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The Governor's Energy Agenda: Transforming Supply and Demand in New York

The Governor's Energy Agenda
Reported by
Christine Van Lenten

Posted December 21, 2007

Presented By

Environmental Sciences & Sustainability Section, the Sallan Foundation, and the NY League of Conservation Voters.


Paul Tonko, CEO of the New York State Energy Research and Development Authority (NYSERDA), described the Governor Eliot Spitzer administration's strategic approach to environmental, energy, and climate change challenges, with a focus on his agency's efforts. He described a range of measures that are underway, including initiatives to set targets for energy efficiency, stimulate projects using renewable energy sources, and introduce green building codes for residential buildings, schools, and government buildings. He also discussed efforts to adjust the market to support more sustainable energy practices, including the Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative (RGGI) and the International Carbon Action Partnership.

Use the tabs above to find a meeting report and multimedia from this event.

Web Sites: New York State

Department of Environmental Conservation
DEC's Energy and Climate pages offer information on the State's participation in the Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative, green building, and much more.

New York Power Authority
This state-owned organization generates and sells low-cost electricity. It also promotes energy efficiency and the development of clean energy technologies and electric vehicles. It proclaims a commitment to the environment and to sustainability.

Funded primarily by $175 million paid annually by electricity ratepayers through the System Benefits Charge, the New York State Energy Research and Develop Authority "strives to facilitate change through the widespread development and use of innovative technologies to improve the State's energy, economic, and environmental wellbeing." Its Web site offers extensive information about its many activities.

The Academy worked with NYSERDA to develop a background paper and a research plan for the Environmental Monitoring, Evaluation, and Protection program. EMEP held a biennial conference on November 15–16, 2007.

The New York State Office of Science, Technology and Academic Research is a public benefit authority created by statute. It supports technology development, innovation, and commercialization to promote economic growth in New York State.

Public Service Commission
On May 16, 2007, the PSC launched an initiative to design an electric and natural gas Energy Efficiency Portfolio Standard. The EPS will establish targets for energy efficiency, similar to the existing Renewable Portfolio Standard, to help constrain energy use in New York.

Web Sites: Other

Green Home Guide: profile on Chris Benedict
This architect achieves huge energy savings on her projects at no additional cost.

International Carbon Action Partnership
This partnership, which New York State has joined, provides a forum in which public authorities and governments can share and evaluate experience with mandatory carbon cap-and-trade markets.

New York City's PlaNYC 2030
Among many goals, Mayor Michael Bloomberg's sustainability plan would reduce carbon emissions by 30% by 2030.

Apollo Alliance
This national alliance of labor, business, environment, environmental justice, and healthy-schools groups works for good jobs, clean energy, and energy independence. It has New York State and New York City chapters. The latter published its first Growing Green Collar Jobs report (PDF, 14.4 MB), on energy efficiency, in December 2007.

New York State Public Interest Group
This advocacy group offers a critique of state energy and environmental policies.

U.S. Department of Energy
DOE's Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy program partners with states and offers comprehensive information on state initiatives, including New York's.

Publications and Testimony

Banks, M. 2006. Smart meters. Gotham Gazette (November).

McKinsey & Company, 2007. Reducing U.S. Greenhouse Gas Emissions: How Much at What Cost?

Miller, J. 2007. Cleaning up New York's buildings. Gotham Gazette (October 15).

New York League of Conservation Voters. 2007. Governor adds firepower to his energy team. Ecopolitics Monthly. (December)

Tonko, P. 2007. Congressional testimony presented before the House Subcommittee on Domestic Policy. (April 25) Tonko focused on electric transmission line siting and addressed related energy issues in New York State. (PDF, 41 KB)

World Energy Outlook 2007. The flagship publication of the International Energy Agency, this annual report presents medium- to long-term energy market projections and analysis. The projections published in 2007 are grim.


Paul D. Tonko

New York State Energy Research and Development Agency
e-mail | web site

Paul D. Tonko was appointed President and CEO of NYSERDA on July 1, 2007. From April 1983 through June 2007 he served in the State Assembly, representing the 105th Assembly District, including all of Montgomery County and part of Schenectady County.

At age 26, he was the youngest person in the history of Montgomery County to be elected to the county's Board of Supervisors; he chaired that body in 1981. Prior to his election to the Assembly in 1983, Tonko worked as an engineer in the State Department of Transportation and served on the staff of the State Department of Public Service.

Tonko has gained a national reputation as an expert on energy and utility issues. From 1992 to June 2007 he chaired the New York Assembly Standing Committee on Energy. In April 2007 he provided expert testimony on the Energy Policy Act of 2005 before the U.S. Congress Subcommittee on Domestic Policy. He also served on Assembly Standing Committees on Agriculture, Transportation, and Education.

A lifelong resident of Amsterdam, New York, Tonko holds a BS in mechanical and industrial engineering from Clarkson University. He has been active in many community organizations and has received many awards and honors, among them the May 2007 Solar Leadership Award from the NY Solar Energy Industries Association.

Christine Van Lenten

Christine Van Lenten has written about public policy issues and technical and scientific subjects for federal and state agencies, nonprofit organizations, and private sector firms.