Green Innovations

Developing renewable and clean technology companies in New York

Wednesday, December 23, 2009

UVANY and The Clean Tech Center -- Capital Forum on "Financing Green Innovation"

January 7, 2010 - Hope Lodge at Greek Peak
http://www.hopelakelodge.com/



Be one of the first to visit Hope Lake Lodge, one of Upstate’s premier new “green destinations.” The recently opened LEED construction 172,000-square-foot, five-floor hotel and condominium lodge, includes a 42,000-square-foot indoor water park, a 5,500-square-foot spa, and 2,500 square feet of conference space.  Finger Lakes craftsmanship, local materials including glacial stone, sophisticated energy and water management and conservation systems, and clean energy technologies are just some of the highlights. 


Presented by The Clean Tech Center in conjunction with the Upstate Venture Association of New York

Featured speaker -- Robert Balk
Join Bob Balk, a long-time member of the International Olympic Committee and six-time Paralympic ski medalist for a presentation on “Financing Innovation.”  Bob was senior manager for Global Venture Capital Investments for the Boeing Corporation’s Phantom Works $250 million global venture capital investment fund and a board member of the National Venture Capital Association (NVCA) Corporate Venturing Group Advisory Board.

Also on the program will be Mike Shimazu, Project Manager at NYSERDA in Clean Energy Research and Market Development, who manages NYSERDA's incubator, manufacturing incentive, and business development programs.
Plus pitches by five “clean tech companies to watch” – some of the most promising new companies in the Upstate region.

Registration and refreshments at 3 pm.  Program starts at 3:30 pm and ends at 5 pm
Fee of $20, payable to UVANY (Upstate Venture Association of New York)
Registration on UVANY website: www.uvany.org

Tuesday, December 22, 2009

NYS budget : Saving money and the carbon footprint


A bit of trivia ... The New York State budget is going paperless through a new e-budget initiative in the coming year. No longer printing a full set of Executive Budget Books will save an estimated 5.5 million sheets of paper, 660 trees, and $75,000 per year. A smart way to save money, be sustainable, get the information out ... and leave a smaller footprint.

Look for it, coming soon, on The Division of the Budget’s website:  www.budget.state.ny.us

NYSERDA releases PON for Workforce Development Training Partnerships for Energy Efficiency

The New York State Energy Research and Development Authority (NYSERDA) is seeking partnerships with eligible training entities to deliver energy efficiency training programs throughout New York State. The Program goal is to significantly expand the existing energy efficiency training infrastructure to serve the needs of the portfolio of programs funded through the Energy Efficiency Portfolio Standard (EEPS).  For more information:  http://www.nyserda.org/funding/1816pon.asp

Monday, December 21, 2009

RFP out for development of Syracuse Inner Harbor: A unique green opportunity (in one of the greenest cities in the country)


The Syracuse Lakefront Development Corporation (LDC) and the New York State Canal Corporation today announced the release of a Request for Proposals (RFP) for the development of the Syracuse Inner Harbor. Proposals will be accepted through 1:00 p.m. on Wednesday, March 31, 2010.

The LDC was formed in 1996 to facilitate the redevelopment of an 800 acre area around Onondaga Lake known as the Syracuse Lakefront. The Lakefront Development Corporation works under contract with the New York State Canal Corporation in revitalizing the Syracuse Inner Harbor, a 42-acre site owned by NY State that is being transformed from a working Barge Canal Harbor into the centerpiece harbor redevelopment project on the 524-mile New York State Canal System.  While "green" isn't written into the RFP, it's worth noting that Syracuse is one of the "greenest" cities in the country, so expect to see responses that incorporate interesting elements of sustainability.

The Clean Tech Center is currently hosting a special exhibit on Onondaga Lake - which is considered the birthplace of sustainability, dating back to 1142 and the "seven generation" thinking of the Iroquois confederacy.  The exhibit runs until late January 2010.  This RFP represents a unique opportunity for a developer to create the next chapter in the history of this unique resource that is an essential part of American history.

For more information about the RFP:
http://www.syracuse.ny.us/Lakefront_RFP.aspx

GE Global Research completing $100 million renovation at its technology center in Upstate New York


Upstate New York is the home base for GE Global Research with more than 1,900 employees working on the frontiers of science and technology. GE  opened the first industrial research & development laboratory in the United States here in 1900.  It was a barn in the backyard of the home of scientist Charles Steinmetz. Today, GE's global research headquarters is a world-class, multi-disciplinary technology center spread over 525 acres overlooking majestic Mohawk River in Niskayuna, Upstate New York.  Areas of focus at the research center include electronic systems, alternative energies, biosciences, nanotechnology and polymer materials.

GE is in the final stages of a $100 million renovation to the facility that has added a new building wing to house nanotechnology and biosciences programs as well as state-of-the-art wet labs.

GE Global Research was selected by the U.S. Department of Energy as one of 46 new multi-million-dollar Energy Frontier Research Centers (EFRCs) being established across the country. The focus of GE's EFRC will be on advanced energy storage technologies and the pursuit of a zero carbon emissions solution for both transportation and stationary power applications.


The EFRCs were formed to pursue advanced scientific research on energy to help the nation become more energy independent. Of the 46 EFRCs selected, 31 are led by universities, 12 by DOE National Laboratories and two by nonprofit organizations. GE Global Research has the distinction of being the only corporate research laboratory chosen to lead an EFRC,

Largest green health care project in Upstate NY breaks ground today: St. Joseph's $220 million expansion is a "smart, green, healthy" building


St. Joseph's Hospital in Syracuse broke ground today on Phase 2A of a $220 million expansion project that will position it as one of the greenest and most ambitious health care expansion projects in Upstate New York.  The hospital, which has gained a well-earned reputation for top notch health care in many disciplines, particularly cardiac care, is taking it to the next level with a state-of-the-art project that not only embodies the latest technology, but  green design.  The silver LEED building will be a living test bed for how sustainable design can create a healing environment.  The impressive expansion project, which will enlarge the emergency facilities, operating suites and patient rooms, also includes a green roof, green infrastructure, expansive natural lighting, clerestory structures, energy efficient data center, and advanced heating, and energy management systems. 

At the ground-breaking it was noted that St. Francis is the patron saint of ecology, so it is fitting that a Franciscan hospital is at the forefront of an initiative that relates to sustainability and stewardship.  Phase 1 -- a $45 million expansion that created a medical office complex, parking garage and impressive lobby facilities -- has already been completed.  In addition, the hospital has been a catalyst for a neighborhood improvement project that also also includes the construction of new energy efficient residential units by Housing Visions Unlimited, and an innovative North Side Collaboratory project that is focusing on green collar job training for area residents.  It's a great example of "connecting the dots" when it comes to economic and community development, as speakers such as Congressman Dan Maffei pointed out at the event.

Read a more comprehensive overview of the project and details on its "green" elements at:
http://blog.syracuse.com/green/2009/11/st_josephs_hospital_plans_gree.html

Friday, December 18, 2009

Exxon - XTO and Marcellus Shale: What does it mean for NYS?



