Catalyzing Change

SASD Board President Michael Chojnicki shares some of the exciting projects on the horizon

DER Presentation

Stephen Stuart and Michael Chojnicki describing deep energy retrofits at the Climate Change Symposium, February 2014

Greetings all, and welcome back. It’s been a stretch of time since we have sent our newsletter, but be assured that during this stretch SASD has been working to build awareness and provide assistance to area residents in regard to renewable energy and energy efficiency, with the ultimate goal of reducing our carbon footprint and creating a cleaner environment.

Over the last couple of years there has been a real shift in our nation’s awareness of global climate change and the destabilization of the weather due to our unbridled use of fossil fuels. Renewable energy (RE) system installations are on the rise due to major cost reductions of solar panels making it more affordable to all.

Wind generated energy systems are also increasing – especially on the large scale projects; in general, conventional energy costs have risen dramatically, which substantially shortens the payback period on RE systems to 4-5 years in most cases. Additionally, Power Purchase Agreements (PPA’s) between individuals and renewal energy companies have become much more common. This type of agreement allows systems to be installed with minimal out-of-pocket expenses for the business or home owner.

There have also been a couple of shifts at SASD over the past 2 years. Dick Riseling, SASD’s Founder and Executive Director since 2004, stepped down in 2013. But fear not, he is now on SASD’s Board and as active as ever in promoting and assisting in renewable energy projects, energy efficiency measures and much, much more. We now have two new Co-Executive Directors, Carol Roig and Stephen Stuart, to continue in Dick’s shoes carrying out the organization’s mission. They have been enormously busy, especially at the County level where SASD is still contracted to run the County’s Office of Sustainable Energy. In 2014, Sullivan County adopted the Climate Action Plan prepared by Carol and Stephen, working with a committee of prominent community leaders. The plan includes ambitious goals for GHG reduction and a shift to renewable energy for County facilities.

The team is working with five Sullivan County towns to develop local climate action plans and energy projects. Carol and Stephen also developed an alliance with NACL Theatre and the Town of Highland to collaborate on The Weather Project, a two-year exploration of the causes and remedies for climate change. The Project featured SASD’s Climate Change Symposium in February 2014, and culminated with a gala community performance event by NACL in August. This summer, The Weather Project continues with performances and community conversations; SASD will present a symposium on global water issues in the summer of 2015. Last month we learned that The Weather Project will be honored with the Upper Delaware Council’s Partnership Award in April 2015.

So please read on and enjoy this rebirth of our newsletter and see what we have been up to. Let us know what you think and how you feel we could better assist. Lastly, as always, contact us if you could help out by volunteering to aid us in getting out this important message – to reduce our carbon footprint and meet the challenges of climate change with innovation and community collaboration.

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