By LIBBY CUDMORE • Special to www.AllOTSEGO.com
ONEONTA – While the big tasks are still ahead for the Otsego County Energy Task Force, Barbara Ann Heegan, Otsego County Chamber president and chair of the Economic Development sub-group of the county’s Energy Task Force, is making sure that small businesses and the public can learn what they can do on the local level.
“We will be hosting a talk on ‘Understanding Energy Usage In Your Small Business: How to Increase Efficiency and Reduce Costs With An Energy Study’ from the Green Jobs, Green New York energy study,” she told the task force and public gathered for their second meeting this evening in Oneonta’s Town Hall. “We want to keep networking and keep these connections strong.”
The talk, which is free and open to the public, will be given by Michelle Wooddell, program coordinator for Green Jobs, Green New York at 9 a.m. on Wednesday, May 8 at the Northern Eagle Beverage Center.
The four committees – Buildings and Efficiency, Economic Development, Environment and Supply and Distribution – gave brief reports on what their groups had been doing since the last meeting.
“Our first priority is to look at the strengths and weaknesses of renewable and conventional energy sources,” said Danny Lapin, a member of the Environment sub-group. “For instance, Otsego County may not have the resources needed for a hydro-electric plant. But we’re going to look at everything.”
“We need to look at what percentage of households use what type of energy to heat their homes,” said Karen Sullivan, chair of the Supply and Distribution sub-group. “What percentage use gas, oil and wood, and what types of power lines we have in the county, as well as identify sites where we could have, for example, a large-scale solar farm.”
As the groups work, they will also develop an RFP for a consultant, who they hope to hire by early fall. The consultant will be on hand to guide the groups as they put together the County’s community energy plan, which will include goals and recommendations from the four sub-groups on how to best approach the county’s energy usage.
“What we’re going to put forward at the end is a Community Energy Plan that will reflect our goals and requirements,” said Michele Farwell, District 2 representative.