm, and the crystal coatings have melted off the trees, but there’s still a persistent sign of the damage: lots of downed limbs.

Yards in the northern half of Jefferson County are full of tangled branches, sunk in the snow. Extricating them is going to be a long process, but there’s a plan in the works to give them a new life as fuel.

Ryan Delaney / WRVO

There’s a handful of machines in this corner of the massive Intertek testing facility in Cortland. They’re all designed to make sure solar energy panels can withstand being outside for decades, enduring rain, snow and even hail.

Rick Lewandowski, the executive director of the Center for Clean Energy Technology, shows an older solar panel that didn’t pass their test.

The plummeting cost of natural gas is affecting energy companies' decisions on whether to start new production facilities, and that goes for nuclear energy, too.

Earlier this month, UniStar Nuclear Energy pulled its application to build its third nuclear power plant at Nine Mile Point in Scriba, citing a lack of federal funding as the main problem.

The state’s Public Service Commission (PSC) is coming under fire yet again with claims that the body’s proceedings lack transparency.

A group of elected officials, ratepayers, and environmental groups announced Thursday that they’re filing a lawsuit in state Supreme Court against the PSC in an attempt to gain access to documents relating to the future of two power plants in upstate New York.

Kate O'Connell / Innovation Trail

Many of New York’s power stations are reaching the end of their operating lives, with coal-fired plants becoming less viable from both a business and environmental standpoint.

This week, Gov. Andrew Cuomo announced a $150 million deal that will see the coal-fired power plant in Dunkirk converted to burn natural gas.

Chemicals used in the process of hydraulic fracturing can disrupt the body’s normal hormone function according to new research published recently in the Journal of Endocrinology.

The study looked at Endocrine Disrupting Chemicals (EDCs) involved in drilling. Results showed that hormone disrupting activity was higher in water samples taken from drill sites where spills had occurred, compared to sites where little or no drilling had occurred.  

At certain levels of exposure, EDCs have been associated with cancer and infertility in adults.

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