Aubertine: Act to promote energy conservation will create 5,000 to 15,000 new jobs
Environment, homeowners, businesses and Upstate NY to benefit from retrofitting program
ALBANY (September 9, 2009)—As part of ongoing efforts to create jobs and reduce costs for energy consumers, state Sen. Darrel J. Aubertine is working to pass legislation known as the Green Jobs/Green New York Act of 2009 (S.5888/A.8901) that would use revenue from the sale of carbon emission credits to fund conservation, train workers to weatherize homes, defray capital improvement costs for business and residential consumers throughout New York State, and cut monthly energy bills.
“This program will create jobs, save consumers on their energy bills and help get our economy back on track,” said Sen. Aubertine, chair of the Senate Energy and Telecommunications Committee. “The Green Jobs/Green New York Act is designed to encourage conservation, help consumers with the cost of capital improvements to their homes and businesses, and create jobs in the new economy. It’s a win-win for New York State, especially Upstate New York where a well-trained workforce will be in demand to keep the heat in and energy bills down every winter.”
The program, which would be administered through the New York State Energy Research and Development Authority (NYSERDA), will establish workforce training programs in conjunction with the state Department of Labor to prepare thousands of New Yorkers to begin working toward the program’s goal of making one million homes, businesses and not-for-profits statewide more energy efficient. Home and business owners in communities throughout New York State from Watertown to Montauk and Buffalo to Albany would be eligible for loans. The distribution of these loans and the jobs created will be targeted toward economically distressed areas and be distributed proportionally throughout the state.
“Using conservative estimates, this legislation will create between 5,000 and 15,000 jobs statewide,” Sen. Aubertine said. “Nearly half of those jobs will be in Upstate New York, not counting the jobs we will preserve and create by reducing energy costs for businesses. We cannot afford to pass on this opportunity to be environmentally responsible and put New Yorkers back to work.”
The Green Jobs/Green New York Act fits into the parameters of NYSERDA’s mission to conserve energy and directs the Department of Environmental Conservation to direct $112 million from the sale of carbon credits through the Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative (RGGI) to NYSERDA. Auctions of carbon emission credits over the last two years raised $126 million, with an estimated $75 million more expected in the next two auctions this year alone, including one today.
“This program uses RGGI funds to reduce emissions, but the investment in our state’s homes and businesses is not limited to RGGI funds,” the Senator continued. “This money will be used as seed money to leverage additional federal funding along with private investment and create the funding mechanism needed to weatherize one million homes and businesses throughout the state. The energy used to power, heat and cool our homes and other buildings accounts for 40 percent of our nation’s energy consumption. By working to reduce that number through weatherization, we are working to benefit our environment and grow our state’s economy. This is an investment that will pay huge dividends Upstate for many years to come.”
With the RGGI funds, NYSERDA will establish a revolving loan program to provide up to $13,000 per residential customer to retrofit a home and up to $26,000 to retrofit each qualifying business. The terms for these loans will ensure that the savings from weatherization are greater than the cost of repaying the loan.
“This program will enable homeowners and businesses to take charge of their energy bills and reduce their costs, all while creating a market for a new and well trained workforce,” Sen. Aubertine said. “Energy conservation is a much talked about, but sometimes difficult strategy to implement. Large scale improvements require a significant upfront investment, but under this program, the upfront cost is taken care of and in return, home and business owners will see an immediate savings on their monthly energy bills.”
Promoting energy conservation and clean energy technologies is a clear and cost-effective way for communities in New York State to curtail emissions of greenhouse gases and pollution, reduce dependence on fossil fuels, lower housing costs, support community development and create green jobs to sustain and enhance our economy.
This legislation has received widespread bipartisan support, with both the Assembly’s Democratic and Republican leadership sponsoring the bill. It passed the Assembly unanimously, 147-0. Members of both parties signed on as sponsors in the Senate when it was introduced on June 18 by Sen. Aubertine as chair of the Legislative Commission on Rural Resources, a bi-partisan commission with members from both the Assembly and Senate.