Thu May 2, 2013

Solar program has success in small upstate New York county

Solar panels cover the roof of Jimmy Golub's barn in Madison County.
Ellen Abbott WRVO

The thing that strikes you when you walk up to Jimmy Golub's farm on the western edge of Madison County are the giant solar panels covering the part of the roof on his barn that faces west. The 45 panels are part of a 10 kilowatt solar system, that provides all the electricity the farm needs.

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Mon April 29, 2013

A loose collection of groups makes up state's fracking opposition

New York's anti-fracking movement has been done largely at the grassroots level.
Matt Richmond WSKG

When philosophy professor Mike Gorr and his wife were looking for a place to retire, they took a trip from Illinois to the Finger Lakes region.

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Wed April 24, 2013

Army bases' land is resource for generating energy

Fort Drum sits on more that 107,000 acres in northern New York.
U.S. Army

The U.S. military is the largest consumer of energy in the federal government. But it also has a tremendous resource for generating its own energy: all the land bases sit on.

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Fri April 19, 2013

Champlain Hudson Power Express project moves a step forward with state approval

The Champlain Hudson Power Express, or CHPE, is the name of a proposed underground transmission line that would bring hydropower generated in Canada under both Lake Champlain and the Hudson River, and into New York City. Now, the project is one step closer to becoming a reality, following approval by the New York State Public Service Commission Thursday.

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Fri April 12, 2013
Politics and Government

New York state still awaiting fracking decision

Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s health commissioner is expected to release a health report on hydraulic fracturing soon, at least according to a timetable announced in late February. But the Cuomo administration has already missed several deadlines on fracking.

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Tue March 19, 2013

$1 billion "green bank" would invest in clean tech projects

An energy-efficient heating and cooling system being tested at the Syracuse Center of Excellence.
Syracuse Center of Excellence

More energy-efficient technologies, from water heaters to wind turbine, have been coming onto the marketplace for decades.

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Mon March 18, 2013

Jury still out on Cuomo's Energy Highway blueprint

freefotouk Flickr

On a residential street outside of Albany, there is a discreet red-brick building. There’s no sign telling drivers that the flow of all the electricity in New York state is being controlled inside. The organization at the controls is the New York Independent System Operators (NYISO). They’re a non-profit created after New York’s energy markets were opened up in the '90s.

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Fri March 8, 2013
-Nature of Things

The Energy of Spring

John Weeks sees spring as an episode rather than an event. He describes how the energy required for springtime life comes from the generosity of previous seasons.

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Tue February 19, 2013

Vermont - New York natural gas pipeline stirs debate

Hinesburg, VT residents discuss pipeline routes with VT Gas representatives at a public meeting last month.
Sarah Harris/Innovation Trail

At a public meeting in Hinesburg, Vt. last month, residents crowded into the town hall to ask questions about a natural gas pipeline that might be going through their community.  

Mark Ames wasn’t too happy. "I’m not interested in having a gas line either through in front of my house, 20 feet in front of my house, or behind my house, through my fields," he said.

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Mon February 4, 2013

DEC may miss deadline for fracking regulations

At Monday's budget hearing in Albany, DEC Commissioner Joe Martens was grilled by legislators as a crowd of fracking opponents cheered and hissed.
Matt Ryan/WMHT

New York’s Department of Environmental Conservation Commissioner Joe Martens suggested Monday that the state may miss a February 27 deadline to complete its proposed fracking regulations. And that could stall a decision on gas drilling for months.

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Sat February 2, 2013
The Upstate Economy

North Country sustainability plan considers environment, economy

The plan was unveiled at the Wild Center in Tupper Lake last week.
Credit Sarah Harris/Innovation Trail

The North Country Sustainability Plan was unveiled last week. It tackles energy, land use, transportation and water and waste management across seven counties.The Adirondack North Country Association, Ecology and Environment Inc., and Essex County spent much of the past year compiling the plan. They enlisted the help of another 200 people from around the region for the working groups.

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Thu January 24, 2013
Politics and Government

Cuomo's budget cuts DEC funding by $53 million

Marie Cusick/Innovation Trail

In Gov. Andrew Cuomo's 2013-2014 budget, the Department of Environmental Conservation is looking at a budget cut of 5.5 percent. What will this mean for the department if hydrofracking comes to New York?

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Tue January 15, 2013

Buffalo foundation says solar is no-brainer for rebuilding Haiti

Chris Flatau, Solar Liberty Foundation electrician, trains Haitian technicians on how to install solar electric panels.
Solar Liberty Foundation

This weekend marked the third anniversary of a 7.0 magnitude earthquake that devastated the nation of Haiti. Three years on and the recovery process still has a long way to go, but one organization in western New York has been  helping to bring renewable energy to Haitians still living without power.

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Mon January 14, 2013
Politics and Government

Area members of Congress push for funding of weatherization program

Rep. Dan Maffei in East Syracuse discussing funding for weatherization program
Durrie Lawrence WRVO

Members of Congress are asking the president to include a federal program to help low-income families insulate their homes in next year's budget. Rep. Dan Maffei says this is especially important in upstate New York, where heating a home can cost hundreds of dollars each year.

