Leaders in rural New York maintain that current natural resources found in underutilized farmland and unmanaged woodlots will provide diverse energy sources for the state. Developing renewable energy systems can enhance the prosperity of rural agricultural communities.
Recommendations for developing energy sources include:
- Appropriating funds to develop an inventory of renewable energy resources and markets
- Growing a pool of "energy consultants" to assist with conservation, project development, etc.
- Streamlining regulatory and funding processes
The Government might work towards the development of a self-sufficient energy system based on localized production of alternative energy, while simultaneously increasing efficiency and conservation.
- Biofuels (grass/hay pellets, corn, and forest products) are energy sources that maintain productive open space and create new opportunities for agriculture
- Wind power, methane gas, ethanol, hydropower, and possibly solar energy can be effective in rural New York
- Other sources of energy include: cryogenics fuels (e.g. liquid hydrogen), coal gasification, geothermal energy, and the use of waste tires for oil
Opportunities for reaching these goals include:
- Linking the government with agriculture and forestry
- Educating diverse audiences about future energy sources
- Building decentralized, small scale, local production and locally owned energy facilities
- Increasing energy efficiency through more sustainable communities by encouraging use of public transportation, green buildings, and energy-saving products
- Involving local business and employers
- Tax credits and rebates, net metering programs, and education are critical first steps
A "Not In My Back Yard" attitude, as well as the high cost of creating and switching to alternative sources, can hinder the development of a renewable energy industry.
Other challenges include:
- High current energy costs (i.e., "heat or eat")
- Lack of hard data on cost efficiency and benefits of alternative energy
- Problems of infrastructure and distribution
- Lack of incentives for energy efficient and alternative energy development