UNIONDALE (September 29, 2009)Ã¢â‚¬â€State Senate Energy and Telecommunications Chair Darrel J. Aubertine and Long Island Senators Craig M. Johnson and Brian X. Foley today continued public talks with business leaders and other stakeholders on the future of energy incentive programs which have been used to create and sustain jobs throughout the state.
A roundtable discussion held today at the headquarters of the Long Island Power Authority as part of the LegislatureÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s Ã¢â‚¬Å“Powering New YorkÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s FutureÃ¢â‚¬Â initiative, featured more than a dozen participants, including businesses, trade organizations and representatives with expertise on the economic development and energy sides of the discussion. It was the state LegislatureÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s second public roundtable discussion on the topic. Last week, lawmakers held a roundtable in Buffalo, followed the next day in Niagara Falls by the first of two hearings to be held.
Ã¢â‚¬Å“As we continue to reach out for public input, we recognize that there is a desire to reform these programs to make them more effective and more efficient to create and preserve jobs across the state,Ã¢â‚¬Â Sen. Aubertine said. Ã¢â‚¬Å“These programs have helped many energy intensive industries to hire new workers and maintain employment levels. The input we receive in these forums will help us to develop an even better approach to using the New York Power AuthorityÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s resources for economic development. I want to thank Senators Johnson and Foley for their interest in this topic and their dedication to the needs of their constituents.Ã¢â‚¬Â
Ã¢â‚¬Å“Long Island has a distinct business environment with challenges that include high energy costs and high costs of doing business overall,Ã¢â‚¬Â Senator Johnson said. Ã¢â‚¬Å“It is critical that any new energy incentive program help address the unique needs of Nassau and Suffolk business leaders. I thank my good friend, Senator Aubertine, for spearheading this critically important undertaking.Ã¢â‚¬Â
“Energy efficiency and energy costs have been important issues on Long Island for many years,” Senator Foley said. “Today’s roundtable is an integral step in looking at current programs and determining where they are working and where there is room for improvement. I would like to thank Senator Aubertine for recognizing the importance of these issues to Long Island and traveling down here to listen to the concerns of our business and environmental leaders.”
Long Island Power Authority President and CEO Kevin Law said: Ã¢â‚¬Å“I want to commend Chairman Aubertine, Senator Johnson and Senator Foley for their commitment to providing lower-cost energy to businesses that will retain and create jobs on Long Island and throughout New York State, as well as tackle the other significant energy challenges facing the region. At the Long Island Power Authority, it is integral to our core mission to promote economic development while also investing in critical efficiency and renewable programs. We are excited to participate in todayÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s roundtable discussion with the New York State Senate as we continue to deliver safe, reliable and affordable energy to our customers while partnering with the Long Island business community and stimulating a clean energy economy.Ã¢â‚¬Â
At the roundtable today the participants discussed a desire to see the stateÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s low-cost power economic development programs centralized as a one-stop-shop for businesses, as well as the need for energy efficiency and maintaining programs to keep good businesses and good paying jobs in our communities. The participants also discussed the possibility of using low cost power for business incubators on college and university campuses to grow a business and provide the benefits that will keep that business and its jobs local.
Among those in attendance at the roundtable were representatives from the Advanced Energy Research and Technology Center, Renewable Energy Long Island, Long Island Progressive Coalition, LED Lumina, the Long Island Clean Energy Task Force, Suffolk County Electrical Agency, County Energy Service, the Long Island Association and John Hassall, Inc., a business receiving Power for Jobs benefits. Some of the participants said they were pleased to have the Energy Committee Chair host this event with their local representatives. They said it was the first time in their recollection that the chair of this important committee has visited Long Island.
The Senate and Assembly have put together this initiative to bring public input into ongoing discussions on the future of these programs. Before renewing several programs including Power for Jobs last summer, lawmakers promised to collect input from businesses and stakeholders to ensure that their ideas were part of the policy making process. Led by the Energy Committees in each house, these events are intended to better target and deliver program benefits, while examining the New York Power AuthorityÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s (NYPA) stewardship of these vital economic development programs.
The legislators will continue to listen to business leaders, including from companies in the programs now and others not receiving benefits at this time, trade groups, advocates and the general public to better understand the value of these programs and consider new ideas to improve and reform these programs to retain existing jobs, attract new investment from new employers, and build new careers in New York. Input received in the hearings will be used along with legislative analysis of NYPAÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s performance, to craft a new long term low-cost power economic development program.