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Mon December 24, 2012

Fracking opponents respond to new fracking regulations

New Yorkers Against Fracking founder Sanda Steingraber speaks at Unitarian Church of Ithaca.
Matt Richmond WSKG

Helen Slottje is an Ithaca-based lawyer who helped develop town bans against drilling. She spoke to a friendly crowd on Monday night at the Unitarian Church of Ithaca.

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Wed December 19, 2012
Regional Coverage

Saranac brewery cuts ribbon on new biodigester

F.X. Matt Brewing CEO Nick Matt, in blazer, checks plans for a biodigester in June. The system will begin operating next month.
Ryan Delaney WRVO

The historic F.X. Matt Brewery, maker of the popular Saranac line of beers, is getting more "green" next month. It won't be making green beer on a regular basis, as some brewers do for St. Patrick's Day, but it will flip the switch on a new anaerobic digester.

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Fri December 14, 2012

Fracking regulations released for comment

A 90-day extension of the rulemaking process is widely viewed as the last step before New York makes its final decision on hydrofracking.
Matt Richmond WSKG

For those on the pro-fracking side, the newest regulations are both a good sign and a troubling one. On the one hand, they're a light at the end of the tunnel, proof that permits for hydrofracking aren’t far off. But, on the other hand, fracking supporters say that the Department of Environmental Conservation has only answered the concerns of the anti-fracking lobby.

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Fri December 7, 2012
Regional Coverage

BP Article X session in Cape Vincent explains controversial new process for power projects

BP attorney John Harris gives a presentation about the Article X power facility siting process in Cape Vincent Thursday night
Joanna Richards/WRVO

BP held a presentation last night in Cape Vincent on the Article X process for siting power projects under New York state law. It was another contentious encounter between local anti-wind power activists and BP representatives over the proposed Cape Vincent Wind Farm.

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Wed October 24, 2012
Regional Coverage

Cape Vincent wind power meeting message to BP: "Go Home!"

A meeting on BP's wind farm proposal was held in the town of Cape Vincent Tuesday night
Joanna Richards WRVO

Town officials and community members from the Jefferson County towns of Cape Vincent and Lyme gave energy company BP a clear signal at a meeting last night in Cape Vincent: a wind farm isn't welcome there.

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Tue October 23, 2012
Regional Coverage

BP to meet with towns of Cape Vincent & Lyme about wind power project

Strict new regulations for commercial wind turbines aim to send a clear message to BP.
Martin Abegglen Flickr

With a wind project proposed by BP, the town of Cape Vincent recently passed strict new regulations for commercial wind turbines. Then BP began seeking state review under the Article X law. That process could bypass local laws, if they're deemed “unreasonable.” Now the company has called a meeting with town officials, scheduled for Tuesday night. 

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Mon October 1, 2012

Green Jobs Green New York off to a slow start

Pat Dundon in the office, surrounded by workarounds for the energy efficiency modeling software TREAT.
Matt Richmond WSKG

The walls around Pat Dundon's desk are slowly filling up with white printouts. Some have the letterhead of the state's energy research organization NYSERDA, and others are lists he's created. His involvement in a program called Green Jobs Green New York has produced all this paperwork. Through the program, NYSERDA offers low-interest loans for energy efficiency upgrades.

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Thu September 6, 2012

Fracking will bring heavy truck traffic, but towns are ready

A tanker trucks transports water for hydrofracking operations in Susquehanna County, Pa.
Marie Cusick WMHT

Transporting the millions of gallons of water, as well as equipment, sand, and other materials needed to hydraulically fracture a natural gas well requires quite a few truck trips, to put it mildly.

One well site could require up to 3,399 one-way truck trips [PDF], according to the New York Department of Environmental Conservation's 2011 draft environmental impact statement (dSGEIS) on hydrofracking.

All those trips by heavy trucks can quickly beat up and wear out roads if they're not built to handle it.

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Mon June 18, 2012
Regional Coverage

How the maker of Saranac beer is turning wastewater into energy

Matt Brewing CEO Nick Matt, in blue blazer, discusses the brewery's addition of an anaerobic digester.
Ryan Delaney WRVO

Five big new tanks have arrived at the F.X. Matt Brewing Company in Utica. But they won't be used to make the brewery's signature Saranac brand craft beer.

Instead, the tanks will act as anaerobic digesters for the brewery's wastewater.

Special bacteria will munch on the yeast and grains left floating around. The process will get the water about 85 percent cleaner before it's discharged into the sewer system, according to CEO Nick Matt.

But the digestion process also gives off methane gas and carbon dioxide.

That methane will be used to power a generator. CEO Matt says the new system will cover up to 40 percent of the brewery's electricity needs.

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Mon April 30, 2012

The future of hydrofracking unclear in New York state

Natural gas drilling site in PA; August 2009
arimoore via Flickr; taken by Attorney Helen Slottje

Earth Day came and went in New York  without too much discussion of what many environmentalists believe to be the biggest issue facing the state- when and where the gas drilling process known as hydrofracking will  occur.

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Wed November 30, 2011
Community Forums

Following the Power Lines

We're drilling for gas, planning pipes from Canadian tar sands, and pumping millions of dollars into green energy projects.  

But the energy mix that we'll end up with in New York State is still a work in progress. What do we want to see powering our toasters and laptops in the years to come?

We've posed those questions to a panel of experts, to find out what's being built, how the marketplace might shake out, and what the social and political ramifications are of how we produce and consume power.

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