Top Ten Cleantech Initiatives of NYSERDA

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The New York State Energy Research and Development Authority, commonly referred to as NYSERDA was established in 1975 and is known as a public benefit corporation offering information and analysis, technical expertise, programs, and funding to assist New York in increasing the use of renewable energy and energy efficiency in an effort to reduce the need for fossil fuels. NYSERDA is often tasked with environmental protection and creation of clean-energy industry jobs. Because of NYSERDA’s hard work, they won the 2011 ENERGY STAR Sustained Excellence Award for “continued leadership in protecting the environment through energy efficiency.”

1) NYSERDA Program to Increase use of Fuel Cells. In March of 2011, NYSERDA offered $21.6 million for fuel cell technology installation for businesses, hospitals and a number of other large power consumers interested in the installation. The technology will allow the users to generate their own power via clean energy technology and consume less energy from the electric grid. Not only does the program offer incentives toward the installation cost, but also payments over the first three operation years based on the quantity of power produced. “Fuel cells present a promising technology that NYSERDA strongly supports,” said Francis J. Murray Jr., President and CEO of NYSERDA. “If more large power consumers install fuel cells to offset some of their power needs, this will further our progress toward growing clean energy in New York State while taking some of the strain off the electric grid.”

2) NYSERDA Starts $26 Million Solar Thermal Incentive Program. In 2011, NYSERDA launched a new incentive program of thermal solar systems as a way to further encourage New Yorkers to switch to solar powered systems from electric hot water systems. The incentives are for businesses and homeowners who are looking to become more energy efficient and also reduce monthly electric bills. The program is to last for five years and help fuel New York’s clean energy economy, increase overall energy security, and reduce carbon dioxide emissions.

3) $4.6 Million Awarded by NYSERDA to 17 Transportation Related Projects. In an effort to assist New York State companies and universities in developing new, innovative transportation technologies that will reduce fossil fuel reliance, carbon dioxide emissions, and create new jobs, NYSERDA awarded $4.6 million to 17 New York based companies that are looking to develop and commercialize just that. For example, Folsom Technologies International was awarded $500,000 in funding for the development of a continuously-variable transmission enabling an engine to operate at efficient speed-torque combinations, and will also offer regenerative breaking feature to capture and reuse energy lost when braking. Another example is Lawbuilder Consulting that was provided $150,000 in funding to analyze the potential use of the mass transit infrastructure in New York to deliver retail goods to Manhattan’s downtown area, thereby reducing traffic and pollution.

4) NYSERDA Awards $6.5 Million in Incentives to Decrease Carbon Dioxide Emissions in Housing Complexes. To assist in encouraging the adoption of the plan to phase out #6 fuel oil, NYSERDA announced in 2011 $6.5 million in various incentives to assist multifamily buildings with five-plus units use cleaner fuels in running the building. #6 fuel oil produces more carbon dioxide emissions than #2 fuel oil and natural gas and the switch will make heating and hot water systems more affordable, and the incentives will also increase job growth. Overall, the program will eliminate 200,000 tons of carbon dioxide emissions in 150-200 multifamily buildings within a ten year period.

5) In 2010, NYSERDA Awarded $11.3 Million to 25 Renewable Energy Projects. In 2010, NYSERDA provided $11.3 million in funding to assist in the development and commercialization of 25 renewable energy and energy storage projects. The funds are going to support demonstration projects, feasibility studies, and new product development. A number of projects include solar and photovoltaic projects, electric storage projects, wind power projects, waste-heat reuse projects, and projects involving fuel cell studies and kinetic hydropower studies. The 25 were selected from a total of 71 projects.

6) NYSERDA Receives $10 Million from Stimulus Funds toward Solar Photovoltaic. In 2010, NYSERDA made the announcement that $10 million from the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act was being awarded to seven solar energy companies that will install various solar photovoltaic systems on businesses and homes throughout the state. These residential and non-residential projects will increase clean renewable energy capacity by six megawatts and provide 600 businesses and homes with electricity.

7) Saratoga Technology + Energy Park. The Saratoga Technology + Energy Park, also known as STEP is located in Malta, New York and covers 280 acres and contains offices labs, and a light manufacturing facility. It is the home of Hudson Valley Community College’s TEC-SMART facility and the administrative offices of GLOBALFOUNDRIES, a semiconductor manufacturing facility. STEP is considered a knowledge-based community that offers significant resources for environmental and clean energy companies seeking strategic locations to build and grow in New York’s Tech Valley. It is owned and sponsored by NYSERDA.

8 ) NYSERDA Gives $1.5 Million to Syracuse Cleantech Center for the Establishment of a Clean Energy Business Incubator Program. In 2009, NYSERDA awarded $1.5 million to the Center for Cleantech Entrepreneurship at the Tech Garden in Syracuse, New York for the establishment of a clean energy business incubator program that will offer business support in an effort to accelerate the development of clean energy technology startup companies throughout central upstate New York. The program will provide the ability for clean technology companies to grow and increase the “green workforce” in the state. The goal is to further New York, especially the central upstate region as the national location for clean energy technology development.

9) Biomass Resources Program. NYSERDA’s Biomass Resources Program has a number of goals in the areas of bioremediation, agricultural and environmental biotechnology, fermentation, and the improvement of woody crops within the agricultural sector. This program “emphasizes the use of low-cost waste biomass, such as agricultural and forestry waste streams to products including fuels and chemicals.”

10) New York Energy Smart Program. When NYSERDA created the New York Energy Smart Program, the main goal was to increase the overall impact of sources of renewable energy throughout all parts of New York in an effort to reduce energy consumption and rising costs. The New York Energy Smart Program offers a variety of energy efficient programs for businesses, academic learning institutions, single family homes, multifamily buildings, and low and medium level income homeowners and renters. It provides a smart, effective way to purchase energy efficient products at a reduced cost. The program also offers clean energy training, energy education, outreach program and locations where energy efficient products are sold to the public.

Article by Shawn Lesser, Co-founder & Managing Partner of Atlanta-based Watershed Capital Group – an investment bank assisting sustainable fund and companies raise capital, perform acquisitions, and in other strategic financial decisions. He is also a Co-founder of the GCCA Global Cleantech Cluster Association ”The Global Voice of Cleantech”. He writes for various cleantech publications and is known as the David Letterman of Cleantech for his “Top 10″ series. He can be reached at shawn@watershedcapital.com

About Author

Walter’s contributions to CleanTechies over the past 4 years have been instrumental in growing the publications social media channels via his ongoing editorial and data driven strategies. He is the founder and managing director of Sunflower Tax, a renewable energy tax and finance consultancy based in San Diego, California. Active in the San Diego clean technology community, participating in events sponsored by CleanTech San Diego, EcoTopics, and Cleantech Open San Diego, Walter has also been a presenter at numerous California Center for Sustainability (CCSE) programs. He currently serves as an adjunct professor at the University of San Diego School of Law where he teaches a course on energy taxation and policy.

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