By Sen. Darrel J. Aubertine
Last week in Canton, the GovernorÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s office held the first of nine hearings on the draft 2009 New York State Energy Plan, which gives a solid snapshot of our stateÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s energy picture, with a clear set of objectives and recommendations. This plan will serve as the groundwork for further discussion with lawmakers, citizens, businesses and other stakeholders to give their input and form a workable, transparent and accountable energy plan for the state.
IÃ¢â‚¬â„¢m pleased that the Governor chose to hold the first meeting here in the 48th Senate District and that the first draft recognizes our stateÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s opportunity to rebuild the economy with an environmentally friendly and business friendly energy policy designed to capitalize on the need to reduce carbon emissions and nurture new, low-cost energy alternatives for new investment and job creation in New York.
Nowhere in the state is any region better poised to lead this new economy than here in Central and Northern New York. This region could be considered an energy valley, at the center of our stateÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s energy future. Studies have shown that we already have a strong, budding industry of alternative energy and environmentally sustainable products. We have open spaces and agriculture for alternative carbon neutral energy sources, including cellulosic ethanol and bio-diesel, along with existing hydropower and nuclear facilities capable of generating large amounts of low-cost energy to meet our stateÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s needs.
As we look to make New York State more energy independent and improve our economy, this energy plan will play a significant role filling a void where no clear objectives and strategy have been laid out for our stateÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s energy future. In my role as chair of the Senate Energy and Telecommunications Committee and also the Senate Agriculture Committee, I am working to make sure that the objective is to deliver reliable, affordable energy where and when itÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s needed, while we continue to improve conservation efforts.
At the hearing I testified about the need to improve our natural gas infrastructure, upgrade our transmission and distribution systems, bring new sources of electrical generation on line and build a partnership with Quebec for low-cost hydropower imports. I will continue to advocate on behalf of a fourth nuclear reactor in Oswego, where its construction and operation will serve as an economic engine for the region. A state of the art facility with improved fuel recycling and safety will play a key role in meeting our stateÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s energy needs and objectives.
I look forward to reviewing the publicÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s comments about the plan and working with the Governor as Senate Energy Committee chair to ensure the needs of our region are met and the potential for economic growth here is a priority. ItÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s clear that this region of New York State is going to play a significant role in the stateÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s energy plan, and by holding the first hearing here, the Governor demonstrated that he recognizes this as well. New York has a bright future. This energy plan and this region will be a major part of that future.