Galef Legislation on Renewable Energy Passes the Assembly

June 14, 2006

Assemblywoman Sandy Galef announced that A.6571, introduced to encourage the use of renewable energy by local governments, passed the Assembly on June 13th. This legislation would amend the general municipal law by expanding the products which may be purchased for public use.

Currently the law states that products purchased for public use must be bought from the lowest bid except for recycled products, which can be purchased if above the lowest price. This was in effort to encourage environmentally friendly purchasing by municipalities, but the law does not currently include energy. In order not to discourage the purchase of recycled products, A.6571 allows that renewable energy be included as a recycled product – available for municipality purchase at a price 15% higher than the lowest 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 by the year 2013. Renewable energy resources include wind, solar, photovoltaic, methane waste, tidal, geothermal, and fuel cell technologies. New York State already receives 19% of its energy from renewable sources, mainly from the hydropower plant at Niagara Falls.

“I enthusiastically support the development and purchase of more green power in New York State,” said Galef. “After visiting the Fenner Windmill Farm in New York’s Madison County, which has 20 windmills that can provide enough power for 10,000 homes, I was very impressed with wind energy.”

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.

“We need to encourage the move toward renewable energy by allowing municipalities to purchase it, even if it is slightly more expensive,” said Galef. “This is a great opportunity to help New York create energy to protect the environment and to reach our 2013 renewable energy goal.”