Exxon Mobil Corp announced plans this week to buy XTO Energy Inc for about $30 billion in stock, in a move that thrusts the U.S. energy giant to the forefront of North America's fast-growing natural gas industry. With the buy, Exxon, the largest publicly traded energy company, will become the top U.S. natural gas producer as it bets on natural gas expanding its share in the world's largest energy market.

What does that mean for New York State -- which contains part of the Marcellus Shale formation, one of the largest reservoirs in the country?  Right now, much of that land is agricultural.  Read an op-ed piece in the Times Union:  http://www.timesunion.com/AspStories/storyprint.asp?StoryID=87865

Thursday, December 17, 2009

Greening the neighborhood -- Syracuse style

One of the most unique green projects in the country is underway in Syracuse -- the first LEED certified neighborhood scale redevelopment.  It's an interesting look at how a community can undertake a complex redevelopment challenge and turn it into an opportunity.

Read about it in this week's New York Times:
http://www.nytimes.com/2009/12/16/realestate/commercial/16homes.html

Green Project Headquarters Earns Highest Level of Achievement



The AMOS Project, has been awarded Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) “Gold” certification for Commercial Interiors, from the U.S. Green Building Council.  It is the first project in Syracuse to achieve this rating. The award is being presented today by the USGBC.

The AMOS Project occupies 900 square feet of leased space in a historic building situated on what was once the Erie Canal. Inside, The AMOS Project showcases “green” projects in the Syracuse area using interactive kiosks and multimedia displays.

Clear Channel Communications, principal founder of The AMOS Project, worked with Bergmann Associates design firm to rehab the space to meet LEED standards. Green improvements include high-efficiency heating and cooling; advanced controls to bring in less outside air when the building is not in use and more air when it is occupied; and building materials with low volatile organic chemical content. Also, about 75 percent of the debris generated by construction was recycled.

Joel Delmonico, VP/General Manager for Clear Channel Communications in Syracuse, noted, “No matter how “green” new construction is, there is no question that the ‘greenest’ solution to reducing our carbon footprint lies in retrofitting existing buildings. Certainly all new construction should meet LEED standards, but the real impact will come from innovations in reducing waste in existing structures.”

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

NYSERDA funding opportunity out: PON 1746

NYSERDA FlexTech Program Opportunity Notice (PON) 1746 (formerly known as the Technical Assistance Program PON 1197) has been released. The FlexTech Program seeks customers interested in receiving cost-shared analysis of energy efficiency technical evaluations, process improvement analysis, peak-load reduction studies, energy procurement analysis, and development of peak-load curtailment plans (PLCPs) of their existing facilities as well as combined heat & power (CHP) and renewable generation feasibility studies for implementation within existing facilities. 

For more information:
http://www.nyserda.org/funding/1746pon.asp

NYS to receive $31 billion in stimulus funds


New York will receive at least $31 billion in American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (ARRA) funds, part of $420 billion that will be appropriated to states and other recipients over the length of the federal stimulus program, according to a just-released report.  New York will also continue to apply for some of the $44 billion in additional funding available through competitive grants, which may increase the final allocation.

As determined by Congress, the stimulus funds awarded to New York are distributed through three categories:

Infrastructure: New York will receive $3 billion for infrastructure projects, including $2.4 billion for transportation and about $571 million for clean water, drinking water and wastewater projects.

Aid to States and Localities: New York will receive $16 billion to support the State and county governments and school districts, including $11.1 billion for Medicaid and about $4.8 billion for education.

Aid to Individuals: New York will receive $6.7 billion in payments to individuals, including $3.9 billion in increased unemployment insurance, $1.3 billion in increased food stamps, $845 million in increased Social Security and Supplemental Security Income payments and $653 million in increased Pell grants to college students.

The remaining $5 billion targets a variety of projects, including housing, job training, health, energy and public safety.

The full report is available at: http://www.recovery.ny.gov/assets/documents/StimCabReport120409.pdf.

A breakdown of the total stimulus funds is available at: http://recovery.ny.gov/DirectAid/aidnewyork.htm.

NYS announces $3 million to 18 companies to help commercialize clean technologies


NYS has announced awards of $3 million to help 18 companies commercialize clean energy technologies. The funding, through NYSERDA, will help New York businesses increase their access to markets, customers, investors and partners, and build their capacity to serve a new or expanded customer base. The awards will help them create jobs, develop business plans, reach customers in the global marketplace, raise capital and build their business infrastructure.  Projects receiving funding include:

  • Ener-G-Rotors, Inc., Schenectady
  • Taconic Energy, Inc., Saratoga Springs
  • AWS Truewind, LLC, Albany
  • Fulton Companies, Pulaski
  • iCone Products, LLC, Liverpool
  • SpectraWatt, Inc., East Fishkill
  • Apex Wind Energy, Patterson
  • Windsor Machinery Company, Inc., Hopewell Junction
  • GeoEnergy Enterprises, LLC, Bohemia
  • Solar Metrology, LLC, Holbrook
  • Locus Energy, LLC, Manhattan
  • Rentricity, Inc., Manhattan
  • Adirondack Woodsman’s Pellet Company (AWP), LLC, Long Lake
  • Ioxus, Inc., Oneonta
  • Electrical Power worX CorpEPX, Alfred
  • Ashland Advanced Materials (AAM), LLC, Niagara Falls
  • Alternative Fuel Boilers, LLC, Dunkirk
  • Double A Willow, Fredonia

Read the full story and descriptions of the companies and their technologies at:
http://www.state.ny.us/governor/press/press_1208093.html

NYS adopts State Energy Plan today: A green roadmap to transition to the clean energy economy


Governor David A. Paterson today accepted the final 2009 State Energy Plan from the New York State Energy Planning Board. The Energy Plan provides a comprehensive blueprint for New York to continue to transition to a clean energy economy and outlines policy initiatives in five core areas:

1.   Continue to expand opportunities to improve energy efficiency, the cleanest, cheapest energy resource.
2.   Support the development of in-State energy supplies.
3.   Encourage investment in, and identify future needs for, energy infrastructure.
4.   Stimulate innovation in the clean energy economy and transition to a low-carbon future.
5.   Improve coordination between the State, other governments, and communities.


Among the specific initiatives that the Governor will propose in 2010 include:
  • Improving coordination and expanding energy efficiency and renewable energy programs across the State in support of the Governor’s ‘45 by 15’ clean energy goal. 
  • Submitting legislation that will establish a power plant siting process that will provide greater certainty to developers and greater opportunities for public involvement. 
  • Submitting legislation to establish a long-term Power for Jobs program and developing new selection criteria that encourage energy efficiency. 
  • Submitting legislation to “green” the State’s energy code and removing loopholes that have limited the code’s effectiveness. 
  • Working with the New York Power Authority to procure another 100 megawatts of solar energy statewide. 
  • Working with NYPA to bring to fruition an offshore wind project in the Great Lakes following the issuance of its RFP in December 2009. 
  • Ensuring stringent environmental safeguards are in place for natural gas drilling in the Marcellus Shale gas reserves. 
  • Releasing a Climate Action Plan that will identify strategies to achieve an 80 percent reduction in greenhouse gas pollution by 2050. 
  • Establishing incentives to repower existing power plants to reduce emissions and increase power output.
These initiatives are expected to continue to accelerate the growth of the clean tech marketplace in NYS.

