Tompkins Renewable Energy Education Alliance (TREEA)
th9 Meeting Minutes: Friday March 24, 2006
4:00 – 6:00pm Windy Miles 326 Aiken Road, Trumansburg
Michael Miles: email your WindyMiles handouts to Beth for posting on the
S. Castillo-Davis: Get info on microwind idea and report back at next TREEA
Emily Rochon: Tell us more about the community wind success story from
Massachusetts at next meeting.
Mary Graham: Contact Sierra Club lobbyist in Albany for advice.
Peter Penniman: Email anything you have written about your political
strategy with the Solar Energy Industry Association for
expanding solar power net metering and incentives. This will
be very helpful to us in designing a strategy for wind
advocacy. Your info will not be posted on the website unless
you want it there.
Rob Garrity: Report on medium wind project in the Catskills.
Gay Nicholson: Look into the non-profit organization that deals with the PSC
that you mentioned in the discussion (below).
Steve Nicholson: Continue trying to attract Barbara Lifton to a TREEA
Beth Clark: Contact the grid-stability versus utility distributed
generation control expert mentioned by Loren Pruskowski at
the last meeting. Invite to come and give a talk for TREEA.
Also, contact Francis Vanek to get a presentation on the
class project vertical axis turbine study.
All: Think about answering Annie’s question: do we want to
spend our time educating the public about the issues, or
lobbying state government?
Meeting Minutes (recorded by Beth Clark)
Attended: Lanny Joyce, Peter Penniman, Kenny Christiansen, Rob Garrity, Annie Koreman,
Emily Rochon, Gay Nicholson, Mary Graham, Marian Brown, Samantha-Castillo-Davis, John
Melvin, Katy Nicholson, Steve Nicholson, Peter Arena, Michael Miles, Dean Koyanagi, Beth Clark
1. Michael Miles – Presentation on WindyMiles performance statistics.
Michael gave us an excellent guided tour of the turbine and geothermal loop
systems of his home. Michael is finding that the turbine has produced
approximately 5000 kWh in the first year. AWS Truewind worksheet estimated
10,000-12,000 kWh per year (assuming 5-6 mps wind speeds average). The
system is 80 feet high, and rated at 10 KW. Installed cost was ~$45K, and
after incentives, the investment was ~$22K. Current payback time is estimated
to be 20 years. Michael’s handouts will be posted online.
Focus of meeting: Medium Wind Advocacy – How can we most effectively advocate for Tompkins Renewable Energy Education Alliance (TREEA) community-scale (100-1000 KW) wind interconnect regulations and state incentives?
2. Samantha Castillo-Davis, Marian Brown (Sustainable Tompkins) - survey of
other wind advocacy groups in NY state to see what they may already be doing to
advocate for medium wind.
Surveyed, and found that nobody is doing anything! Samantha mentioned the micro-
wind idea – little turbines arrayed like fans on a house to provide energy room-by-
room. She will look into this and talk more about it at the next meeting. Lanny
mentioned that medium wind is probably not economically interesting to most groups
– economy of scale is driving the utility-scale, and residential-scale will always be
individual. Also mentioned a Vanek class project to simulate a vertical axis turbine on
Clark Hall at Cornell.
3. Emily Rochon (President, Kyoto Now!) – Look into Wind Power NY (WPNY), the
Alliance for Clean Energy New York (ACENY), and AWEA Wind Energy Works!
Report on what they may already be doing to advocate for medium wind.
Most agencies contacted have not responded (yet). The indication is that not much is
happening with medium wind. According to websites, most groups are working with
state agencies to level the playing field with regard to net metering (for large-scale?).
In Rhode Island, Emily is working on getting “back-up rates” and/or “stand-by rates”
eliminated. Some good models we might want to look into are projects by
“Windustry.org” (from Minnesota), and a successful community wind project in Hall,
Massachusetts. This is owned by a municipality (1.5 MW), and has been very popular.
