Franz Litz on WAMC: NYSERDA: Driving the Clean Energy Economy

In this week’s commentary on WAMC Northeast Public Radio, Pace Energy & Climate Center Executive Director Franz Litz talks about the work that New York State and the New York Energy Research & Development Authority (NYSERDA) have done to spark green job growth.


“A new report out of the Brookings Institution gives New York high marks for leveraging state clean energy dollars to create new clean tech industries and new jobs, suggesting other states should follow its example” says Litz

Litz explains that the Albany area is one of the fastest growing regions for green job growth in the country. He credits the NYSERDA for much of the success. NYSERDA was founded in 1975 to help the state solve energy and environmental challenges including reducing the reliance on petroleum. The organization “supports energy audits and provides financial incentives for energy efficiency measures like improved insulation, appliances and heating and cooling systems.” These policies create a local job market for contractors installing the green energy equipment and provide New Yorkers with energy savings.

He explains that the Brookings analysts focused on the NYSERDA’s Clean Energy Business Incubator program. Formed in 2009, the organization has created six clean-tech business incubators in New York. The project is designed to provide early stage tech companies with resources and assistance. According to the report the business incubators have created several hundred jobs along with 33 new clean energy products in just three years. Litz explains that, “with an investment of a little less than $4 million, the NYSERDA incubator program has attracted $41 million in private investment and $11 million in federal funding.”

Litz notes that the program was created as a bi-partisan venture. Republican George Pataki and the New York State Public Service Commission are credited with providing two of the major funding sources for the NYSERDA. The System benefits charge, a small charge on each month’s electric bill was added in 1996 followed by the renewable energy portfolio standard in 2005.

Litz credits New York for serving as a role model to surrounding states. Massachusetts created their Clean Energy Center in 2008 and Connecticut recently added their own Clean Energy Financing and Investment Authority.

“At a time when so much of the public debate and the press in this country are aimed at how government gets things wrong, we need to look a little harder for the positive stories. New Yorkers can look to NYSERDA.” suggests Litz

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