The complete 2009 State Energy Plan, which includes a detailed implementation table and 16 in-depth issue briefs and assessments, is available at:  www.nysenergyplan.com

Monday, December 14, 2009

New York creates a State Energy Policy Institute


The State University of New York at Stony Brook has been named to lead a multi-university New York Energy Policy Institute (NYEPI).  Working in partnership with Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute and Syracuse University, the consortium will coordinate the work of leading energy research centers and experts and serve as a resource for the State’s policymakers.  The consortium will coordinate efforts with energy experts at partner institutions from across the State, including City University of New York (CUNY), Clarkson University, Columbia University, Cornell University, Hudson Valley Community College, Morrisville State College, The Rockefeller Institute of Government, SUNY College of Environmental Science and Forestry (ESF), the University at Albany, University at Binghamton, University at Buffalo and the University of Rochester.  Additional institutions and participants are anticipated.

The New York State Energy Research and Development Authority (NYSERDA), which will oversee the NYEPI’s operations, has allocated up to $200,000 per year for up to three years to be matched by the consortium members. NYEPI will work with NYSERDA and other State agencies to conduct studies, produce policy analysis, and provide guidance on energy issues impacting now and in the future. The NYEPI will also advance New York's ‘45 by 15’ initiative, one of the nation’s most aggressive energy efficiency and renewable energy initiatives which is estimated could create 50,000 new jobs throughout the State.

Earlier today, Governor Paterson accepted the final report from the Task Force on Diversifying the New York State Economy through Industry-Higher Education Partnerships. The NYEPI follows a number of the recommendations from the Task Force, including critical mass in strategic areas that invest in fields where New York can be a global leader in clean energy.

The NYEPI will assist and complement existing State energy policy research, including programs at NYSERDA, New York State Department of Public Service, Long Island Power Authority, New York Power Authority, and New York State Foundation for Science, Technology and Innovation (NYSTAR), among others.

Upstate Biotech Symposium 2010 -- innovation in biofuels, biopharmaceuticals and ag biotech


Central New York Biotechnology Symposium 2010 – Cultivating Economic Growth will bring together Upstate NY's most promising and innovative biotechnology companies, including start-ups from universities such as SUNY ESF, Upstate Medical University, Syracuse University and Cornell University, as well as independent biotech start-ups.

Hosted by The Central New York Biotechnology Research Center, the annual Biotechnology Symposium will be held March 22, 2010, in Syracuse, NY. The event will also provide an ideal opportunity to showcase the Central New York Biotechnology Research Center, a SUNY building that is currently under construction in Syracuse. When completed, the CNY BRC will serve as an incubator facility for more than 20 biotechnology companies.

For more information on the conference agenda: http://www.esf.edu/outreach/pd/2010/biotechnology/
Register here 

Putting brainpower to work: NYS releases blueprint for innovation ecosystem


NYS Governor David A. Paterson today accepted the final report from the Task Force on Diversifying the New York State Economy through Industry-Higher Education Partnerships. David Skorton, Task Force Chair and President of Cornell University, joined fellow Task Force members to present the Governor with their findings at the New York Stock Exchange.  “A New Economy is emerging in this country – an economy based on knowledge, technology and innovation,” Governor Paterson said. “With this report and these recommendations, we have the blueprint for how to move forward.

New York already possesses many of the fundamentals required to become a universally recognized center of innovation. On top of the $4 billion in university-based research, New York is home to world-leading companies whose research and development is bringing innovative products to market. The proposals and recommendations of this report outline the development of an ‘innovation ecosystem,’ which streamlines the State’s assets to promote development.  Key recommendations to create an “innovation ecosystem” consist of:
    • University practices that raise awareness of entrepreneurship and industry-collaboration opportunities on and off campus; achieve world class expertise through faculty recruitment and retention;
    • Industry practices that leverage open innovation principles and university expertise to stay on the cutting edge; pursue long-term umbrella agreements with universities for access to a portfolio of intellectual property; and generate support for the adoption of a research and development tax credit;
    • Access to Capital, which provides critical access to capital for university –based start-ups through the creation of a seed fund and the reduction or elimination of capital gains taxes for founding investors to bridge the “valley of death;”
    • Business Services that include business plan counseling, entrepreneurial mentorship. Access to capital, incubator space and regional hubs;
    • Critical Mass in Strategic Areas that invests in fields where New York can be a world-leader-health care and life sciences, energy, nanotechnology, and agriculture and the food industry;
    • State Practices which create an Innovation Advisory Council consisting of leaders from government, academia, industry and the investment community to advise the Governor and Legislature on promoting New York’s innovation economy; and collect and publish data relating to innovation capacity, activity and impact;
The final report of the Task Force on Diversifying the New York State Economy through Industry-Higher Education Partnerships is available online at: http://www.ny.gov/governor/reports/pdf/IHETF_Report_FINAL.pdf

Friday, December 11, 2009

2010: Clean Tech poised for a healthier lending environment


Data from the Federal Reserve Board shows that the credit crunch is beginning to ease.  As year-end approaches, the number of banks tightening lending standards over the past year has declined, making it a little easier to be approved for a loan.  At the same time, the drop in small business demand for loans appears to be easing, according to the SBA, and more businesses may be encouraged to seek credit again.

Jump-starting small business has been the focus of forums this week (along with the UN Climate Conference in Copenhagen), and the two issues are not unrelated.  Getting the clean tech sector going will mean getting credit flowing and stabilizing the financial system.  The Clean Tech Center spent a few days this week on Wall Street with the largest SBA lenders in NYS, and it is clear that the SBA has become a bigger and more important supplier of credit in the small business market, particularly with new programs this year that reduced loan fees and increased loan guarantees.

What's needed in 2010:  a continuation of funding to extend SBA's 90 percent guarantee and the reduction of fees on SBA 7(a) and 504 loans.  This will be crucial -- especially for the clean tech sector, which are often new businesses that need access to capital and the support of public tools like loan guarantee programs.

Thursday, December 10, 2009

Hope Lodge opens today: one of the premier green destination sites in the northeast


Opening today ... The $45 million new Hope Lodge at Greek Peak is a 172,000-square-foot, five-floor hotel and condominium lodge, as well as a 42,000-square-foot indoor water park. The lodge includes 151 hotel rooms, a 5,500-square-foot spa, 2,500 square feet of conference space, a bar and grill, and a fitness center.

Visiting it on the web does not even begin to capture the artistry and workmanship that went into this showpiece. Finger Lakes craftsmanship, local materials including glacial stone, sophisticated energy and water management and conservation systems, and clean energy technologies are just some of the highlights.Well worth the visit from any place in the country because of its unique attributes -- complimented by a terrific ski complex and gorgeous outdoor lake that makes for four-season venues. All that, it's just breathtaking.


Think of this as a venue for your sustainability conferences!
You won't be disappointed!
www.hopelakelodge.com 

Congressman Maffei announces $200,000 for Clean Tech Center and $500,000 for SyracuseCoE



US Rep. Dan Maffei announced at two separate press events this week that The Clean Tech Center will receive $200,000 through the Tech Tech Garden for a Clean Tech Leadership Institute, and that the SyracuseCoE will receive $500,000 for research and development projects for healthy buildings.

