Sixty local businesses are calling on Governor Andrew Cuomo to support renewable energy. During an event hosted by the Sierra Club Niagara Group Thursday, business owners and concerned citizens touched on the benefits of wind energy.
The group is urging the Governor take the lead on climate issues and make a commitment to boosting wind energy across the state as part of the “Turn, Don’t Burn” campaign.
Sierra Club Beyond Coal organizer Charlotte Olena says the renewable resource is not only a healthier, more green energy option, but it can create well-paying jobs locally.
“Governor Cuomo has the power to make New York State a leader by doubling on-shore wind energy by 2018 and to support an off-shore wind project this year in Long Island,” said Olena.
Olena says unlike renewable energy fossil fuels drive climate change and can make people sick with diseases like asthma.
Chair of the Sierra Club Niagara Group Lynda Schneekloth says fossil fueled power plants are the biggest drivers of climate change due to carbon emissions. She says Iowa, Texas, and South Dakota receive more than 20 percent of their electricity from wind, and she believes New York State should do the same.
“We now know that out love affair with fossil fuels has literally changed the chemistry of the atmosphere and induced global warming with excessive carbon dioxide, methane and other green house gasses. It hasn’t been pretty and it’s going to get worse. Droughts, fires, floods, extreme storms, unprecedented extinctions, food insecurities, extreme heat and cold, and so on,” said Schneekloth.
President of Niagara Wind & Solar Thom Fleckenstein wind energy has the potential to reduce or eliminate power bills. He says if given a fair chance and level playing field, wind can compete dollar for dollar with fossil fuels, and in some cases it’s cheaper because the fuel is free.
“Our wind resource in terms of production on a kWh [kilowatt-hour] basis is much better than solar, even though solar is getting much more attention statewide. In terms of economic impact wind will beat solar any day of the week,” said Fleckenstein.
Charlotte Olena adds that Governor Cuomo is the only one who can eliminate red tape that wind power installation companies are facing, such as issues with building permits in various municipalities.