Our sold out spring 2018 symposium—"Solar Smart Hudson Valley: Building Clean Energy while Preserving Important Lands"—featured interactive discussions and presentations that explore important questions and tough issues surrounding the rapid development of solar energy projects in the Hudson Valley.
The symposium was held to highlight the publication of Scenic Hudson’s Clean Energy, Green Communities: A Guide to Siting Renewable Energy, a free 28-page guide to boosting clean energy development and protecting nature and communities. The symposium gathered citizens, community groups, environmental organizations, land trusts, local conservation advisory commissions as well as municipal boards, regional planning groups, energy developers and other stakeholders. Key topics included:
- the state policy and market forces that are driving renewable energy development
- maximizing renewable energy development through planning and zoning
- reducing public opposition
- developers’ responsibilities
- responsible building of renewable energy on farmland, conserved lands and previously disturbed areas
- how to develop a regional renewable energy plan
Archived presentations from the symposium are showcased below.
- "The Climate Crisis and the Need to Transition to and Maximize Renewable Energy Resources"
Sacha Spector, Ph.D., Program Director for the Environment, Doris Duke Charitable Foundation
SESSION ONE—The Renewable Energy Horse has Left the Barn
An overview of the State policy, siting considerations and market forces that are driving solar energy development in the Hudson Valley.
- "New York State Renewable Energy Policy"
Anne Reynolds, Executive Director, Alliance for Clean Energy New York
- "Renewable Energy Drivers and Patterns in the Hudson Valley"
Maureen Leddy, Senior Project Manager, New York State Energy Research & Development Agency
SESSION TWO—Yes in My Backyard: Building Public Support for New Renewable Energy Projects
A presentation of the local, regional and global benefits of renewable energy development, and a conversation about the myths surrounding solar energy facilities.
- "The Benefits of Renewable Energy"
Elizabeth (Betta) Broad, Outreach Director, New Yorkers for Clean Power
- "How Shared Solar and Community Choice Aggregation Really Work"
Evelyn Wright, Ph.D., Citizens for Local Power
- "Debunking the Myths Surrounding Solar PV Systems"
Karl R. Rábago, Professor of Law, Executive Director, Pace Energy and Climate Center
SESSION THREE—Smart from the Start: Maximizing Renewable Energy Development While Preserving the Hudson Valley’s Natural and Visual Resources
A discussion of principles, strategies and tools for guiding development to appropriate sites and maximizing solar energy development through local comprehensive planning and zoning.
- "Central Hudson’s Hosting Capacity Maps"
Stephanie Genesee, Associate Engineer for Electric Distribution Planning, Central Hudson
- "Clean Energy, Green Communities: A Guide to Siting Renewable Energy in the Hudson Valley"
Audrey Friedrichsen, Land Use and Environmental Advocacy Attorney, Scenic Hudson
- "Developing Solar Energy Projects on Agricultural Lands"
Jimmy Daukas, Senior Program Officer, American Farmland Trust
- Maximizing Solar Development through Planning and Zoning
Jessica Bacher, Executive Director/Professor, Pace/Elizabeth Haub School of Law Land Use Law Center
- "Town of Warwick: A Case Study"
Michael Sweeton, Town of Warwick Supervisor
SESSION FOUR—Have Your Cake and Eat it Too: Developing Solar Energy on Conserved Lands, Farmland, and Previously Disturbed Lands
An informational session on how to achieve mutual benefits in solar energy development through siting on conserved lands, use of pollinator friendly plantings, and re-use of previously disturbed sites such as brownfields and landfills.
- "Finding Common Ground: Land Conservation and Energy Production"
Seth McKee, Land Conservation Director, Scenic Hudson
- "Pollinator-Friendly Solar"
Melissa Kemp, Director of Policy for the Northeast, Cypress Creek Renewables
- "Siting Solar PV Projects on Previously Disturbed Lands: Landfills and Brownfields"
Paul Curran, Managing Director, BQ Energy
SESSION FIVE—Developing a Hudson Valley Regional Renewable Energy Plan: Plenary Discussion
A facilitated discussion of who the stakeholders should be, what information is needed, what form it should take, and the next steps for creating a renewable energy development plan for the Hudson Valley.
- "Vermont’s Act 174: Comprehensive Energy and Land Use Planning"
James Sullivan, Executive Director, Bennington County Regional Commission
- "A Path Forward: Identifying Least-Conflict Solar PV Development in California’s San Joaquin Valley"
Dustin Pearce, M.E.S.M, GIS Analyst, Conservation Biology Institute
- "Regional Planning for Solar Energy Development on Long Island"
Jessica Price, Ph.D., Landscape Conservation Ecologist, The Nature Conservancy
- "Finding the Pathways to a Brighter Future for the Hudson Valley"
Ned Sullivan, President, Scenic Hudson