Maffei secured the Syracuse CoE funds from the US Department of Energy and earmarked The Clean Tech Center - Tech Garden funds through the Financial Services Appropriations Act.

The DoE funding will support SyracuseCoE projects that will be conducted in multiple facilities, including the center's new headquarters building and homes and offices in Syracuse's Near Westside neighborhood. The projects will evaluate opportunities to incorporate emerging energy and IEQ technologies, such as power generation from renewable sources, including sun, wind and biomass; systems that combine heating, cooling, and power generation; active building façades; natural ventilation; and under-floor air distribution.

The Clean Tech Center and the SyracuseCoE are partners on a NYSERDA green innovation program to identify, incubate and accelerate the growth of green tech companies in Upstate New York.

Siemens pledges $1.5 million to SyracuseCoE partnership



The Building Technologies Division of Siemens Industry Inc. announced a pledge of $1.55 million to the SyracuseCoE as part of a multi-year strategic and collaborative partnership to support research and other initiatives in support of sustainability and energy efficiency in buildings.  The partnership will allow the SyracuseCoE and its regional stakeholders the opportunity to chart a vision and create a roadmap for sustainable building development, execute specific research projects, fund graduate student research in SU's L.C. Smith College of Engineering and Computer Science, and engage Siemens' global network of innovation through the participation of Siemens Corporate Research, located in Princeton, NJ.

Siemens will directly support the maintenance and efficient operation of the newly built SyracuseCoE HQ facility from its branch office in Syracuse, which employs 75 people and is joined regionally by another 235 employees serving Central Upstate New York and Vermont. Siemens' building automation system ensures that heating, ventilation and air conditioning (HVAC) and other building systems perform in harmony.

Read the full story at:
http://syr.edu/news/articles/siemens-syracuse-coe-12-09.html

US Commerce's Patent and Trademark Office to fast-track green technology patent review


The U.S. Commerce Department’s Patent and Trademark Office has announced plans to accelerate the review of green technology patents to speed deployment of new technologies to the marketplace. For more info on the pilot program, see the news release:  http://www.uspto.gov/news/pr/2009/09_33.jsp

The formal notice, which includes the list of eligible technology classifications, can be found at http://www.uspto.gov/patents/law/notices/74fr64666.pdf 

Pending patent applications in green technologies will be eligible to be accorded special status and given expedited examination, which will have the effect of reducing the time it takes to patent these technologies by an average of one year. Earlier patenting of these technologies enables inventors to secure funding, create businesses, and bring vital green technologies into use much sooner.  Patent applications are normally taken up for examination in the order that they are filed. The average pendency time for applications in green technology areas is approximately 30 months to a first office action and 40 months to a final decision. Under the pilot program, for the first 3,000 applications related to green technologies in which a proper petition is filed, the agency will examine the applications on an accelerated basis.

New York State is second, behind only California, in the number of clean tech patents over a historical period, according to a recent report by the Pew Center. 

A total of 274 new patents were filed during the second quarter of 2009 for green and alternative-energy sources, according to a new report from the Clean Energy Patent Growth Index. This marks the highest quarterly value for the tracking, up from 243 the first quarter of 2009 and 217 in the second quarter of 2008.

Read a good article on this:  
http://www.businessweek.com/technology/content/dec2009/tc2009129_816926.htm

Monday, December 7, 2009

Clean Tech Center announces first crop of new clean energy companies

As leaders gathered from around the globe in Copenhagen for the start of the UN Climate Conference today,  green leaders from across the Creative Core came together to plant a new crop of clean tech companies that will help grow the State’s green innovation economy.  Congressman Dan Maffei helped The Clean Tech Center announce the first nine companies selected for a new NYSERDA-funded clean energy business incubation program.

NYSERDA made a multi-year $1.5 milion award to The Tech Garden to establish The Clean Tech Center.  The program, which formally launched in July 2009, is designed to incubate early stage companies and accelerate the growth of renewable energy companies in New York.  The goal is to create “investment-ready” companies and jump-start their entry into the dynamic clean tech marketplace.

First-round companies admitted to the program include:
  • Antek, Syracuse, NY: Advanced solar cells
  • GoVo Biofuels, The Tech Garden: Scalable liquid biomass project
  • Greenview, Utica, NY: Advanced energy management software technology
  • Impact Technologies, Syracuse, NY: Vertical wind
  • Innovation Fuels, The Tech Garden: Biofuel production from alternative feedstocks
  • IntelliSyn, Syracuse University: Butanol fuel technology
  • microGen, West Henrietta, NY: MEMS based energy harvesting technology
  • Paper Battery, Troy, NY: Advanced battery technology
  • SolarNovar, Plattsburgh, NY; Electro-mechanical tracking system for high performance solar panels
Read more about the press event:
http://www.thecleantechcenter.com/News+About.tab.aspx

Copenhagen climate summit starts today: What's New York State's commitment?


Energy and the economy will be the two defining challenges of the next decade. They will increasingly become so interconnected, given population growth, dwindling resources, and rapid industrialization of developing countries, that as The Brookings Institution noted, this issue may be the most complicated international political endeavor of all time.

Here in NYS, more than $16 billion in federal stimulus money headed to the state has already been committed to energy projects.  NYS has one of the most aggressive renewable portfolio standards in the nation, and the state is one of the top ten states for clean tech, according to industry analysts.

NYS commitments include:
  • A "45 by 15" initiative to reduce electricity use by 15 percent below 2015 forecasts and increase the proportion of renewable generation to 30 percent of electricity demand by 2015.
  • A Climate Action Plan to identify strategies, actions and infrastructure needs to reduce green gas emissions by 80 percent by 2050.
  • Increasing the efficiency of New York's electric system through demand response programs and "smart grid" technologies
  • Sustainably produced biomass as a source for liquid fuels to displace heating oil and gasoline – which are the two largest sources of energy consumption.
NYS projects that $1 billion in economic benefits will result over the next 20 years from the roughly $500 million that New York has so far committed in renewable energy funding through the Renewable Portfolio Standard – a 100 percent return on investment not counting economic spillover, multiplier effect and environmental quality-of-life gains from renewable energy production. 

NYS is making investment and seeing investment in new technologies: 
  • NYPA announced plans for 100 MW solar production 
  • NYPA released an RFP for up to 500 MW for wind … up to 100 offshore turbines, the largest off-shore wind farm project in the US
  • Globe Specialty metals just re-opened a silicon production plant in Upstate and NYS is offering silicon discounts to solar manufacturers locating in the state
  • National Grid and NEPA are working on a $1 billion upgrade of the transmission infrastructure along the Erie Canal corridor, getting it  smart grid ready
  • Last week, Syracuse University, IBM and NYSERDA cut the ribbon on the most energy efficient green data center in the world on the SU campus
  • Cornell was selected as one of just a few National Energy Frontier Research Centers, leading work in advanced battery and fuel cell technologies
  • GE recently announced that it is building a $100 million new advanced battery research center at its global research center in Upstate NY
  • GM is doing its advanced hydrogen fuel cell research for its new alternative fuel vehicles here in Upstate NY
  • Siemens is announcing a strategic announcement with the SyracuseCoE today
New York State is one of the top ten states for clean tech, according to Sustainable World Capital, and is second in the nation in terms of clean tech patents.

