Tompkins County Climate Protection Initiative
The TCCPI Newsletter

May-June 2018

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Welcome to the May-June 2018 issue of the TCCPI Newsletter, an electronic update from the Tompkins County Climate Protection Initiative (TCCPI).

Photo by Jo Zimny Photos licensed under CC by-NC-ND 2.0.

TCCPI is a multisector collaboration seeking to leverage the climate action commitments made by Cornell University, Ithaca College, Tompkins Cortland Community College, Tompkins County, the City of Ithaca, and the Town of Ithaca to mobilize a countywide energy efficiency effort and accelerate the transition to a clean energy economy . Launched in June 2008 and generously supported by the Park Foundation, TCCPI is a project of the Sustainable Markets Foundation.
We are committed to helping Tompkins County achieve a dynamic economy, healthy environment, and resilient community through a focus on energy efficiency and renewable energy. 

Governor Andrew Cuomo announced on June 21 the release of the state's comprehensive Energy Storage Roadmap to guide New York toward its nation-leading energy storage target. With this Roadmap, New York is jumpstarting the development of this clean energy technology, while supporting the Governor's energy storage target of 1,500 megawatts by 2025, the equivalent electricity demand of one-fifth of all New York homes. 

The comprehensive plan will also bolster the Reforming the Energy Vision strategy to build a clean, resilient, and affordable energy system for all New York residents to combat climate change.

A 10MW energy storage system recently commissioned in the UK. Photo: Business Wire.
"Clean energy is the future of our planet, and New York will continue to lead the nation in this technology to fight climate change and conserve resources for generations to come," Governor Cuomo said. "This Roadmap is the next step to not only grow our clean energy economy and create jobs, but to improve the resiliency of the grid to keep our power running in the face of extreme weather and other emergency situations."

The Roadmap identifies short-term recommendations for how energy storage can deliver value to New York electricity consumers and cost-effectively address the needs and demands of the grid, providing a set of specific recommended actions to accelerate the deployment of energy storage projects in New York and position the state as a leading national market for advanced energy storage projects. The plan was developed by the Department of Public Service and New York State Energy Research and Development Authority with input from numerous stakeholders.

Achieving the state's ambitious 2025 target will deliver approximately $2 billion gross lifetime benefits to New York residents, including electric distribution system savings and reduced greenhouse gas emissions, as well as added resiliency to the electric grid by reducing the impact of outages caused by severe weather. Adding more energy storage into the system will also maximize the benefits of other renewable energy sources such as solar and wind, and will help to ensure they are available when needed to meet peak demand for electricity.

New York currently has approximately 60-megawatts of advanced energy storage capacity deployed with another 500-megawatts in the pipeline, in addition to 1,400-megawatts of traditional pumped hydro storage. In order to advance energy storage development in ways that are viable, replicable, and scalable, the Roadmap recommends:
  • Providing $350 million in statewide market acceleration incentives to fast-track the adoption of advanced storage systems to be located at customer sites or on the distribution or bulk electric systems
  • Adding incentives for energy storage to NYSERDA's successful NY-Sun initiative to accelerate the development of solar plus storage projects and allow those projects to access federal tax credits before they expire
  • Regulatory changes to utility rates, utility solicitations and carbon values to reflect the system benefits and values of storage projects
  • Continuing to address project permitting and siting challenges and reduce system indirect expenses and soft costs
  • Recommending modifications to wholesale market rules to better enable storage participation, including allowing storage to meet both electric distribution system and wholesale system needs to provide greater value for ratepayers.
Next TCCPI Meeting:
Friday, June 29, 2018
9 to 11 am
Tompkins County Public Library
Borg Warner Conference Room
101 E. Green St.
Ithaca, NY 14850
Ithaca-Tompkins Airport Expansion to Include Solar, Heat Pumps
by Dan Veaner,  Lansing Star

The Tompkins County Legislature, by unanimous vote, accepted on June 5 the $14.2 million Upstate Airport Development Grant recently awarded by New York State and committed to assuming full responsibility for all additional project costs. 

The project will expand the terminal by approximately one-third, update terminal systems, and enhance security, as well as construct a federal customs inspection facility. 

The proposed renovated and expanded airport. 
Powering the airport with solar power is a key part of the airport's overhaul. Airport Director Mike Hall's team has been negotiating with Cayuga Solar (the new solar extension of the Cayuga Power Plant) to provide electricity to power ground source heat pumps. In addition, solar panels will be erected above the parking lots which will have the additional advantage of keeping snow off of parked cars. 

Hall estimates that at least 80% of gas consumption will be eliminated to be replaced by solar power and heat pumps. That will save $50,000 annually on utility costs, even with a terminal that is one third larger.

While total cost was projected two years ago at just over $22 million, Hall reported in a detailed presentation to the Legislature that current 2018 cost projections have increased the estimated total cost to $24.8 million, increasing the anticipated local share to 10.5 million (from $7.8 million). 

Hall said $2.5 million in airport revenue, from federal sources and the Airport fund balance, is already committed and that the remaining $8 million County obligation can be supported through pending potential grant proceeds and financing based on Airport passenger facility charges.
Everything You Want to Know About Ithaca's New Bike Share
by Margaret McAden Get Your GreenBack Tompkins Intern

Ithaca's new bike share program has  launched,  meaning that there are now over 200 bikes available to the public for rent for a dollar a ride or less. Bike Walk Tompkins and the City of Ithaca worked with LimeBike, a for-profit tech mobility company, to bring the dockless bike system to town. But how does this work? What are the rules of dockless bikes?

