Energy

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Federal regulators are holding public hearings on a proposed natural gas pipeline that would run through several upstate New York counties.

Energy company Kinder Morgan wants to build the Northeast Energy Direct Pipeline to funnel gas from Pennsylvania to other Northeastern states. The project also includes four compressor stations proposed for New York state along the pipeline route.

Over a hundred people attended the hearing in Oneonta and several gave passionate statements, with the vast majority against the pipeline.

Tom Magnarelli / WRVO News

Solarize CNY is helping people across the region add solar energy installations to their homes and businesses. The volunteer initiative will be hosting public workshops and free site assessments throughout central New York during the summer and fall.

 

Chris Carrick is the energy program manager for the Central New York Regional Planning and Development Board which is organizing Solarize CNY with the Alliance for a Green Economy.

 

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.

Seneca Lake protesters soldier on

Jul 6, 2015
David Chanatry / New York Reporting Project at Utica College

Every few weeks since last fall, groups of protesters have been blocking access to a work site on Seneca Lake, the largest of the Finger Lakes. They want to stop plans to store natural gas, as well as propane and butane, in the emptied-out salt caverns alongside the lake.

symposium audience
Jerry Klineberg / Klineberg Photography

Renewable Energy: Perception vs. Reality
Symposium held April 17, 2015
The Links at East Syracuse

Decaseconds / Flickr

New York’s Public Service Commission is considering a price increase request by the New York State Electric and Gas Corporation.
 
The average customer’s natural gas bill would increase by $10 a month and their electricity bill would increase $8 a month under NYSEG’s request.
 

Gas Free Seneca

Federal regulators have denied opponents’ arguments against a proposed natural gas storage facility near Watkins Glen.

Arlington Storage Company wants to build two natural gas storage facilities next to Seneca Lake. Arlington is a subsidiary of Houston-based Crestwood Equity Partners. One of the storage facilities would hold natural gas and the other is for liquefied petroleum gas, or LPG. The federal government is reviewing the natural gas project.
 

Matt Richmond / WSKG News

Regulators in New York are moving ahead with a plan to prohibit hydrofracking within its borders. In the latest step, the state released its final environmental review last week. And New York’s unique stance on fracking could have wide-ranging effects.

New York state releases final fracking report

May 13, 2015
Bosc d'Anjou / Flickr

New York state regulators have released the long-awaited final version of its environmental impact review of high-volume hydraulic fracturing. And it’s expected to lead to an official state ban on fracking.

CREDO.fracking / Flickr

Hydraulic fracturing is currently not allowed in New York state. But a group of medical professionals, advocates and residents are warning that the industry still poses a grave risk to the empire state.

It’s not fracking that’s causing worry. It’s the industry infrastructure that has a large footprint in the state, despite the fact the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation announced late last year that fracking would not be permitted in New York.

Matt Richmond / WSKG News

A Tompkins County-based group of investors is nearing completion of an unlikely project -- an industrial-scale wind farm. It would be made up of seven turbines and produce up to 12 megawatts of electricity, enough to power a few thousand homes.

Marguerite Wells is the project manager of Black Oak Wind Farm, which at this point is just a field with a wind measuring tower outside of Ithaca. But, according to Wells, the hard part of getting a wind farm built there is already behind them.

Matt Richmond / WSKG News

The future of the Cayuga coal-fired power plant in Tompkins County remains up-in-the-air, almost three years after plans to close the plant were announced.

The local utility, NYSEG, opposes a proposed conversion to natural gas and wants to invest in their transmission system instead. Either way, the cost will be added to ratepayers’ bills.

Fletcher6 / Wikimedia Commons

For the first time since the 1970s, New York state will issue permits for new liquefied natural gas storage facilities. The new regulations will require a permit for every new facility, with each one capped at 70,000 gallons.

That’s enough to fill six or seven fuel tankers, says Russ Haven of the New York Public Interest Research Group. Haven says capping them at a small size is a good way to keep out heavy industrialization, but the limit can be removed after five years.

Credit Diliff / Wikimedia Commons

In his annual budget, Gov. Andrew Cuomo is proposing to make changes to the state’s power grid.

The changes to utility regulation are meant to make it easier for local, small-scale producers to get their power to customers. In Cuomo’s budget is a 10-year $5 billion investment in a Clean Energy Fund.