Learn more about how New York State is growing clean tech at:  www.thecleantechcenter.com

    Sunday, December 6, 2009

    Just released: Upstate NY Clean Tech Resource Guide


    The Clean Tech Center is releasing the first-ever comprehensive clean tech asset guide to Central Upstate New York.  The document is a one-stop source for connecting to the region's world-class academic and industry resources, as well as funding programs and support organizations for clean tech development. 

    Download it here: 
    http://www.thecleantechcenter.com/ServicesResources+ResourceGuides.tab.aspx

    Saturday, December 5, 2009

    What to do about looming water shortages? 25% of the world's fresh water is accessible in Upstate New York


    Water shortages could be as pressing issue as global warming, according to a recent report by McKinsey.  If the world doesn’t change the way it uses water, humanity will face a major shortfall by 2030, according to the recent report. That’s a deficit of about 40% less water than what would be needed.

    Shortages have already prompted higher prices and rationing in California and the Southwest, and water will be a topic on the minds of policy makers from Capetown to Copenhagen when they meet this week.

    Yet not enough people are addressing the impending water issue, the McKinsey report notes. The first step, the report suggests, is a resource analysis of where water is, how it used, and how much it really costs. And, it suggests economic opportunity looms for a burgeoning water-conservation and water management industry.

    25% of the world's fresh water is accessible from Upstate New York -- in the Great Lakes, Finger Lakes, St. Lawrence Seaway, Adirondack lakes, and an extensive network of other interior lakes, rivers and streams.  Some of the world leaders in filtration technologies, such as Pall Trinity, are located in Upstate New York.  Watch for water technologies to be a hot clean tech topic in the coming decade.

    Friday, December 4, 2009

    Cape Wind project energized by power purchase agreement with National Grid


    The same week that the New York Power Authority announced that it was issuing a RFP for the first fresh water offshore wind farm in North America as part of a Great Lakes wind initiative, National Grid (with NYS headquarters in Syracuse) has entered into negotiations with Cape Wind for an agreement to purchase electricity generated by a large proposed offshore wind project in Nantucket Sound.  It is expected that the power purchase agreement (PPA) will boost Cape Wind’s financing prospects to build the 130-turbine project off the coast of Cape Cod, reports an article in Environmental Leader.  The agreement still has few hurdles to overcome before it’s finalized, including the approval of processes and final agreement by the Department of Utilities, according to the article.  The project also has the support of several key Massachusetts officials, who have been urging President Obama for federal approval of the Cape Wind project before next week’s climate talks Copenhagen.  The PPA is critical for financing the proposed offshore wind farm in order to start construction and operation in time to qualify for federal incentives, which would reduce the cost of the project by 30 percent, reports North American Wind Power

    Read the story at:
    http://www.environmentalleader.com/2009/12/04/cape-wind-project-energized-by-ppa-with-national-grid/

    Thursday, December 3, 2009

    Syracuse Mayor Matthew Driscoll named President and CEO of NYS Environmental Facilities Corporation


    Gov. David Paterson has nominated former Syracuse Mayor Matthew Driscoll to be president and CEO of the state Environmental Facilities Corporation, contingent on his approval by the EFC board of directors.

    "Matthew Driscoll’s leadership over the last eight and a half years in environmental, energy and sustainability initiatives has prepared him well for his new role,” Paterson said in a press release. “With his knowledge of the State’s local municipal regulations, budget constraints and aging infrastructure, and his creative problem-solving, Matthew will provide EFC with results-oriented leadership."

    Wednesday, December 2, 2009

    Syracuse University, IBM, New York State cut the ribbon today for one of the world's greenest data centers



    Announced in late May 2009 and constructed in just over six months, Syracuse University, IBM and New York State today cut the ribbon on a new $12.4 million, 12,000-square-foot Green Data Center (GDC) that uses an innovative on-site power generation system for electricity, heating and cooling, and incorporates IBM's latest energy-efficient servers, computer-cooling technology and system management software.  It is projected to use about 50 percent less energy than a typical data center in operation today, making it one of the world's "greenest" computer centers.  It is also the first to integrate microturbine power generation with central battery UPS functionality.

    SU will utilize the center as its primary computing facility. In addition, as part of the GDC project, IBM and SU intend to establish a GDC Analysis and Design Center in 2010 to offer research and analysis services for clients and others who want to build new energy efficient data centers or optimize the efficiency of current centers.

    IBM provided more than $5 million in equipment, design services and support to the GDC project.  The New York State Energy Research and Development Authority (NYSERDA) contributed $2 million to the project. Sen. David Valesky today announced he had secured $500,000 in additional funding from the New York State Senate.

    The project is an example of IBM's Smarter Planet initiative, focused on helping clients use digital intelligence to improve products or entire systems. IBM intends to showcase the data center and its energy-efficient technologies to help clients design new data centers or improve their current operations. The center will expand SU's leadership in the development and use of "green" innovations in nationally strategic domains.

    Read the rest of the story at the IBM press room:
    http://www-03.ibm.com/press/us/en/pressrelease/28946.wss

    Technology incubation features prominently in the report of the NYS Small Business Task Force


    From the Business Incubator Association of New York State:
    www.bianys.com

    "Development or enhancement of 7-10 technology incubators throughout the State" is one of the recommendations of the Final Report of the state's Small Business Task Force. The report was commissioned by Gov. Paterson and was received by him on Dec. 1st. The report emphasizes our own view that to be fully effective, business incubators must provide connections to sources of seed-stage capital, management coaching and talent development, and technical and marketing assistance. To achieve these goals, the Task Force projects a cost of $500,000 to $1 million per incubator per year, but also potential gains of up to 10,000 jobs over 5 to 7 years. The report recommends no new budgetary appropriations, but rather reallocation of existing resources, including federal funding where feasible.

    "Available for download here, the report was based on the work of more than 60 stakeholders around the state, including three task force members who play important roles in our member incubators:

    • Linda Dickerson Hartsock, who directs the NYSERDA-supported Center for Cleantech Entrepreneurship at our supporting member the Syracuse Technology Garden;
    • James Senall, who directs our member the Lennox Tech Enterprise Center of High Tech Rochester (HTR also manages our member the Rochester BioVenture Center for the University of Rochester)
    • F. Michael Tucker, the president of the Capital Region's Center for Economic Growth, whose Watervliet Innovation Center homeland-security incubator is a member"

    Tuesday, December 1, 2009

    The New York Independent System Operator (NYSIO) awarded $37.4 million in federal smart grid funds


    The New York Independent System Operator (NYISO) has been awarded $37.4 million dollars in federal stimulus funds by the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) to support a $75.7 million Smart Grid project in New York State. The funds will be used for investments in grid technology that will enhance the reliability of the bulk electricity grid and provide the foundation for further development of smart grid infrastructure in New York State.

    The project will involve the creation of a statewide Phasor Measurement Network and the installation of capacitor banks in various locations throughout the state which will enhance the NYISO’s ability to detect system vulnerabilities and avoid potential blackouts. Installation of capacitors will improve the control and coordination of voltage on the New York power grid. The NYISO estimates that the proposed capacitor project could save 48.7 gigawatt-hours of electricity annually, with a yearly savings of $9.7 million.

