* * * For Immediate Release * * *
Long Island Clean Electricity Vision - 100% Renewable Study Release
September, 04, 2012
Contact: Gordian Raacke, 631-329-8888 or email info@RenewableEnergyLongIsland.org
350.org, Alliance for Clean Energy NY, Citizens Campaign for the Environment, Environmental Advocates of NY, GRACE Communications Foundation, Group for the East End, HealthyPlanet, LI Solar Energy Industry Association, National Wildlife Federation, NY Public Interest Research Group, Renewable Energy Long Island, Sierra Club, Sustainability Institute at Molloy College, The Neighborhood Network, Vision Long Island
CONTACTS: Gordian Raacke, Renewable Energy Long Island, 516-313-6611 (m)
LONG ISLAND AT CRITICAL JUNCTURE: TIME FOR CLEAN ENERGY IS NOW!
Long Island, NY – Sept. 4, 2012 – A bold new study, the Long Island Clean Electricity Vision, commissioned by Renewable Energy Long Island (reLI) and environmental, public interest, and other advocacy organizations, finds that 100 percent clean, renewable electricity is now possible for Long Island.
The analysis, performed by Synapse Energy Economics, concludes that a clean energy transition could take place within two decades, at relatively modest cost and with significant benefits. Such findings are timely given that Long Island is at an energy crossroads, with the Long Island Power Authority facing long-term power purchase decisions as many fossil fuel power purchase agreements expire in 2013.
Key findings of the Long Island Clean Electricity Vision are:
· Using cautious assumptions, it appears technically feasible that renewable energy sources can supply all residential electricity needs by 2020.
· By 2030 all of Long Island could have a 100 percent renewable and zero-carbon electricity supply.
· Aggressive energy efficiency efforts, large scale wind, solar and other renewable energy technologies would need to be built to replace old, inefficient fossil-fueled power plants.
· During times when not enough renewable energy is available to meet electricity demand, some existing fossil-fueled power generation would be used to meet demand, but renewable energy credits would be purchased to offset their emissions.
The study was based exclusively on technologies which are commercially available today.
“We now have everything we need to make the transition from dirty and dangerous fossil fuels to a clean, and renewable electricity supply,” said Gordian Raacke, Executive Director of Renewable Energy Long Island, a regional not-for-profit organization. “This transformation of our energy supply is now both achievable and affordable, and presents a tremendous opportunity and challenge to all of us – Governor Cuomo, elected officials, our utility, municipalities, the private sector and every Long Islander.”
While this is the first study examining a 100 percent renewable energy future for Long Island, numerous other studies have come to similar conclusions for other regions. They include a 2012 National Renewable Energy Laboratory study for the entire U.S., a world-wide study by Jacobson/Delucchi (Stanford University), and a World Wildlife Fund study. Many regions already have goals for 100 percent renewable energy, and some are well on their way or are already meeting these goals. Examples include Scotland and Denmark, as well as the cities of San Francisco, CA and Munich, Germany.
“LIPA and state leaders have verbally supported renewable energy for a decade, now is the time to put those words into action. Making the transition from dirty fossil fuels to clean renewable energy is not halted by technology or cost, but rather by political indifference to the hardships caused by our energy choices,” said Adrienne Esposito, Executive Director of Citizens Campaign for the Environment. “Large scale renewables need to be a real part of our energy generation and this study shows we can do that. Now, we need the Governor to make it happen.”
"This report challenges conventional thinking and provides an exciting vision of the great potential for clean energy," said Neal Lewis, Executive Director of Sustainability Institute at Molloy College.
While switching to a clean electricity supply will require significant investments in 21st century energy technologies, a failure to upgrade the region’s electricity infrastructure could prove more costly in the long term. Continued reliance on fossil fuels, a finite energy source, in an era of growing worldwide energy demand is risky and likely to result in ever increasing energy bills for consumers. On the other hand, renewable energy technologies tend to get cheaper as demand grows and they become more widespread. Once installed, renewable energy has a predictable price and requires no fuel purchases, keeping energy dollars in the local economy, rather than sending it to energy producing regions.
The study finds that the cost of switching to a 100 percent renewable electricity supply is modest: average customer bills are estimated to increase by roughly 8 to 12 percent. On a typical monthly LIPA bill, this amounts to $12 to $18, or the cost of a pizza. The indirect cost of current fossil fuel use to individuals and society, such as environmental and health-related costs from pollution, are not considered in this comparison.
The move to a clean energy future at the beginning of the 21st century can be seen historically as a major paradigm shift requiring extensive rethinking and rapid retooling of infrastructure similar to the transition to the space age in the 1960s and widespread personal communication technology in the late 1990s.
"Former Governor Mario Cuomo stood with Long Island safe energy activists to close the Shoreham Nuclear Plant,” said long-time activist, educator, and former coordinator of the Stop Shoreham Campaign Peter Maniscalco. “Now, Long Island clean energy activists hope that as Governor Andrew Cuomo seeks reorganization of LIPA he will create a renewable energy era on Long Island - 100 percent Renewables Now!"
Failing to begin this clean energy transition now could not only be costly but be a missed opportunity.
