NYSERDA President and CEO Contributes to ACEEE/FRA Energy Efficiency Finance Forum in Arlington, Virginia
April 18, 2008
Investing in Energy Efficiency: A Holistic Approach
The New York State Energy Research and Development Authority’s President and CEO, Paul D. Tonko addressed today the American Council for an Energy Efficient Economy’s 2nd Annual Energy Efficiency Finance Forum. The Forum was held at the Westin Arlington Gateway in Arlington, Virginia. Mr. Tonko’s speech focused on “Investing in Energy Efficiency: A Holistic Approach” and is provided below.
ACEEE & Financial Research Associates, LLC hosted the Energy Efficiency Finance Forum, a conference designed to give a better understanding of the energy efficiency financial landscape including the latest innovations in financial structures and models. Conference attendees were given a comprehensive overview of the future of financing energy efficiency projects and what role financing will play in this next generation of clean energy investing.
The conference focused on market drivers, technologies, effective financing structures, and regulatory issues affecting the energy efficiency industry. Leaders in energy efficiency came together to impart a comprehensive look at:
- The energy efficiency landscape
- Where the future of financing energy efficiency is headed
- Creative and innovative financing structures
- Uniquely successful business models
- Investment opportunities in energy efficiency technologies
- The globalization of energy efficiency
- Opportunities in green building technologies & projects
- A look at the role corporate America is playing
- Cutting-edge emerging and market-ready technologies
- A comprehensive guide to packaging energy efficiency
- Financing opportunities in residential markets
- The regulatory and legislative pressures pushing energy efficiency forward
A broad array of investors, financiers, utility executives, and policymakers such as: venture capitalists; project finance executives; institutional investors; energy service company executives (ESCOs); public and private utilities; technology and manufacturing executives; developers; energy efficiency specialists; policy and government leaders; investment and commercial bankers; consultants; attorneys; high-net worth individuals; and private equity investors, were the target audience at the conference.
Tonko said, “Energy efficiency will help us lower energy costs, reduce greenhouse gas emissions, move us toward energy independence and bolster a new clean energy economy. This national conference provided a vital opportunity to bring together key energy stakeholders and to discuss strategies for investing in energy efficiency. I was pleased to attend and share the holistic investment strategies NYSERDA and Governor Paterson are employing in New York to create a sustainable energy efficient future. I greatly appreciate the efforts of ACEEE and FRA in fostering this important discussion.”
Speech by NYSERDA President and CEO, Paul Tonko
“Investing in Energy Efficiency: A Holistic Approach”
I am pleased to join you today at this tremendous conference on energy efficiency financing, and to share with you New York State’s approach to energy efficiency investments.
Under the leadership of Governor David Paterson, New York is committed to an energy revolution. This revolution will transform how we use energy, move us closer to energy independence, bolster our economy and clean our air; and NYSERDA is working closely with the administration in every facet of this effort.
NYSERDA is recognized for its expertise and ability to address today’s energy, environmental and economic challenges. Our program activities range from research and development, which feeds both demand-side and supply-side solutions, to deployment; from energy efficiency to renewable sources of energy; from low-income assistance to education initiatives; and from market transformation to environmental preservation efforts. The programs provide both technical and financial assistance. They are also helping to build New York State’s economy by lowering energy costs, increasing productivity, growing jobs and creating a sustainable, clean energy economy, which is creating new opportunities for job-seekers, entrepreneurs and businesses of all sizes.
The primary funding source for our energy efficiency efforts is the system benefits charge, or SBC, on utility bills. Funds generated from the SBC promote energy efficiency and conservation, including alternative fuel vehicles, green buildings, energy efficient appliances, residential and commercial building improvements, clean energy technology development, and much more.
Under NYSERDA’s New York Energy $mart sm Program, which houses a large part of our efficiency programs, the level of annual energy bill savings has grown to $480 million. The level of annual greenhouse gas reduction has grown to about 2 million tons, which is the equivalent to removing about 400,000 cars from roadways. And for every dollar New Yorkers invest through this program, $2 in energy costs are avoided.