    The NYISO submitted the application in cooperation with Central Hudson Gas and Electric Corporation, Consolidated Edison of New York, Long Island Power Authority, National Grid, New York State Electric and Gas, Rochester Gas and Electric, and New York Power Authority.

    For more information: wwwnyiso.com

    NYS roadmap for small business innovation released today


    Governor David A. Paterson today accepted the final report of the Small Business Task Force that includes proposals to increase access to capital and accelerate the commercialization of technology.

    One of the recommendations in the report is the creation of a state seed capital fund. Linda Dickerson Hartsock, executive director of The Clean Tech Center was a member of the task force and worked on the access to capital team, particularly focused on addressing the early stage funding gap that exists for technology entrepreneurs and early stage companies.

    In addition to accepting the final report, Governor Paterson today announced the launch of the New York State Small Business Lending Guide, a free online manual aimed at connecting small business owners and entrepreneurs with alternative banks and credit unions who are lending right now. This is the second guide New York State has launched this year.  In September, New York State released a Directory of Small Business Programs – an interactive online directory of State business resources.

    Following the Governor’s response, accepted recommendations will be developed into actionable initiatives aimed at spurring economic growth and making doing business easier.  Key proposals from the Small Business Task Force include:

    Create a New Small Business Revolving Loan Fund. Small businesses comprise 98 percent of all businesses in New York and employ 52 percent of the State’s private sector workforce. A new revolving loan fund dedicated to supporting small business owners who cannot access capital from traditional sources; data suggests that a $50 million State fund allocation would generate approximately a 10:1 leverage from the private sector, or close to $500 million, and would generate more than 14,000 jobs in New York State.
      Create a State-Supported Seed Capital Fund. A seed capital fund would leverage private venture capital (VC) and support the development of seed-stage and start-up companies. Matching funds could come from New York’s approximately 64 VC firms, the several Angel Networks located in New York State, or other outside sources.  

      Supprt the Commercialization of Technology. The Task Force recommends the development or enhancement of seven to 10 technology incubators throughout the State around a model that includes connections to capital, management coaching and recruitment of talent and connections to technology and market planning assistance. Working in tandem with the additional seed capital resources, this effort would assist 250-300 entrepreneurs to develop viable technology companies and secure $200-$300 million in investment over the next three years.

        New York Power Authority seeking proposals from wind developers to build 100 or more offshore wind turbines -- North America's first offshore wind farm


        The American Wind Energy Association has started following this blog on twitter ... welcome!

        The New York Power Authority is seeking proposals from wind developers to build as many as 100 or more offshore wind turbines in Lake Ontario or Lake Erie, a project that could create North America’s first offshore wind farm. Among the prime areas targeted for development is the eastern shore of Lake Ontario, roughly from Oswego to Cape Vincent, where the power authority’s research found excellent winds, according to a report today in the Syracuse Post Standard.  Parts of eastern Lake Erie and southern Lake Ontario also are potential sites.

        Not only will this represent the first initiative in the Great Lakes, it will be the first wind power development of any kind in a fresh water body in the nation.

        NYPA’s request for proposals for the development of a utility scale, offshore wind power project in the range of 120 megawatts (MW) to 500 MW will also offer the winning bidder or bidders a long-term contract to sell up to 500 megawatts of electricity to the power authority.  A contract with NYPA would enable developers to finance the project, which could cost $1 billion or more.

        The project would interconnect with new or existing transmission facilities of the appropriate regional electric utilities, which are all controlled by the New York Independent System Operator (NYISO).  The NYISO operates New York's bulk electricity grid and administers the state's wholesale electricity markets.  The Power Authority would purchase the full output of the project under a long-term Power Purchase Agreement (PPA).

        NYPA anticipates the following deadlines for the RFP process.  The date for submitting an optional Notice of Intent to submit a proposal is March 20, 2010.  Questions about the RFP will be accepted until April 9, 2010.  The due date for proposals is June 1, 2010.  Any winning project(s) would be expected to be awarded by December 2010.  The target date for completion of the PPA negotiations is May 31, 2011.

        Prospective developers are requested to periodically check the NYPA Web site (www.nypa.gov) to see if there are any modifications to the dates.

        Do you know the top Top states for wind capacity (in megawatts - MW)?

        Source:  US Department of Energy, 2009


        Texas             8203 MW
        Iowa               2862 MW
        California        2668 MW
        Washington     1504 MW
        Oregon           1435 MW
        New York       1274 MW

        MEMS breakthroughs in energy markets: Upstate NY company, microGen, leads the way


        Robert G. Andosca, co-founder and CEO of MicroGen Systems, LLC, is advancing work in MicroElectroMechanical Systems (MEMS) technology related to one of the hottest new sectors of the clean tech marketplace -- energy harvesting.

        Rob recently discussed energy related topics such as the Smart Grid at the MEMS Industry Groups's MEMS Executive Congress, the premier MEMS business conference in the world.  He discussed MicroGen's MEMS-based piezoelectric vibrational power source products as part of an Energy Panel along with Canaan Partners, a venture capital firm, IMEC, a world renown research institute in Belgium and The Netherlands, and Perpetuum, a non-MEMS-based electro-magnetic vibrational energy harvester developer.

        MicroGen's energy scavenging products will enable low power non-wireless electronics and wireless sensor networks (WSN). WSNs are a distribution of 10's to 1000's of wireless sensors in a mesh-network for smart asset tracking (e.g. chemical and biological weapon detection), smart infrastructure (e.g. monitoring bridges, dams and water systems), smart energy (e.g. monitoring lighting levels in commercial buildings), smart industry (e.g. monitoring electrical equipment) and smart transportation (e.g. monitoring tire-pressure and vibration). 

        MicroGen's work was well received and is now making its way through the electronics industry. The company was recently mentioned in a report by the Darnell Group which predicted the “crossover” from the “Introduction” phase to the “Growth” phase for energy harvesting and related micro battery products will take place in the 2009/10 timeframe. According to the report, as that happens, the market share of energy-harvesting-powered devices will grow rapidly compared with traditional wired or battery-powered wireless alternatives. Profitability of energy harvesting and microbattery companies are also expected to increase, according to the report.

        "Darnell Group has been following the energy harvesting market for more years than other analyst firms. In 2005, we recognized the potential of this technology to both capitalize on, and transform, the small but growing wireless sensor market," said Linnea Brush, Senior Analyst with Darnell Group, who also noted that the growth phase will provide companies with significant sales and ‘branding’ opportunities. http://www.darnell.com/News/2009-11-20_EnergyHarvestingMarketInflection.pdf

        Energy harvesting also made the the Top 10 technologies to watch in 2010 in the EE Times, a prestigious trade press for the electronics industry: http://www.eetimes.com/221900117

        Keep microGen, based in the Rochester area, on your radar screen as a rising star in the MEMS energy havesting space ... and learn more about the company at:  www.microgensystems.com

        Monday, November 30, 2009

        Countdown to Copenhagen: Climate change, policy and innovation in New York State


        Countdown to Copenhagen ... 75 world leaders will participate, along with a stop by President Obama on Dec. 9th

        The US is committing to a provisional target of 17% below 2005 levels by 2020 and 83% reduction by 2050.  The Brookings Institution noted, this may be the most complicated international political endeavor of all time.  A set of domestic policy themes emerged from the ACORE renewable energy event in DC. 1) Need for a national plan that puts price on carbon. 2) Federal government needs transmission & distribution siting and cost allocation authority if states cannot act. 3) Support for the Clean Energy Development Authority (to aid both innovative and proven technologies). 4) Importance of a national renewable energy standard and ability of feed-in-tariffs to drive market development.

