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Panel aims to give boost to alternative energy

Lt. Gov. David Paterson on Tuesday opened the first meeting of a group meant to help reduce the state’s reliance on fossil fuels by expanding renewable energies like solar, wind and biofuels.

The 17-member Renewable Energy Task Force, meeting in the Blue Room at the Capitol, also is responsible for offering ideas on reaching Gov. Eliot Spitzer’s goal of reducing the expected growth in electrical demand by 15 percent by 2015.

That goal would mean the state would be consuming about 8 percent less power than forecast for this year, which would be about the same amount as it did in 1998.

Paterson said increased alternative energy “will help recharge our upstate economy while reducing greenhouse gas emissions.”

Advocates for solar and wind energy said the state can do more encourage the technology.

Carol Murphy, executive director of the not-for-profit Alliance for Clean Energy New York, said the state should rewrite its laws to allow residences and businesses to sell excess solar and wind-generated electricity to the grid.

Currently, such sales are limited to residences and apply only to small systems. “On this issue, we have fallen way behind other states,” Murphy said.

An official from the New York Power Authority said more can be done to encourage construction of wind farms.

“Wind should not be a dirty word,” said Brian Warner, policy and communication director.

Warner said revenue from wind farms in Lewis County and near Utica are providing important revenue to farmers who lease the property.

The task force’s preliminary report is due by December.

By Brian Nearing
Staff Writer

Times Union

27 June 2007