To ensure that we succeed in achieving a truly sustainable energy efficient future, we absolutely must take a holistic approach. This means that we not only stimulate the manufacture of energy efficient systems and products, but we must also accelerate research, help move new technologies from development to deployment, transform the marketplace and build a supporting workforce. To not do so would risk relegating our energy efficiency efforts to a brief chapter in history’s energy record, like a promising idea which comes and goes without realizing its true potential. I think we would all agree, given the serious energy, environmental and economic challenges we face today as a nation, that we need lasting energy efficiency starting immediately.
To that end, NYSERDA is taking that holistic approach. I’ll share some of our activities.
NYSERDA employs an array of direct support to key technology companies. This assistance includes:
- Early stage assistance, which utilizes incubators, technical assistance and business networks to support emerging companies, entrepreneurs and investors.
- Funds for start-ups, which are provided via competitive solicitations, supports new product development, demonstrations, environmental impact assessments and mitigation techniques.
- Business growth and development, which are funds also provided via competitive solicitation to help clean energy companies achieve success—that is, helping them bridge that valley of death between technology development and commercialization. These funds can also help attract new clean energy companies; and
Additionally, we provide support to research centers, such as the Lighting Research Center in upstate New York. Lighting has always been a key link to energy-efficiency programs in achieving energy reduction targets. This center is dedicated to the research, testing and advancement of efficient lighting solutions; conducts training for contractors, lighting designers and utilities, among others; and works closely with many partners in the industry, including GE lighting and Philips. Through this investment, we are accelerating the development of efficient lighting solutions and getting them to market sooner.
Okay. So now we have the technology, it’s being manufactured and is ready for deployment.
Spurring market “pull”
Spurring market "pull" is where NYSERDA’s market transformation investments come into play. We use public education and incentives to help develop the market and spur demand.
For example, NYSERDA provides guidance on reducing energy consumption in homes and businesses and information on products and technologies, as well as program information. We “get the message out” at schools, fairs, home shows, community workshops and seminars, in community newspapers, via radio and television segments, and, of course, on the internet.
Through our commercial and industrial program portfolio, we provide technical and financial assistance to existing buildings to employ energy efficient and green solutions. We provide similar assistance to both customers and design teams in our New Construction program. We assist companies and institutions in New York State to reduce their peak demand and prepare them to participate in New York’s ISO demand response programs.
Likewise, we have a comprehensive portfolio of residential programs that provide technical and financial assistance for efficiency improvements in homes from single family to multi-family.
We also conduct targeted programs such as our lighting education to commercial end users through the Right Light initiative to encourage the adoption of effective, energy efficient lighting design; or our Be Cool campaign which encourages people to turn in their old, inefficient air conditioners and purchase a new energy star model.
But, even as we stimulate the supply and use of these new energy efficient technologies, we must invest in education. For without education, we will not have the skilled workforce and intellectual capacity vitally necessary to support these solutions and the new clean energy economy.
Indeed, we will require workers with the skills to construct the new and retrofit the existing infrastructure—I call them “green collar” workers. We must train and re-train the workforce of today and tomorrow for that highly skilled workforce to design, build, sell, inspect and maintain these new energy systems.
For example, we will need a body of highly skilled technicians servicing CHP units; fuel cells; day-lighting systems; upgraded power grids that utilize high temperature superconducting cable and smart metering technology; advanced industrial production equipment; innovative power management systems; or equipment designed to use natural resources, such as water, more efficiently.
The emerging green collar workforce will provide the critical skill set necessary to foster the use of these technologies and support our companies. To that end, NYSERDA is working with New York’s great universities, colleges, and in a specific way, its community college campuses and high schools. We also partner with BOCES centers in New York State, which are unique campuses that focus on developing our trades. With the wealth of these higher education and k-12 education networks, we work routinely to create track programs focused on these cutting edge technologies. We must also partner through state-of-the-art apprenticeship programs with our highly skilled trade organizations to provide advanced training for our expert trades women and men out in the field already.
