Senate Minority Hear Testimony Of Alternative Energy Experts And Business Leaders

Kevin S. Parker

November 17, 2005

         State Senator Kevin S. Parker, chair of the Senate’s new Minority Task Force On An Alternative Energy Future today heard testimony from many of the State’s leading experts on solar power.

         The task force is seeking to expand New York’s solar power capacity and improve the business climate for New York’s solar industry. Other members of the task force include Senators Carl Andrews, Byron Brown, Efrain Gonzalez, Ruth Hassell-Thompson, Carl Kruger, George Onorato, Suzi Openheimer, John Sabini, Diane Savino, Jose Serrano and David Valesky.

         "Many solar businesses and opportunities for training a skilled solar workforce are located right here in New York State," Parker said. "Besides the obvious benefits of reducing electricity and heating costs, our reliance on imported fossil fuels, and reducing air pollution, we also have an opportunity to create new jobs in urban and rural areas, expand our tax base, avoid health costs associated with respiratory illnesses, and strengthen State and local economies."

         "The potential for solar power in New York is remarkable, far more so than most members of the media or public realize," Parker said. "In fact, the amount of sunshine falling on New York in just one day could supply the state’s energy needs for an entire year. We would be foolish not to explore this resource and fully exploit it."

         Senator Sabini said the work of the task force could lead to greater efficiency and lower heating costs. "With cold weather and skyrocketing heating bills on the horizon, the people of New York will thank us for holding these hearings and pursuing these goals."

         The task force examined the incentives currently used to promote solar power to determine how they can be strengthened and more effective and also discussed private/public partnerships, economic development and regulatory reform.

         Senate Minority earlier this year introduced a comprehensive energy plan for New York State, which addresses both the immediate energy crisis while also proposing long term solutions, such as conservation and development of alternative RENEWABLE sources.

         The renewable sector is expected to grow rapidly worldwide, and studies confirm that investments in renewable energy will create more American jobs than would a comparable investment in traditional fossil fuels. "Renewable domestic power represents a huge opportunity to invest in our country’s economic and political security," Parker aid. "Renewables are an excellent way to invest in our own communities with new businesses and skilled jobs. And, because renewable energy like solar power avoids emitting the air pollutants from the combustion of fossil fuels, renewable energy is an investment in the health of our families and our future."