Ithaca College students pose with two friends on LimeBikes at StreetsAlive! Photo by Maggie McAden.
1. How do you use it?
A) Download the LimeBike app in the App Store (for your iphone), or on Google Play (for an Android phone.)
B) Register with your cellphone number or through your Facebook account.
C) Hit "Unlock" and scan the QR code in the back of the bike you want
D) Manually lock the bike at the end of your trip
(Source: LimeBike Cheat Sheet)

2. How much does it cost?
The first ride is free, and after that it only costs $1.00 per 30-minute ride. Rides are only $0.50 for students and people with .edu e-mail addresses and people receiving government assistance. People receiving government assistance can also participate in a program called Lime Access, which allows them to purchase 100 rides for $5. Steps to participate in this program can be found  here.

3. How do I park it?
You can park it anywhere in the City of Ithaca, as long as it is next to or parked at a public bike rack, or in the spaces between trees on the sidewalk. You can also park it on university campuses, as long as it is next to or parked at a public bike rack! Check out a great video about LimeBike parking  here.

4. Are there memberships as well?
Yes. There are several options for memberships. A monthly pass, worth 100 rides, is $29.95 for regular users, $14.95 for .edu users, and $5 for Lime Access users.

5. Do you have to wear a helmet?
Although helmets are recommended, there is no legal requirement to wear a helmet in Tompkins County or in the City of Ithaca. However, kids aged 13 years and under must wear a helmet.

6. How old do you have to be to use the bikes?
There's no age requirement for the bikes.

7. How far can you ride a lime bike?
The bikes should stay on university campuses or within the City of Ithaca.

8. Can I put a bike on the bus?
Nope! However, there are over 200 bikes throughout the City of Ithaca, and so if you need to get up a hill, take the TCAT and there will likely be a bike near you at the top of the hill!

9. Can one account take out several bikes at once with the same account?
Nope! This is not a feature that LimeBike currently offers.

10. Do you need a credit card and a smartphone to use a LimeBike?
Right now, you do. However, LimeBike is in the process of creating a nationwide access program, LimeAccess, to offer discounted fares for people who receive government assistance (e.g. SNAP benefits.) LimeAccess users will be able to pay in cash at PayNearMe locations, or use a regular cellphone instead of a smartphone. Learn more  here.

Got more questions? Read more on the new system at  Bike Walk Tompkins.




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One Last Thing: Falling Rocks, Rising Seas? No, an Avalanche of Unreality

T he House Committee on Science, Space, and Technology held a hearing on climate change in mid-May that will go down as one of the most farcical performances by government officials since the Marx Brothers' Duck Soup.

Ostensibly, t he purpose of the hearing was to examine how technology could be deployed for climate change adaptation. Just a few weeks before, a study commissioned by the Pentagon had warned that rising sea levels were threatening critical U.S. military assets in the Pacific Ocean. So there were serious matters of national security at stake. 

But the hearing soon devolved into absurdist theater as one Republican congressman after another trotted out their pet objections to climate science. 

A cause of rising sea levels? The White Cliffs of Dover.  Photo by jpellgen licensed under CC by-NC-ND 2.0.

As reported by E&E News , Philip Duffy, president of the Woods Hole Research Center in Massachusetts and former senior adviser to the U.S. Global Change Research Program, was testifying when things began to unravel. Rep. Dana Rohrabacher (R-CA) charged that established climate science had been "beaten into our heads" and he questioned whether climate change was caused by human activities.

Rep. Lamar Smith (R-TX), chairman of the committee, then entered into the fray, displaying a slide of two charts that he said made clear that the rate of sea-level rise has not been commensurate with the sharp rise in the consumption of fossil fuels. Duffy noted that Smith's chart drew on data from only one tide gauge station, near San Francisco, and patiently explained that sea levels rise at different rates around the world.

"It's accurate, but it doesn't represent what's happening globally; it represents what's happening in San Francisco," Duffy said.

At this point, having drifted far from the topic of how to use technology to address climate change, the hearing reached a near epic moment of ridiculousness: Rep. Mo Brooks (R-AL), pointing to the California coastline and the White Cliffs of Dover, insisted that falling rocks were a major factor in the rise of sea levels. He also said that silt washing into the ocean from the world's major rivers was contributing to sea-level rise.

"Every time you have that soil or rock or whatever it is that is deposited into the seas, that forces the sea levels to rise, because now you have less space in those oceans, because the bottom is moving up," Brooks said.

Clearly, the bottom was not just moving up; it had taken over. Having spent most of two hours trying valiantly to correct one misstatement after another, Duffy retired from the field. " No, Mo Brooks, it's not the rocks falling into the ocean that are raising the sea level," one could imagine Duffy thinking to himself, "it's the avalanche of American minds disconnecting themselves from reality that's causing it."

Peter Bardaglio
TCCPI Coordinator


Be sure to visit the website for TCCPI's latest project, the Ithaca 2030 District, an interdisciplinary public-private collaboration working to create a groundbreaking high-performance building district in Downtown Ithaca.