Wednesday, February 25, 2009

Renewable Energy

Renewable Energy = Jobs, National Security and a Healthier Environment

Rocky Kambo M.PL., Community Development Educator

Renewable energy has garnered considerable attention in recent years. At the national level, renewable energy is the focus of President Obama’s “New Energy for America Plan”. At the state level, Governor Paterson is pushing for renewable energy in New York State. Why is there such a push for renewable energy?
To begin with, renewable energy can result in job creation. A press release from Governor Paterson states that “the development of these technologies...[will create] vital economic development opportunities for new high-tech companies to locate in many regions of the state, and [create] new green collar jobs”. Similarly, President Obama’s Plan hopes to create 5 million new jobs through investment in efforts to “build a clean energy future” over the next ten years.
Furthermore, renewable energy is tied to our national security and our environment. President Obama identifies two major energy challenges stemming from our reliance on oil: our dependence on foreign oil and global climate change. Part of the solution to these two challenges is renewable energy.
What does this mean for Schuyler County? We are well positioned to take advantage of new developments in several renewable technologies, including wind energy. Just recently, with a grant from NYSERDA, Cornell Cooperative Extension, Schuyler County and Southern Tier Central Regional Planning conducted a viewshed analysis. A viewshed analysis looks at sites/areas that have adequate wind resources for current turbine technologies, and then considers how these potential placements would impact important views. Clearly a viewshed analysis is only one part of the full review needed before turbines are sited. However, it is only the first step and can help inform community conversations about wind energy production. For Schuyler County, renewable energy could be an excellent way to decrease our environmental impact and at the same time, increase our employment and domestic energy production potential.

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