        Here in New York, the State Energy Planning Board has prepared a comprehensive draft State Energy Plan that identifies goals to make energy more reliable, secure and affordable for New Yorkers, while addressing climate change. 

        Read the draft New York State Energy Plan:  http://www.nysenergyplan.com/stateenergyplan.html

        Syracuse University, IBM and NYSERDA cut the ribbon this week on one of the most energy-efficient computer operations in the world


        Syracuse University, IBM and NYSERDA will cut the ribbon this week on the new $12.4 million Syracuse University Green Data Center -- one of the most energy efficient computer operations in the world.  Vijay Lund and Nick Donofrio (retired) from IBM will join SU Chancellor Nancy Cantor and NYSERDA President Frank Murray for the event. 

        Artist's rendering.  See original story below by Tim Knauss, Syracuse Post Standard, April 2009 on the announcement.  Watch this news blog or check www.syracuse.com/green for follow-up story later this week. 

        Syracuse University has teamed up with IBM Corp. to design a showpiece $12.4 million data center that aims to be one of the most energy-efficient computer operations in the world. The "green" data center under construction on SU's South Campus will replace an aging computer bank on the main campus, processing all of SU's administrative data, from student records to professors' paychecks.  Thanks to a design worked out by the university and IBM, the 6,000-square-foot facility is expected to use half as much energy as a typical data center.


        "We think it's going to be one of the most energy-efficient data centers around," said Mark Weldon, executive director of corporate relations at SU.  That's a big deal, because experts have grown increasingly worried about how much energy the nation's data centers use.  In 2006, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency estimated that data centers consumed 1.5 percent of the nation's electricity -- more than all the color TVs in the country. And without significant changes, energy use at data centers was expected to double by 2011, according to EPA's report.

        Energy often is the largest single cost for U.S. data centers, and improving efficiency could save them at least $2 billion a year, said Vijay Lund, vice president for development and manufacturing operations in IBM's systems and technology group.  Lund, who holds a 1981 master's degree in computer engineering from SU, said his company and the university will work together for several years after the data center is built to study its performance and to refine their models of efficient design.  IBM, which plans to use the SU facility as a showpiece for its other clients, is contributing $5 million worth of equipment and services to the project.  "I think customers will like this," he said.

        The New York State Energy Research and Development Authority has awarded the project a $2 million grant to promote energy efficiency.

        Here's how the facility will save energy:
        • It will make its own power. The data center will house 12 microturbines, 8-foot-tall power generators that run on natural gas and make 65 kilowatts each. Since most computer servers use direct current, the data center will avoid power losses that occur when alternating current from a power company is converted to direct current. 
        The data center will be able to draw power from the utility grid as a backup, but can mostly operate without it, said Christopher Sedore, vice president for information technology and chief information officer.
        • The center will make its own heat and air conditioning. Waste heat from the microturbines will be sent to two absorption chillers, which will use the heat energy to make cold water to cool the computers. During winter, waste heat from the microturbines can be used to make hot water for an adjacent building, while the data center will pull in cold outdoor air for cooling.
        By obtaining electricity, heat and cooling from the microturbines, the data center is expected to demonstrate high levels of efficiency, which is why NYSERDA funded the project, said Ray Hull, speaking for the state authority.
        • Computers will be cooled with water rather than air. Most data centers condition the room air to keep computers cool, but the SU center will use IBM equipment that circulates cold water through pipes near each unit. That will allow them to provide cooling tailored to how hard each server is working, and will cut down on the noise and wasted energy of air-circulating fans, Weldon said.
        Computers will be used more efficiently. Through a technique known as "virtualization," sophisticated software will aggregate computer applications onto fewer servers so others can be shut off while not in use, Weldon said.

          Sunday, November 29, 2009

          green@rensselaer: Why not change the world?


          green@rensselaer is a new series of articles, blog entries, podcasts, and videos highlighting issues and topics related to sustainability, energy, and the environment at Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute (RPI).  As we begin the countdown to Copenhagen, read about how Upstate universities are striving in different ways toward the shared goal of reducing society’s impact on the environment.

          Visit the site at:  http://green.rpi.edu/archives.html

          Nancy Sutley, Chair of White House Council on Environmental Quality, visits Cornell Fuel Cell Institute and Energy Materials Center



          Nancy Sutley, Chair of the White House Council on Environmental Quality, recently visited Cornell and had this to say on the White House blog:  http://www.whitehouse.gov/blog/2009/11/19/chair-sutley-visits-cornell-fuel-cell-institute-and-energy-materials-center
          "Last weekend I had the opportunity to visit my alma mater, Cornell University, to speak at the annual Net Impact Conference.  The conference brought together students and professionals from around the U.S. interested in sustainable enterprise and environmental stewardship, and allowed participants to share best practices and discuss new initiatives to advance global sustainability through entrepreneurship and innovation.

          While at Cornell, I had the opportunity to check out the Cornell Fuel Cell Institute and the Energy Materials Center, a U.S. Department of Energy designated Energy Frontier Research Center. Héctor Abruña, the director of the Center presented some of their fascinating advances in fuel cell technology and told me about Cornell’s partnerships with major companies to develop efficient, high-performance batteries and fuel cells for industry and consumer products.  These technologies have an amazing potential to revolutionize our transportation and energy sectors.

          Needless to say, I really appreciated the opportunity to get a back-stage tour of the University’s fuel cell labs and enjoyed being back on campus.  Research universities all over the U.S. are doing groundbreaking work in developing clean energy technology and training the next generation of scientists, engineers, and entrepreneurs."

          Innovating climate change


          With the UN's climate conference ahead next week in Copenhagen, here is a good reading recommendation:  A well written, thoughtful report just out by the Clean Energy Group and Meridan Institute that looks at how new collaborative models are driving innovation in the Clean Energy economy.  Funded by the National Commission on Energy Policy, it outlines a roadmap for a fundamental transformation of the world's energy technology base.  According to the report, the challenge is to create a carbon free infrastructure in 50 years that is twice as large as our current energy infrastructure.  Daunting, but not impossible, if policy, funding, regulatory efforts and investment flow through a new collaborative model suggested by the report.

          The report is the result of extensive consultations with companies, governments, NGOs, academics and other individuals in Berlin, London, Paris and Washington, DC, and with experts in clean energy technologies and climate change.  It is a well conceived prescription for change.

          ON DECEMBER 7, THE OPENING DAY OF COPENHAGEN 2009, THE CLEAN TECH CENTER WILL RELEASE A REPORT ON CLEAN ENERGY - INNOVATION RESOURCES AT A PRESS CONFERENCE WITH CONGRESSMAN DAN MAFFEI.  BE FIRST TO GET THE REPORT AT:  WWW.THECLEANTECHCENTER.COM

          Binghamton University makes Princeton Review 2010 honor roll of top green colleges. Cornell and Clarkson earn high scores.


