In the fall of 2006, NYSERDA and the New York Academy of Sciences (NYAS) initiated a comprehensive planning effort to provide direction for environmental research in New York State over the next five years, with a focus on pollution associated with energy generation and use. Implementation of the plan’s recommendations is helping to maximize the use of limited resources to serve the needs of New York State and others. Within the plan, NYSERDA and NYAS identified and prioritized key research areas that are suitable to be addressed through the EMEP program, as well as other potential funding organizations. This plan builds upon the previous EMEP research plan that was derived through a similar stakeholder process in 2001.
The EMEP research agenda has developed to integrate an evolving energy–environmental landscape that presents new information gaps and research needs. For example, the program takes into consideration how the following evolving issues relate to the identified research needs:
- Changes in industry market structure/deregulation, fuels, and pollution control technologies emerging energy technologies
- Volatile energy prices
- Concern for the long-term security of energy supplies and meeting peak energy demands
- Recognition that greenhouse gases and other climate-forcing agents will need to be addressed along with conventional combustion-related pollutants
NYSERDA also considers the broader evolving environmental policy context:
- Increased reliance on market-based environmental protection strategies
- Increased need to evaluate real-world effectiveness of environmental policies, i.e., “environmental accountability”
- Increased sensitivity to pollution-hot-spot concerns and environmental justice
- Scarcity of resources for adequate long-term monitoring programs
- Recognition of the need for coherent multi-pollutant policies and programs
In evaluating potential research to address these policy-relevant questions, NYSERDA takes the following into account:
- Relevance and importance to New York State
- Support of the EMEP program goals and overarching strategic objectives
- Extent to which the research is being, or will be, addressed by other entities
- Feasibility of being able to design and execute a scientifically credible project, given the limited resources in the EMEP program
In addition to the multi-year research plan, EMEP calls upon standing committees of external stakeholders to help guide the program’s research.
A Program Advisory Group composed of representatives from New York State and federal agencies, utility organizations, and other public interest organizations guides the EMEP program from a big-picture perspective.
A Science Advisory Committee composed of university-based federal and non-profit researchers assists EMEP in the development of its multi-year research plan and provides periodic review of critically important research.