Region's Leaders to Gather to Talk Sustainability

The Northern Westchester Energy Coalition is convening 150 government, civic and education leaders at a meeting in Ossining Thursday night to address regional sustainability initiatives.

Local leaders in politics, education and environmentalism will gather Thursday night to discuss how to advance regional sustainability issues and prepare to take advantage of funds potentially available through Gov. Cuomo's 'Cleaner, Greener Communities" initiative.

"What this summit is about is increasing collaboration between neighboring communities and formulating regional plans," said Herb Oringel, chairman of the Northern Westchester Energy Action Consortium, a 14-member coalition of towns addressing energy conservation issues. 

The meeting is to be held at the and is not open to the public.

Presenters will share information on such existing local initiatives as the state and federally-funded started in Bedford two years ago, now in the process of being rolled out to other NWEAC towns. Through with low-cost financing, homeowners save money on energy costs while reducing carbon emissions.

Attendees include mayors and supervisors from Yonkers to Peekskill, nonprofit leaders—Green Schools Coalition, Transition Westchester and the Bike-Walk Alliance Westchester-Putnam, to name a few—representatives from industry and NGOs.

Oringel said the conference was a first step for some towns in identifying their energy use and energy waste, and they hoped leaders would work together to create solutions for change. At least seven municipalities have data and best practices to share around the development of and greenhouse gas inventories.

Workshops will focus on municipal planning, home energy efficiency, greener transportation, energy efficient schools and community power and 'smart grids.'

Town leaders will have an opportunity to take an "energize pledge," whereby elected officials can publicly commit to learn about their own home's energy use through NWEAC’s signature residential energy efficiency program,

Organizers have also brought in authorities in environmentalism and advocacy to inspire attendees: Eric Pooley, author of The Climate War, Audrey Zibelman, an expert in smart grid technology and John Cerveny, Director of NY BEST, an industry-led consortium of energy-storage companies.

State funds may become available for the development of regional sustainability plans and projects that improve energy efficiency throughout the community, promote renewable energy, and result in reduced emissions of carbon, according to NYSERDA.

Bjorn Olsson April 01, 2012 at 09:20 PM
The one person actually an expert on this type of software seems to be the one downplaying it the most. In any case, in a world run by computers, these will naturally be a target in a conflict. Is your conclusion that we should simply not use them at all? Both sides have gunpowder too...
Francis T McVetty April 02, 2012 at 01:43 PM
Bjorn, I'm NOT saying not to use the smart grid but to be very careful in letting it control everything. Lets not jump into something that could be potentially dangerous to our safety. There are plenty of examples of cyber attacks that have damaged computer systems.
Bjorn Olsson April 02, 2012 at 02:51 PM
Yes there are, and there are even more examples of attacks with explosives and other physical violence, and they can do just as much damage. Someone who is motivated enough will always find a vulnerability somewhere. You could blow up a dam or attack a computer system. What is it you NRA people like to say? "Guns don't kill, people do." Same principle could be applied.
pauline schneider April 02, 2012 at 02:53 PM
I was so grateful to have been part of this incredible event! Transition Westchester (TW) is just a small organization trying to help local communities re-skill and organize for a different kind of energy future. It's encouraging to see so many community leaders willing to work together and prepare for what will definitely be interesting times. I'm hoping this conversation doesn't fizzle out. TW is holding their next general meeting on April 23rd, at 7pm at the Emmanuel Lutheran Church in Pleasantville for anyone interested in continuing the conversation and brainstorming. Everyone is welcome. :) Check out our facebook page for updates and news. Pauline
pauline schneider April 02, 2012 at 02:53 PM


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