"We need LIPA to stand up for the health and future of Long Island by taking bold steps to make large-scale renewable energy a reality. This report shows that a clean energy future is possible for Long Island, so now we need LIPA to make it happen," said Lisa Dix, Senior New York Campaign Representative for the Sierra Club.
"A common thread among millennials is a universal distrust in the ability of policymakers to represent them,” said Enrico Purita, Community Outreach Director at NYPIRG and a concerned member of Generation Y. “In order to show young people that policy change isn't always about political gain, we need a renewable energy initiative that shows commitment to innovation, the most American ideal of all."
The study compares a “business-as-usual” scenario based on LIPA’s plans to the 100 percent Clean Electricity Vision scenario and assumes that carbon emissions from power plants in the U.S. will be regulated in the future. Depending on future carbon and fossil fuel prices, the Long Island Clean Electricity Vision could provide savings in later years compared to continued reliance on carbon-based fossil fuels.
“We have an existing price on carbon through the Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative, a 9-state carbon market to reduce climate pollution from power plants,” said Ross Gould of Environmental Advocates NY. “Since 2009 New York has had a price on carbon pollution from power plants and earlier this year California’s carbon market started as well, so a national price on carbon is a real possibility.”
Use of renewable energy dramatically cuts greenhouse gas emissions which contribute to climate change and have been linked to extreme weather events. There is broad scientific consensus that in order to avoid irreversible effects from climate change, carbon concentrations in the atmosphere must be lowered significantly. Many leading climate scientist now recommend a limit of 350 parts per million by the year 2050, which would require a switch to carbon free energy sources. Numerous governments, including New York State, have already established goals to reduce greenhouse gas emissions, not just in the electricity but all sectors of their economies, 80 percent by 2050.
"This summer's extreme heat, drought and floods have devastated communities from Dhaka to Des Moines, and we know that the culprit is climate change. Across the world, a peoples' movement is gaining strength calling for a stop to fossil fuels and a rapid transition to clean energy." said May Boeve, Executive Director of the global climate group 350.org. "Long Island can be at the forefront of this movement, and be a shining example to the world."
The study includes a diverse mix of energy efficiency and renewable electricity sources that could provide 100 percent of Long Island’s electricity needs free of climate changing carbon emissions. The study is not an implementation plan, but rather looks at the feasibility and cost of switching Long Island to 100 percent renewable electricity, in the hopes of prompting more analysis and sparking a bold new energy vision.
"The CEV study contributes further evidence to the growing body of research demonstrating that the switch to clean energy is feasible and necessary," said Carol E. Murphy, Executive Director of Alliance for Clean Energy New York (ACE NY). "Given the numerous environmental and economic benefits, leaders and policymakers on Long Island and throughout New York State should work together to pursue aggressive renewable energy and energy efficiency goals, which we can see are well within reach."
The Long Island Clean Electricity Vision study was funded by the Rauch Foundation and the Long Island Community Foundation.
The study and more info is available at www.RenewableEnergyLongIsland.org/100percent
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· “Fossil fuel pollution also affects other species as well. "Advancing responsibly-sited renewable energy is critical for protecting wildlife from the dangers of climate change," said Catherine Bowes, Senior Manager at the National Wildlife Federation. "Offshore wind energy off the coast of Long Island presents a golden opportunity to power New York's homes and businesses with locally-produced clean energy."
· “An even greater reliance on renewable power and energy efficiency has many environmental and public health benefits ranging from improved air quality to reduced strain on water resources and aquatic life, “said Kyle Rabin, program director with GRACE Communications Foundation. “With no time to waste, our government, business and environmental leaders must continue to work in collaboration to put us on the road to achieving this important goal of 100 percent renewables.”
· "The solutions are within our reach. It's time to put these ideas into action," said Laura Haight, senior environmental associate with the New York Public Interest Research Group. "Forward-thinking investments today will lead to affordable and reliable clean energy for Long Island and throughout New York State."
· "A large scale commitment to renewables is an essential to smart growth for our region," said Eric Alexander, Executive Director of Vision Long Island, a smart growth planning organization. "We applaud the Long Island Energy Roundtable for doing this analysis and showing the path to this promising future."
· "At a time when the serious worldwide impacts of climate change are becoming apparent, this study lays the foundation for a refreshing, new, win-win energy vision for Long Islanders,” said Bob DiBenedetto, HealthyPlanet. “We need not export billions of LI energy dollars annually, in return for pollution and related diseases from asthma to cancer. Instead, we can create local, clean energy jobs and a healthier environment starting today.”
· “The oil companies have made more than their fair share of our money and subsidies to outdated dirty technology have to stop,” said Jemille R. Charlton, a student at Suffolk Community College, husband, father of three, and 14 year USAF/NY Air National Guard Veteran. “We need a national effort to invest in clean sustainable energy for the future of our planet and our nation. We need to stop listening to the lies and take control of our future today."
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RELI is a 501(c)3 not-for-profit membership organization promoting clean,
sustainable energy use for Long Island.
Gordian Raacke, Executive Director, Renewable Energy Long Island
62 Newtown Lane, Suite 103
East Hampton, NY 11937
Phone: 631-329-8888 Fax: 877-619-5572
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