SIERRA CLUB IN NIAGARA PROPOSES A WIN-WIN STRATEGY FOR JOBS AND CLEAN ENERGY
Buffalo, NY – The Sierra Club / Niagara Group is releasing CLEAN / FIT, a report that outlines how New York State can create jobs while shifting to renewable energy. This report describes how a FIT, or Feed-in-Tariff, has worked across the world to generate alternative CLEAN energy and at the same time, provide viable jobs. The FIT, already being considered in Long Island, could work here in Western New York.
The paper was prepared for the Atlantic Chapter of the Sierra Club. Members of the Sierra Club / Niagara Group, Lynda Schneekloth, Chair, Bill Nowak, report author, and John Shinn, United Steel Workers, Regional Director for District 4 will be present to talk about the paper and answer questions.
The report uses the acronym “CLEAN-FIT” which stands for “Clean Local Energy Accessible Now” and “Feed-In-Tariff” for short. According to Bill Nowak of Buffalo Clean Energy, “FIT programs, already being implemented across the globe, are an efficient ‘pricing structure’ that maximizes both job creation and rapid renewable energy deployment.” FITs provide a guaranteed long term price for a wide variety of renewable energy products so they are able to “feed in” to the energy grid on equitable terms. The fixed price reflects the cost of producing the energy plus a reasonable rate of return.
FIT programs have been used in more than 80 jurisdictions around the world and have been very effective in creating industry and supply chain economic development. Frank Hotchkiss, USW District 4 Staff Representative and Political Coordinator cites two examples. “Germany has created 367,400 clean energy jobs for a population that is less than 28% of the USA’s, and Ontario, Canada, our neighbor, has created 20,000 jobs under a recently established CLEAN-FIT program in only three years.”
Western New York needs jobs, good jobs, like those created by FIT. According to Shinn “The introduction of the CLEAN-FIT paper presents New York State a clear opportunity to move forward on a proven successful path to produce local clean energy. With the abundant resources available in Western New York, now is the time to step up and commit to rebuilding our manufacturing base around the technologies of the 21st century. We have a window to progress to the green, clean and efficient industries of the future.”
Bob Ciesielski, Energy Chair for the state Sierra Club, reports that other countries have “leveled the playing field with respect to pricing and made the move to clean energy much faster.” The blueprint is available on a global scale.
The Sierra Club is the largest grassroots environmental organization in the US with a membership of 1.4 million people. The Atlantic Chapter represents New York State and the Niagara Group is the local entity representing seven counties in Western New York.