Weekly Feature

2018-02-14 / Editorial

State leaders to present at energy workshop

People are re-imagining how energy might be produced, distributed and used. This is an important topic in the wake of the Huntley Power Plant closure due to its impact on the Town of Tonawanda and its residents.

The site is continually being discussed and was most recently highlighted at the State of the Town address last week. During his speech, Supervisor Joseph Emminger spoke about a broad coalition that came together after the plant closed to create a plan called Tonawanda Tomorrow.

The plan, which focuses on the town’s economic future, was shaped by the voices of nearly 1,000 Tonawanda residents, business owners and community stakeholders. One of the action steps in the plan included exploring shared community solar as a strategy to reduce energy costs and pollution as well as increase access to the waterfront. This month, residents will have an opportunity to learn from state leaders and explore renewable-energy system models. Clean Air is sponsoring a two-hour interactive workshop titled “Toward Energy Democracy!” from 6 to 8 p.m. Thursday, Feb. 22, at the American Legion Brounshidle Post, 3354 Delaware Ave. in Kenmore.

According to Clean Air, the workshop will cover the basics of the traditional energy system; who has benefited from our system and who has been harmed; an introduction to community solar and an overview of on the ground; and real-world examples of how communities have shifted renewable projects to be more equitable and democratic.

Clean Air and its partners are partnering with members of the Energy Democracy Alliance to explore local renewable-energy ownership approaches. The trainers for the workshop include:

Adam Flint, who currently serves as Southern Tier Solar Works program manager for the Binghamton Regional Sustainability Coalition, which he co-founded in 2008.

Shiva Prakash, who is an Equal Justice Works fellow, sponsored by Akin Gump Strauss Hauer & Feld at the New York Lawyers for the Public Interest.

Kelly Roache, who currently works as senior program manager for Solstice.

For community members who have been involved with Tonawanda Tomorrow or others who are interested, this is a great way to show your concern for the future state of the town and gather more information. To learn more about the workshop, visit www.cacwny.org.

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