N.Y. Governor Pins Hopes on Clean Energy Plan

In his first State of the State address, N.Y. Gov. David A. Paterson laid out a progressive policy agenda to help working families during these difficult times including calling for one of the most ambitious clean energy plans in the nation. This goal will also create 50,000 new jobs for New Yorkers.

"We still do not know the extent of the economic chaos that awaits us, but we do know that these are the worst economic times since the Great Depression," said Paterson. "Our government must now do what New York families have been doing for years – make painful choices about what we can and cannot afford.

"In this legislative session, we must do three things," continued Paterson. "First, we must balance the budget; second, we must strengthen our health care system, improve our schools, create jobs, rebuild our infrastructure, clean up our environment, and begin a clean energy revolution; and third, even in these difficult times, we must make sure we respect one another, serve one another, and protect one another."

"Energy has become too expensive, too unpredictable, and too damaging to our environment," said Paterson during his State of the State address. "It is time to control the cost of energy and how much we use. It is time to make New York more energy independent and more energy efficient, to develop our own sources of clean and renewable energy, and build new statewide systems for energy generation, transmission and distribution."

To achieve these goals, Paterson unveiled his "45 by 15" plan which calls for New York to meet 45 percent of its electricity needs through improved energy efficiency and clean renewable energy by 2015 – one of the most ambitious clean energy goals in the country. Paterson added: "Our program '45 by 15' will not simply revitalize our economy; it will help protect our environment. New York is a charter member of the Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative and is participating in the nation's first carbon cap-and-trade framework. We in New York are leading the fight against global warming, because we understand that reviving our economy and protecting our planet go hand in hand, so long as we have the vision and courage to act on our convictions."

Governor Paterson also announced the creation of a clearinghouse to serve as a single point of access for information on all energy efficiency programs for schools, hospitals, and local governments. A Web site will be created to provide a single point of contact for all of the state's clean energy programs. The clearinghouse will help educate school districts, local governments, and hospitals on how to make the greening transition and what resources exist to assist them.

Finally, the Governor announced the creation of a consortium on hybrid electric batteries and energy storage technologies to make strides in the development of technology for plug-in hybrid electric vehicles. This will be implemented through the existing partnerships led by NYSERDA and expanded to add funding and partners, to ramp-up research and development of energy storage technologies that will support this new clean energy economy. The key technology needed is a rechargeable electric battery that can drive a car longer distances for less money and New York already possesses the research infrastructure and the manufacturing base to help develop the batteries.

"This consortium will help reshape the Upstate economy and create a clean corridor that includes cities in the Erie Canal corridor built some 200 years ago. It will also maximize the extraordinary academic and scientific resources available in the Western, Central and Capital Regions," said Paterson.

To complement this consortium, the governor also announced the creation of the New York Energy Policy Institute to coordinate the knowledge base and expertise of New York's higher education institutions. By disseminating state-of-the-art information and analysis on energy technologies and policies, the Institute will assist in keeping New York decision makers on the cutting edge.