David Chanatry / New York Reporting Project

Earlier this week, Gov. Andrew Cuomo delivered his State of the State address in Albany. But unlike years past, one thing was missing. Anti-fracking protestors used to show up each year at the speech to voice their opinion at the high-profile event. This year, they had a different message.

Unlike the thousand or so activists who lined the Empire Plaza hallways in years past, this group was smaller and in better spirits. After Cuomo banned hydrofracking in New York, the protesters wanted to give him a shout out.  

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.

Coal vs. natural gas during the polar vortex

Dec 20, 2014
Julie Grant / Allegheny Front

President Barack Obama wants the U.S. to get serious about climate change. He’s proposed to limit carbon emissions from power plants. The coal industry and conservative politicians say new carbon rules will kill King Coal, and they warn that without it, severe weather events, like last year’s polar vortex, could leave people in the cold and dark.

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. 

Marie Cusick / Innovation Trail

Gov. Andrew Cuomo's administration will prohibit hydrofracking in New York state, citing unresolved health issues and dubious economic benefits of the widely used gas-drilling technique.

Environmental Commissioner Joe Martens said at a cabinet meeting this morning that he was recommending a ban. Cuomo had repeatedly said he would defer to Martens and acting health commissioner Dr. Howard Zucker in making the decision.

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.

Ellen Abbott/WRVO

Madison County is hoping to turn environmental stewardship into jobs. At least one business is putting up  shop near the county’s landfill, with the intent to use energy captured from decaying trash.

Johnson Brothers Lumber, a third generation company out of Cazenovia, is taking their sustainability initiative to the next level. They’re building a kiln that will dry wood next door to the Madison County’s Gas-to-Energy facility in Wampsville, according to company vice president Mike Johnson.

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."

Solarize Tompkins

Hundreds of central New Yorkers have jumped on the solar power bandwagon. Now Solarize Tompkins, the most successful program getting property owners to go solar, is looking ahead to other alternative energy sources for homeowners looking to break from fossil fuels.

Ellen Abbott / WRVO

The Solarize Syracuse initiative was a success, according to organizers. The three-month long program has helped more than 70 property owners in Syracuse, Dewitt, Manlius and the town of Onondaga go solar.

Solar energy is helping Diane Swords of Syracuse’s university neighborhood heat her home. Swords is one of the property owners who installed solar energy technology during the recent Solarize Syracuse blitz.
 

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.

Julia Botero / WRVO

A large solar array is in the works in Jefferson County. A Colorado-based developer plans to fill twenty acres of private farmland in Philadelphia with solar panels by this time next year. 

New York state has agreed to pay 20 percent of the $11 million it will cost to build enough solar panels in Philadelphia to produce 4 megawatts of energy. That's enough to power 700 homes without emitting carbon or burning fossil fuels.

Ellen Abbott / WRVO

There’s a movement afoot in the Syracuse area to get more people to install solar energy technology in their home or business.

Peter Wirth of Fayetteville installed solar panels on his home two years ago. And one of the most frequent questions he hears is,

“Does it work in central New York? Well, it’s produced almost 100 percent of our power for the last two years,” said Wirth.

Dispute over Seneca Lake gas storage proposal rages on

Jul 25, 2014
David Chanatry / NYRP

The debate over proposals to store natural gas, propane and butane in salt caverns under Seneca Lake has become increasingly vocal, especially after a federal agency approved part of the project last May.  Last week opponents organized the biggest rally yet in the Finger Lakes village of Watkins Glen.

As the members of the Schuyler County Legislature left their meeting last week, the emotion, passion and anger of opponents of the gas storage projects -- and fracking in general -- burst into full display.

“Shame! Shame! Shame! Shame!” the protestors chanted.

Tom Magnarelli/WRVO (file photo)

Sen. Charles Schumer and Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand are welcoming the announcement today by the federal Department of Transportation for increased safety measures for rail cars that carry crude oil.

With more oil being shipped via train from the Bakken region in North Dakota and adjacent Canada to the East Coast, and more accidents involving those tanker cars, safety concerns have been growing.

Schumer told reporters today that he hopes the rules will be implemented as soon as possible.

Bosc d'Anjou / Flickr

 

In a decision released last week, the highest court in New York ruled that local governments can ban drilling within their borders. And while hydrofracking remains on hold in the state, the ruling is expected to have a huge impact on the industry in New York if fracking is eventually permitted.

 

The dean of the law school at Cornell University, Eduardo Penalver, helps explain the court's ruling

upholding local bans on gas drilling in New York.

 

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