BY ARIEL HERNANDEZ
Earlier this week, the Queens Chamber of Commerce welcomed Governor Andrew Cuomo’s czar, Richard Kauffman, the chairman of Energy and Finance for New York, to Queens to talk about reforming the borough’s energy vision.
“Queens: 47 hotels being built, thousands of units of residential construction, office towers and planes, trains and ferries to get us where we’re going, and all of it needs energy,” said Tom Grech, executive director of the Queens Chamber of Commerce.
According to Grech, Queens is the fourth-largest metropolitan statistical area in the United States next to Los Angeles, Chicago and Brooklyn, and is one of the most diverse counties in America. He said that “the future energy needs will also be diverse.”
The energy-related networking event was sponsored by Lockheed Martin, a global security and aerospace company engaged in the research, design, development, manufacture, integration and sustainment of advanced technology systems, products and services; and the New York Affordable Reliable Electricity Alliance, a diverse coalition of New York business organizations, labor unions, independent energy experts, and community and environmental leaders. Also in attendance were Ken Daly, president of National Grid New York, and Matthew Ketschke of Con Edison, who spoke briefly about the revolution of energy in New York State.
Daly spoke about the Brooklyn/Queens Interconnect (BQI), a pipeline connecting the company’s existing distribution systems in Brooklyn and Queens, along with other projects that National Grid has in the works. Another thing he brought up was Energy Tech High School, located in Long Island City, which was created almost four years ago by National Grid and Con Ed and provides automatic employment within the two companies upon graduation.
“We have a huge commitment to Queens,” said Daly. “A lot of that is looking back. Today is about looking forward. I would like to discuss the new era of energy in the near future and come up with ways to bring clean energy to the customers we serve.”
Kauffman began his discussion about his vision for reforming energy by addressing the fact that the government’s partnership with Con Edison and National Grid in New York involves “meaningful change.”
“The utility industry is a regulated business, the business that provides reliable service for a very long time, but the world is changing and we’re asking for the utilities to change with the world, and it’s been a real challenge for the industry and for the government,” said Kauffman.
According to Kauffman, Cuomo has put forth a mandate for 50 percent of the state’s power to come from renewable sources by 2030, in addition to having a 40 percent emission reduction.
“We can’t achieve these objectives without addressing everything we see around us here in Queens: the buildings that already exist, the buildings that are going to be built, commercial and industrial, everything that we see,” said Kauffman. “We believe we can get more out of what we’ve already spent. We believe we can largely use the existing cost outlet to build a financially new energy system.”
Reach Ariel Hernandez at (718) 357-7400 x144 or firstname.lastname@example.org