Renewable Heat Now to Governor Cuomo:
Thank you for standing up to National Grid, Now we Need a Plan for Renewable Heat
Albany, New York – Today, for the third month in a row, New Yorkers from across the state convened in Albany for the Public Service Commission (PSC) monthly meeting. Inexplicably, the Energy Efficiency Order, expected in September, was once again not on the agenda. Following the PSC meeting, a campaign letter was delivered to the Governor’s Office praising his Tuesday morning letter to National Grid giving them 14 days notice of his intention to revoke their downstate gas franchise and laying out steps he can take to spearhead the transition to renewable heating.
The campaign held a press conference afterwards to praise Governor Cuomo’s letter to the utility and urging him to go further in laying out a plan for a managed transition off of fossil heating onto renewable heating.
Lee Ziesche of Sane Energy Project said, “Every month that we have to come back to Albany to demand action from the PSC is critical time wasted to implement the climate solutions we desperately need. Our message is clear: Stop spending our ratepayer dollars on fracked gas infrastructure and make a plan that follows climate science and gets us off gas now.”
Veronica Cruz, from State Senator Julia Salazar’s office said, “Senator Salazar continues to support all efforts to oppose expansion of the use and reliance of natural gas or other harmful and dangerous sources of energy and power. She supports especially the demands to hold National Grid accountable. Senator Salazar continues to stand in solidarity with the Renewable Heat Now campaign and all who are fighting for real solutions to global warming.”
Ruth Foster of Stop the Fracked Gas Pipeline, a group fighting National Grid’s proposed E37 Albany Loop Pipeline said, “We need to stop all new fossil fuel infrastructure projects and we need to shut down the existing ones as fast as we can. Governor Cuomo claims to be a climate leader, yet every day he sits in a building heated by fracked gas. That’s not right. We call on NYPA to heat this building with geothermal heat pumps.”
Andrew Pezzullo Hudson Valley Organizer with Food and Water Watch said, “Affected communities, business owners and NYCHA residents should feel vindicated by the strong language [re: National Grid] coming from Governor Cuomo’s office., but to take this rhetoric and turn it into climate solutions that make material impacts in New Yorker’s lives and policy that takes our climate crisis seriously, New York needs a plan. It needs a plan to transition from fossil fuels to renewable heating. The plan cannot include fossil fuel companies and utilities building more pipelines. We need an Energy Efficiency Order now.”
Addressing the issue of badly needed workforce development in the renewable heating sector, Cari Gardner of the New York Progressive Action Network said, “Workforce development in the renewable heating sector is badly needed, in fact one of the biggest needs is for qualified drillers for geothermal. Gas drillers can become geothermal heat pump drillers.” She went on to say, “Low income household’s lives can be made better when their homes are weatherized and have affordable, safe, heating and air conditioning. This will help to prevent the many illnesses currently caused by the pollution of fracking, transporting and burning dirty fuels. We must we willing to make massive systems changes.”
Joanne Coons of NYGEO highlighted the many benefits of geothermal energy. “Buildings should be like trees reaching down for energy from the earth and outward to the sky for energy from the sun. Our buildings should be energy producers, not energy consumers.”
Lindsay Speer of Alliance for a Green Economy said, “It is crucial for the Governor and Public Service Commission to create a plan to efficiently electrify the heating sector in an orderly way, and hold the utilities to working in the public interest. Experts calculate that 3.5 million heat pump conversions will be needed by 2030 if we are to meet the greenhouse gas emissions targets in the Climate Leadership and Community Protection Act. We New Yorkers are rising to this challenge, and we need decisive and swift action from Governor Cuomo, the Public Service Commission, and the utilities to shift our energy system appropriately. Our futures depend on it.”