          Who made the Princeton Review's 2010 list of top green colleges?

          Hint:  Three of them are in Upstate New York.

          Binghamton University (SUNY) was named one of the top 15 in the country, earning a place on the prestigious "2010 Green Rating Honor Roll" with the highest possible score of 99, on a ranking of 60 to 99.  The Princeton Review's second annual Green Ratings of colleges assessed 697 institutions based on data concerning environmentally related policies, practices, and academic offerings. Only 15 colleges were selected for the “2010 Green Rating Honor Roll” – a list that salutes the institutions that received the highest possible score – 99 – in this year’s rating tallies.  

          The criteria for the green rating covered three broad areas:
          1. Whether the school’s students have a campus quality of life that is healthy and sustainable;
          2.  How well the school is preparing its students for employment and citizenship in a world defined by environmental challenges, and;
          3. The school’s overall commitment to environmental issues.  The institutional survey for the rating included ten questions on everything from energy use, recycling, food, buildings, and transportation to academic offerings (availability of environmental studies degrees and courses) and action plans and goals concerning greenhouse gas emission reductions.  

          Binghamton University made the list of the top 15 colleges in the country -- the "Green Honor Roll" -- for recycling or composting more than 90 percent of its current service ware. Approximately 2,500 pounds of compostable waste is collected around campus every year. The State University of New York at Binghamton campus encompasses almost 900 acres of land, of which a large proportion is undeveloped and in its natural state. The core of this undeveloped land is officially designated the Nature Preserve, and includes hiking trails and a 20 acre wetland.

          Cornell University and Clarkson University in Upstate NY also both received a very high green ratings in the Princeton Review green ratings, with Cornell earning 96 points and Clarkson earning 95 points out of 99.

          Find info on how colleges nationally scored on the green ratings reviews:
          http://www.princetonreview.com/green.aspx

          Grants for environmental education projects and programs


          The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency is accepting grant applications for a total of $3.4 million in funding for environmental education projects and programs.  EPA expects to award approximately 100 grants ranging from $5,000 to $200,000.  The purpose of the Environmental Education Grant Program is to promote environmental stewardship through financial support for innovative projects that design, demonstrate, or disseminate environmental education practices, methods, or techniques.  

          Deadline: December 15, 2009.
          For more detailed information: http://www.epa.gov/enviroed/grants_apply.html

          Wednesday, November 25, 2009

          DoE invests $18 million in small business clean energy innovation projects. Two Upstate New York companies selected in highly competitive process.


          U.S. Energy Secretary Steven Chu has just announced more than $18 million in funding from the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act to support small business innovation research, development, and deployment of clean energy technologies. In this first phase of funding, 125 grants were awarded to 107 small advanced technology firms across the United States. The companies were competitively selected from a pool of 950 applicants through a special fast-track process with an emphasis on near-term commercialization and job creation. Companies that demonstrate successful results with their new technologies and show potential to meet market needs will be eligible for $60 million in a second round of grants in the summer of 2010.

          Two Upstate NY winners were selected as among the best of the best --a Horseheads, NY technologist developing high flux, ultra low pressure nanocomposite membranes, and a Troy, NY technologist developing nanocrystalline aluminum composites for ground vehicles. 

          Nationally, grants were awarded in each of the following ten topic areas:
          • Advanced Building Air Conditioning and Refrigeration, Thermal Load Shifting, and Cool Roofs
          • Water Usage in Electric Power Production
          • Power Plant Cooling
          • Advanced Gas Turbines and Materials
          • Sensors, Controls, and Wireless Networks
          • Advanced Water Power Technology Development
          • Smart Controllers for Smart Grid Applications
          • Advanced Solar Technologies
          • Advanced Industrial Technologies Development
          • Advanced Manufacturing Processes

          Counting down to climate talks


          A sobering story this week from the Associated Press indicates that readings at the 2-mile-high Mauna Loa Observatory show an upward curve as the world counts down to climate talks.  According to the story, global warming gases have built up to record levels in the atmosphere, from emissions that match scientists' worst-case scenarios. Carbon dioxide concentrations this fall are hovering at around 385 parts per million, on their way to a near-certain record high above 390 in the first half of next year, at the annual peak, according to the story. "For the past million years we've never seen 390. You have to wonder what that's going to do," said physicist John Barnes, the observatory director.  Something to think about as negotiators from 192 nations gather in Copenhagen, Denmark, next month to try to agree on steps to head off climate disruption.

          Read the full story at:
          http://www.google.com/hostednews/ap/article/ALeqM5hplptq9wxlp5eCDFL2Mv5A_H6bcwD9C5EC7O1


          New York has its own climate change expert who has been tracking the impact of global warming in Upstate New York.  Dave Eichorn is a meteorologist of 30 years experience. He was formerly with WSYR TV Syracuse for 20 years, specializing in lake effect snowstorms and atmospheric patterns which produce them. Dave now holds adjunct positions at SUNY Oswego and Onondaga Community College where he teaches Introductory Meteorology, Advanced Forecasting, Broadcast Meteorology. He is an award-winning member of the American Meteorological Society, has a specialized background in mesoscale atmospheric modeling and lake effect snow forecasting. Since January 2006, he has given presentations on climate change with a meteorological perspective to thousands of New Yorkers. Dave has moderated SUNY-ESF’s seminar series “CNY's Response to Global Energy and Climate Change Challenges” working with community leaders on efforts toward the mitigation of our carbon footprint, and he is working on climate change course development at ESF.

          Read more about Dave's work at:  
          http://www.linkedin.com/in/davideichorn

          Tuesday, November 24, 2009

          Turkey talk

          It's Thanksgiving.  A day for thoughtful, animated family conversation.  How about some good conversation starters?  Check out The National Academies website:  "What You Need to Know about Energy."  It's a great site that will help bridge the generations around the table.  Trust us.  Check it out.  Get the kids and grand-kids thinking.  Learn stuff you didn't know.  Engage in solving the challenge together.

          http://needtoknow.nas.edu/?gclid=COrW3vv9op4CFY915QodbDWbpA

          This Thanksgiving ... pass the gravy and cut the carbon

          This week is Thanksgiving -- one of the busiest of all travel holidays.  A good time to think about offsetting your carbon footprint if you are planning a long trip home -- especially if you care about creating a more carbon-neutral lifestyle.

          TreeHugger recently commissioned Ecobusinesslinks.com to complete a comprehensive comparison of nonprofit and for profit organizations providing carbon offsets. The survey found that most companies provide nearly identical service (offsetting carbon emissions) using a couple different means (tree-planting or investment in renewable energy, or both) but varying wildly in price. Carbonfund.org checked in with the lowest price, at $5.50 US per metric ton of carbon dioxide, while other companies like TerraPass (about $10/ton) and NativeEnergy (about $13/ton) charge more for their offsets that can be calculated for more specific activities, like traveling by car or airplane.

          What's your carbon impact?  According to Carbonfund.org, a non-profit organization, each person in the US produces 23 tons of CO2 emissions per year, based on a composite of typical activities. That's before you cook and eat the turkey ... something to think about while you're waiting in the airport between flights.