Additionally, we need to invest in training for our first responders. I recently met with our State’s fire chief’s director who raised this very point. These new energy systems require new approaches to emergency response. For example, the fuel efficient hybrid vehicles often remain highly electrified after a crash, slowing rescue by up to thirty minutes. But with training, emergency responders would understand the systems, know how to disable the high voltage currents and be able to respond quicker and safer.
As we build our workforce, we must also expand upon New York’s already tremendous intellectual capacity. The clean energy economy and the intellectual economy must join forces.
The importance of university based research and academics in the development of new and alternative technologies cannot be overstated—especially given our urgent need to accelerate research and development. We need engineers, design specialists and scientists, among others, who will make production more efficient, cleaner, and better served to help all the consumers of New York State and across the nation.
We need to place more emphasis on the contribution of the intellectual economy in helping our great nation promote our best possible energy policies. The ability to foresee solutions to difficult problems and the ability to implement these solutions makes these individuals one of the key focal points on energy policy--and key focal points on growing a clean energy economy.
Finally, we need to view energy efficiency as if it were a natural resource. Indeed, NYSERDA view’s energy efficiency as the “first” energy source and renewable resource. We must “drill” and “mine” energy efficiency in all sectors.
For example, the transportation sector provides some tremendous opportunities. In New York, we are working to develop intelligent transportation systems which serve to enhance the efficient movement of passengers and freight through existing transportation infrastructure, and can often result in a cost-effective capacity expansion to existing systems.
Innovations, such as heat capture and energy transfer in regenerative braking in the New York subway system would make it more energy efficient, cost effective and reduce our carbon footprint. At NYSERDA we quantify that some 2-billion kW of electricity a year is consumed by the MTA. Imagine what a one or two percent improvement in efficiency can mean! Our professionals at NYSERDA estimate that 10 to 20% of efficiency can be achieved. That calculates to immense energy and dollar savings in a system that equates to 1,100 mw of demand in and around New York City.
We are developing and demonstrating the feasibility of plug-in hybrid electric vehicles and advanced hybrid transit bus technologies.
Additionally, we are looking at truck idle reduction initiatives through the development of truck stop electrification and “truck accessory” electrification technologies to reduce harmful emissions and petroleum consumption.
Maintenance and inspection of our infrastructure not only speaks to reliability and safety, but also to our energy use. The sooner we repair and construct bridges and roadways, the more we reduce instances of closings, delays and vehicle idling which increases fuel consumption and harmful emissions. The use of advanced technologies to monitor bridges and roadways would aid us in this effort.
That’s quite a bit of opportunity to “mine” and “drill”, and these are but a few areas in just one sector. Imagine what more we can do and accomplish!
In closing, we must invest in research and development, manufacturing, market transformation, education and across all sectors if we are to realize the best possible energy efficient outcome. This kind of holistic investment will produce a sustainable clean energy future that:
Perhaps some of the most inspirational components of the undeniable green and smart energy revolution is the building of community. For far too long, I have sensed the growing aspects of the “I” in society, where we have cocooned and withdrawn from essential partnerships. Our energy revolution enables us to respond by means of the “we” in us rather than the “I”. In so doing, our investments, our goals, our actions, our policies and our successes will be the catalyst to a much stronger expression of community—creating the optimum outcome we will build our communities, opportunities, energy agenda and grow green.
- Business expansion assistance which helps develop or expand manufacturing facilities that produce clean energy technologies in New York.
- Lowers the energy bills that are crushing our families, businesses and farms;
- Loosens the stranglehold of our dependence on foreign oil
- Builds our businesses by cutting costs
- Grows green jobs in a robust clean energy economy
- Cleans our air and promises a greener earth for our next generations
Colleen Q. Ryan
518-862-1090, Ext. 3359
Last Updated: 10/19/2012