State brainstorms renewable energy proposals

NEW YORK STATE - A state task force on renewable energy is recommending an eightfold increase in solar-energy development, offering incentives to attract green-energy businesses to the state and suggesting changes in the law to encourage companies to produce renewable energy on-site.

All of the recommendations are aimed at increasing renewable energy sources to make up 25 percent of the state's energy demand by 2013. At a recent meeting to announce the initiatives, Lt. Gov. David Paterson said the recommendations would put New York "on a path to become part of the global solution" to global warming and emissions-belching traditional power sources.

Increasing sources of solar energy eightfold would push energy levels derived from photovoltaic cells in the state to more than 100 megawatts, the renewable energy task force said in a statement. The recommendations also include development and support of a "green-collar" workforce to nurture and maintain renewable energy sources.

That element of the plan includes coordination and expansion of green-energy training programs, including in disadvantaged communities. The task force, whose members include Long Island Power Authority chief executive Kevin Law, said 43,000 new jobs could be created in the state if New York follows through on a proposal to require 25 percent of the state's energy to come from renewable resources by 2013.

Incentives to attract renewable energy companies would be aimed at building "clusters" of solar, wind, biomass and other green-energy industries around the state. Changes in the law to encourage on-site installation of renewable energy sources at companies would include extending the net-metering law to corporations, not just residences.

Net metering allows a home to sell energy back to the grid when it exceeds a home's requirements. "Our challenge is not a lack of renewable energy potential," Gov. Eliot Spitzer said in a statement, "it is finding ways to effectively develop it and create economic opportunities in our own backyard."


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