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PUSH Buffalo releases plan to address energy affordability

Ashley Hirtzel

PUSH Buffalo released a community-based energy plan Thursday as part of the comment period for Governor Cuomo’s 2014 Draft State Energy Plan.

The report aims to address the growing energy affordability crisis and is entitled ‘Achieving Energy Democracy: A vision for community-based energy policy in New York State.’

The plan suggests the state broaden access to home energy efficiency programs, giving home owners incentives to better insulate their homes and replace outdated furnaces.

Executive Director of PUSH Buffalo Aaron Bartley says the time for bold action to reform our energy infrastructure is now. He says the organization's proposal would create jobs locally and give consumers more control over energy costs.

“The second thing that we’re proposing is that the state needs to propose some higher standards when it comes to producing renewable energy. States like California, New Jersey are ahead of New York State when it comes to incentivizing solar. One of things we really like about solar is that it’s something that’s produced in a decentralized way. You don’t need a big factory to produce electricity through solar energy, every homeowner can do it. It gives that homeowner more power over their energy future and their energy consumption,” said Bartley.

The PUSH Buffalo proposal is also in line with the Green Jobs Green New York, a statewide program that promotes energy efficiency and the installation of clean technologies to reduce energy costs and greenhouse gas emissions. Assemblyman Sean Ryan says the program allows homeowners to receive reduced cost or free energy assessments depending on income through the Public Service Commission.

“We know in New York State it’s cheaper for us to help people insulate their homes than it is to build brand new power plants. So, it makes dollars and cents in the long run if you attack the consumption side of it rather than keep trying to more capacity in more capacity,” said Ryan.  

The state’s 2014 Draft Energy Plan will continue to take public comment through May 30th.