Energy Advisory Council Charter
Apr 19, 2011 -
Framing an Energy Policy for the 20th Congressional District & Beyond
Problem Statement: What Energy Policy actions can we take to improve the lives of the people in the 20th Congressional District? Because the world economies are so closely linked, this success will be tightly coupled with the government actions and market conditions of New York State, The United States, and the World.
Premise: The economic prosperity of our country and district is strongly dependent on the availability of a safe, reliable, abundant, affordable, environmentally sustainable energy supply. High Energy costs adversely affect business, agriculture, household purchasing power, transport of goods and services, and thus jobs and disposable income. Moreover, if a significant portion of these energy costs (dollars) go out of our economy it has a double effect of acting like a tax on our economic engine.
- New York and the 20th Congressional District have some of the highest energy costs in the country.
- Our biggest current sources of energy: oil, natural gas, coal, and nuclear, each have supply, environmental, and cost challenges.
- While we have some sources of relatively inexpensive energy on the Niagara frontier (hydro), transmission limitations prevent full utilization.
- The US, New York, and the 20th Congressional District are heavily dependent on foreign oil. Too much supply comes from unstable regions, is costly, and must be shipped long distances. Some foreign nations use it to achieve political goals that are contrary to our interests. We need to explore how we can close the gap to achieve energy independence.
- Renewables (wind, solar, geothermal, biomass, fuel cells), conservation & efficiency methods will play a positive role and present challenges; they are intermittent, require storage, are located away from load centers, tend to be more costly and currently rely on scarce tax dollars for subsidy.
- The energy infrastructures date back to Thomas Edison and the initial electrification efforts. Design decisions and immense investments over 100 years have gone into fuel distribution systems, home appliance designs, transportation models, and more. Alternative technology challenges include reliability, integration with established infrastructure and accessibility to consumers.
- All energy options encompass production, delivery and tax costs. Consumer cost must be considered.
Call to Action:
- The problem affords no easy answer. All solutions have rewards and risks (economic, environmental, and political).
- We need to assess the intended and unintended consequences of market interventions from the federal government and understand the inter-relationship at the state and local levels.
- We will need an “integrated energy strategy”, which optimizes generation, transmission and efficiency/conservation resources based on cost and other qualitative factors.
Congressman Gibson has shown a willingness to take on tough issues and to work across partisan lines. We need to assess the options for a path forward. These actions must include communication, education, outreach, legislative actions, partnering with business and labor, and involving community groups to help people know of near-term and long-term options.