News of Otsego County

energy summit

Work Starts On County’s Energy Plan

Work Starts

On County’s

Energy Plan


ONEONTA – Now, the hard work begins.
What’s now called Otsego County 21-member “Energy Working Group” will convene for the first time at 5 p.m. Wednesday, Feb. 27, in Old City Hall.
And coming out of the Otsego County Chamber’s “Energy & Infrastructure Summit” two weeks ago at The Otesaga, the word  “compromise” is in the air.
“I don’t see compromise as being a dirty word,” said county Rep. Michele Farwell, who with Meg Kennedy, C-Mount Vision, is leading the effort. “I see compromise as being able to actually accomplish genuine movement forward. I feel that this is what my constituents look for in county government – getting the real work done.”
Still, they expect challenges. She and Kennedy both “noticed a pattern,” Farwell continued. “One side says, we need jobs. And the other side says, we need to protect the planet.”
All 21 members of the Energy Working Group – divided into four groups: Building & Efficiency, Energy Supply & Distribution, Economic Development, and Environment – are expected at the first meeting.
Also attending with be a group of “technical advisers,” from an engineer to a lawyer.
At this point, the timeline, according to Kennedy is that “the plan will be ready for SEQRA review in 18 months. Hopefully ready to adopt in roughly 24 months. An ambitious goal, but I think we can manage.”
After the initial meeting, each group will meet and select a leader who will keep a Leadership Group – Kennedy, Farwell, Oneonta Town Supervisor Bob Wood, City Engineer Greg Mattice and the OCCA’s Leslie Orzetti – apprised monthly on progress.
The Leadership Group will attend meetings on a regular basis, and continue with monthly groups.”




No, We Can’t Save World Alone; Yes, We Can Embrace Opportunity



No, We Can’t Save

World Alone; Yes, We Can

Embrace Opportunity

“Time is not on our side,” Cornell professor Tony Ingraffea tells the Otsego Chamber’s “Energy Summit” Thursday, Jan. 31, at The Otesaga. Listening at right is Rep. Meg Kennedy, R-Mount Vision, who announced members of a 21-member energy task force created by the Otsego County Board of Representatives. Next to her is Keith Schue, Cherry Valley, an engineer advising Otsego 2000.

The debate around here has appeared to be all about energy.
Listening to 19 content-rich, tightly packed presentations –
15 minutes, 15 minutes, 15 minutes – at the Otsego County Chamber of Commerce’s “Energy Summit: Infrastructure & Economy,” Thursday,
Jan. 31, at The Otesaga, you’d have come to a different conclusion.
The discussion’s all about jobs.
Energy is the means. Which can best produce jobs, gas or renewables? Ideally, both.
There were woeful predictions.
“Time is not on our side,” intoned Tony Ingraffea, the Cornell professor. (Better was his cool presentation on his ultra-efficient house near Ithaca. Add in the Norway firs his grad students have been planting for years, his family’s carbon footprint is “less than zero.”)
We know The Earth is under challenge. The question locally is, what is our role in fixing it? The numbers convincingly argue, not much. Otsego County is micro; the solution is macro.

Renewables are already creating more jobs than fossil fuels, Lou Allstadt reported. He provided a list that appears at left.

With 0.018 percent of the U.S. population (less than 2/100ths of one percent), and 0.00008 percent of the world’s (less than 1/100,000th of one percent), the fate of The Earth isn’t going to be decided between Richfield Springs and East Worcester.
This frees us to think about Otsego County, what we need today, and what the opportunities are in the near-to-
mid future.

Energywise, We Can Have It All: Natural Gas Now, Renewables Later

Energywise, We Can Have

It All: Natural Gas Now,

Renewables Later

Adrian Kuzminski, Fly Creek, Sustainable Otsego moderator, listens to Zagata. The two alternate a column in this newspaper every other week. In the background is Oneonta Town Board member Trish Riddell-Kent.

The Otsego County Chamber board and president deserve a heartfelt “thank you” for having the vision and courage to host the “Energy Summit.”
Speakers from New York and Pennsylvania talked about fossil fuels and renewables including biomass, ethanol, electric cars, wind, solar and geo-thermal. At the end of the day, it was clear that, although promising for the future, renewables are not currently capable of replacing or offsetting our demand for energy provided by fossil fuels.
That does not mean we should abandon our pursuit of alternative sources of energy that emit less carbon and are cost-competitive with fossil fuels.





Chamber’s Rubin: Exciting Information

Exchanged, But ‘Now The Work Begins’

Concerned Citizens of Oneonta’s Kate O’Donnell, the Hartwick College professor who organized an energy forum in Oneonta two weeks ago, was among today’s attendees. (Jim Kevlin/

By JIM KEVLIN • Special to


COOPERSTOWN – In the end, 170 – up from 125 a week ago, and 155 a couple of days ago – today listened for eight hours to presentations on the United States’ – and Otsego County’s – energy future from some of the most knowledgeable people in New York State.

The venue was the Otsego County Chamber of Commerce’s “Energy Summit:  Energy & The Economy,” which finished up in late afternoon in The Otesaga’s pretty-close-to-full ballroom.

When it was over, Al Rubin, chairman of the chamber’s board, and chamber President Barbara Ann Heegan both said they were pleased by the amount of information the 19 varied presenters delivered in mostly 15-minute segments between 9 a.m. and 5 p.m.

“This wasn’t about debate,” said Rubin.  “This was about listening to what other people had to say.  This event met and beat our expectations.”  But, he added, “The work begins now.”

Packed House At Otsego Chamber’s Energy Summit

Packed House At Otesaga

For Chamber Energy Summit

Scott White, left, Bank of Cooperstown president, listens as Al Rubin, Otsego County Chamber board president, welcomes 155 participants to today’s Otsego Chamber Energy Summit in The Otesaga’s ballroom in Cooperstown. The all-day summit includes a range of speakers, from NYSEG president Carl Taylor to Karen Bee, SUNY vice chancellor for Capital Projects, looking for a consensus balance between the county’s  economic development needs and environmental concerns. The event continues until 6 p.m. tonight. (Jim Kevlin/
150-Plus Head To Debates At Energy Summit

City of The Hills


Head To Debates
At Energy Summit

Jackson Jones, Oneonta, and mother Kristen head out on cross-country skis to go around Gilbert Lake during the annual Winter Fest on Saturday, Jan. 26.


It’s exploded like, well, a gusher.
The Otsego County Chamber of Commerce “Energy Summit” Thursday, Jan. 31, at The Otesaga has expanded from six to nine hours, and will include 19 speakers in an attempt to give everybody a chance to be heard.
As this edition went to press, Chamber Executive Barbara Ann Heegan said 155 people had registered.
Follow real-time reports throughout the day at

►A STATE TROOPER was wounded after exchanging gunfire with suspect after a car chase early yesterday evening on Route 17 in the Town of Kirkwood, south of Binghamton.
►A DOG PARK is the focus of a subcommittee of the city’s Operations, Planning and Evaluation committee, who will explore whether one should be added to the Neahwa Park Master Plan
►CONGRESSMAN DELGADO D-19th, announced he will serve as a member of the Small Business Committee.
►SCHENEVUS CENTRAL SCHOOL is one of only five school districts in New York State that are under “significant fiscal stress,” state Comptroller Tom DiNapoli reported.


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