Gay Nicholson mentioned that the “League of Conservation Voters” and/or
“Environmental Advocates” of NY might be organizations that would join us in our
efforts on medium wind. Also, there is a non-profit organization that deals with the
PSC (look into this), and there are new Energy $mart citizen advocacy groups forming
who have interests in renewable energy.
4. Annie Koreman & Mary Graham (Sierra Club) - What precedents exist for Sierra
Club lobbying on renewable energy issues. What is most effective? What are the
channels of action?
Mary emailed the Sierra Club lobbyist in Albany and will let us know when she hears
a reply. Annie reminds us that not everyone at Sierra Club is convinced that wind is a
good thing. However, locally there is a lot of support for TREEA goals. Some
discussion – depending on what we decide to do (in terms of a strategy for advocating
for medium wind), we could address agencies such as the PSC, or go straight for the
Governor’s office and request state level action. (Do we want to spend our energy doing public education, or lobbying the state government?) Annie mentioned seeing a recent
“60 Minutes” (mainstream TV] program on global warming and Bush administration
“editing” of scientific reports. James Hanson, NASA, was interviewed and showed the
evidence of “editing” – 60 Minutes showed glaciers retreating etc… The conclusion of Hanson was that we have 10 years to get CO2 emissions under control. Such
powerful media coverage may be just beginning and perhaps now is the time to lobby
the state government.
Tompkins Renewable Energy Education Alliance (TREEA)
Barriers to Medium Wind:
1) Nothing net metered above 10 KW (125 KW for farms)
2) No NYSERDA incentives above 10 KW
3) Communities (groups of private citizens) can’t own generation or
string cables across their lands.
4) No manufacturers in US (no operations or maintenance).
Peter Penniman asked what is our strategy? (we don’t have one yet – still gathering
facts). Peter mentioned finding very similar barriers in his work on getting solar power
net metering and incentives expanded. (Numbers are up to 10 KW net metered, and
up to 50 KW for NYSERDA incentives – this will make solar attractive to apartment
buildings (landlords)). He is working with the NY Solar Energy Industry Association,
and is having some success. Apparently NJ has very liberal laws, and they are using
them as a model. They came close to getting the chamber of commerce to endorse
their recommendations. Part of their political strategy is to ask for expansion to
schools etc… They have put together a position paper with input from 150 groups. 50 of those groups are consumers or environmental organizations. Mentions feeling the
need for more technical expertise when things get detailed. He will share his political
strategy with us in writing.
Emily recommends finding a model of success from another state(s) and using that to
design our strategy. Also suggests monitoring media reports and sending them, along
with letters, to state representatives. (ACENY may actually be following this model of
Annie suggested that we design a “pilot project”, perhaps just for Tompkins County –
to set an example for how things can work. Others will see it and ask for similar
Steve Nicholson understood that the grid could physically handle 40% wind power
distributed generation. Lanny Joyce quoted a NYSERDA-commissioned GE report
that found that number to be 10-20%. (Beth will get someone to come and speak to
us about this issue – an expert from somewhere.)
Rob Garrity is currently designing a medium-wind system for a farmer in the Catskiills.
The farmer owns 100 acres of hilltop and wants to sell the power he generates. Rob
has been working hard on finance models and so far has not found any barriers from
NYSEG (actually spoke to the person who sets the market pricing for NYSEG!).
Apparently, wholesale market rates are possible for independent power producers, up
to 2 MW. Rob’s charts show those rates climbing significantly in 2005 (over the
previous 3 years), up to about 8 cents/kWh. Also, there is a renewable energy
production tax credit when the power is sold at market rate. (retail rate?) Rob will
report on this project again at the next meeting as things evolve.
5. Gay Nicholson - contacted Bob Bechtold and invited him to our meeting.
Bob could not come, but sent a nice email reply and wants to come to the next meeting.
6. Steve Nicholson - contacted Barbara Lifton and invited her to our meeting.
No reply yet.
Next meeting: Mid-April was agreed upon. How about Thursday, April 13?