Assemblywoman Sandy Galef, 90th A.D., announced the passing of a bill in the New York State Assembly on May 25th to encourage the use of renewable energy by local governments (A.6571/S.898).
Under current law, products, such as energy, purchased by municipalities must be bought from the lowest bidder. Current law allows for recycled products that may be higher in price to be purchased, but energy purchases were not covered in the present law. Galef’s bill will allow for the extension of the law to allow renewable energy sources to be purchased at up to 15% higher than the low bid.
Governor Pataki and the Public Service Commission set a policy in 2004 to have 25% of all energy used in New York State to be renewable energy, including solar power and wind power, by the year 2013.
"I enthusiastically support the development and purchase of more green power in New York State. After visiting the Fenner Windmill Farm in Madison County, New York, which has 20 windmills that can provide enough energy for 10,000 homes, I was very impressed with wind energy," Galef said. "We need to encourage the move toward renewable energy by allowing municipalities to purchase it, even though it is more expensive."
This bill does not mandate municipalities to use renewable energy, it just provides the option. Municipalities will choose which energy source to use to power government buildings and street lamps. Currently, Croton, Philipstown and Briarcliff Manor in the 90th Assembly district have purchased renewable energy sources. "It is great that these three towns in my district have already made the choice to use renewable energy. By using these sources, these towns are helping to protect the environment by reducing pollution, and helping New York reach the goal of 25% renewable energy by 2013," Galef said.
Renewable energy resources include wind, solar, photovoltaic, methane waste, tidal, geothermal and fuel cell technologies. New York already gets 19% of its energy from renewable sources, mainly from the hydropower plant at Niagara Falls.
There has been support for this legislation by the New York Conference of Mayors and Municipal Officers and the Environmental Advocates of New York.
"This is a great opportunity to help New York create energy to protect the environment and to reach our 2013 goal," Galef concluded.