Overcast
Overcast
33.8 °F
December 22, 2014
River Reporter Facebook pageTRR TwitterRSS Search

Mixed Greens

Wish list

Christmas is a time for connecting with what we truly value, made tangible in our gatherings with family and friends, our nostalgia for holidays past and the renewal of hope for the future. As we enjoy this brief vacation from everyday cynicism, I confess that I am shamelessly susceptible to classic holiday movies, those sentimental cultural touchstones with their timeless themes of family, community, faith and doubt, usually framed in the emotional journeys of beloved characters who desperately need to change their lives.  Read more

Sustaining our communities

It’s a bit of a bummer that the Thanksgiving season coincides each year with the formulation of our municipal budgets. While most of us are planning the menu for family gatherings, our town boards are crunching numbers and losing sleep trying to control expenses while ensuring continuity of the basic services that keep us safe.  Read more

Bigger or better?

Over the past decade or so, I have heard many variations on the theme that the American way of life is one of plenitude and that asking Americans to change how they live is somehow un-American. These arguments peaked in 2001 as Congress debated renewed CAFE (Corporate Average Fuel Economy) standards for fuel efficiency, and the Bush Administration unveiled an energy policy that stressed expanded fossil fuel supply and cut Department of Energy funding for energy efficiency research by 29%.  Read more

Science and sensibility

I got some shocked questions recently from friends horrified by gruesome reports of birds fatally burned mid-air at a solar energy facility in the Mohave Desert. Buried in the news coverage was the fact that this was not a conventional photovoltaic (PV) array, but rather a solar thermal installation using concentrated solar power (CSP). The plant deploys 300,000 garage door-size mirrors that concentrate sunlight to boil water in three 40-story towers, producing steam for turbines that generate electricity.  Read more

An ode to August

The tomatoes are late this year, but we just tasted the first sungolds from our garden, a golden cherry variety that bursts with flavor. They make a delicious no-cook pasta sauce, marinated briefly with home grown shallots in lemon juice and olive oil and tossed with cubes of local mozzarella, penne and thinly sliced basil leaves picked just minutes before serving.  Read more

Drowning in plastic

I’m preoccupied lately with trying to reduce plastic in my life, beyond obvious things like avoiding single-serve containers, carrying drinking water in a glass bottle, shopping with reusable bags and recycling the plastic I can’t avoid buying. But I had never really thought about plastic as an ingredient in a product I might use until I learned that the New York, California, Illinois and other states are moving to ban plastic microbeads—tiny polyethylene or polypropylene particles found in facial scrubs, shampoos and even toothpastes.  Read more

Capitalizing on the benefits of green

On a day’s outing to SUNY Orange last month for the presentation, “Getting to the Triple Bottom Line: Innovative Finance Strategies to Green Your Business,” I learned about some amazing New York State programs that offer incentives and creative financing for energy efficiency and renewable energy for businesses of all sizes.  Read more

There’s a better way

The Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) has devised an innovative way to address high electricity rates paid by residents of Long Island. Unfortunately, it’s at the expense of the ratepayers of Orange, Dutchess and Ulster counties. Claiming to address capacity issues for delivery of power to New York City, FERC has created a New Capacity Zone(NCZ) that lumps these Mid-Hudson counties in with those downstate, effectively increasing upstate customers’ electricity rates by 4% this year.  Read more

A big step backwards

New York State’s (NYS) new energy plan starts off with an overview, “Shaping the Future of Energy,” which expresses admirable aspirations to reduce greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions and move to renewable energy generation. The bad news comes in Volume II, which outlines the plan’s specifics in 618 pages of statistics and predictions.  Read more

Engineering a win-win

All around New York State, municipal entities are working out ways to secure the benefits of solar electricity to power their facilities. Onondaga County is installing a solar array at the county’s wastewater management facility. Seneca County will soon power its law enforcement center with solar, and the Schodack Central School District is installing solar panels at four buildings and creating a Science, Technology, Engineering and Math (STEM) academic instruction program around the installation and operation of the arrays.  Read more

Syndicate content