Workshop Summary

In the spring of 2012, Beacon Institute convened a workshop, made possible by the New York State Energy Research and Development Authority (NYSERDA), to define and target specific recommendations and prioritizations for the environmentally-sound development of hydrokinetic energy in New York State. 60 respected leaders in the fields of policy, science, engineering and environment; state and federal regulators; and renewable energy industry professionals participated in the workshop, held at the New York State Judicial Institute on the Pace University campus in White Plains, New York.

Beacon Institute was lead entity for the workshop, working with the Pace Energy and Climate Center, Pace University Law School; Pace Academy for Applied Environmental Studies, Pace University; Verdant Power, Inc., and Ocean Renewable Energy Coalition (OREC) for its development and execution.

Workshop Background

New York State environmental policy for hydrokinetic power is as of yet underdeveloped as hydrokinetic is relatively new to the overall landscape of energy production. Regulators and developers have had to rely on a patchwork of policies based on more traditional modes of energy production to inform their decision-making process; transferability of existing policy to hydrokinetic power is not consistent.

The overarching goal of the New York State Hydrokinetic Generation Environmental Policy Workshop was to learn from New York State’s environmental history, taking a critical look at existing environmental policies with regards to the potential for large-scale commercialization of hydrokinetic power generation. The workshop presented a timely opportunity to plan ahead, address environmental policy in advance, plan pro-actively – not reactively – preparing now for future large-scale hydrokinetic energy development in New York State.

In the 21st century, we are faced with the necessity for developing alternative non-polluting energy sources. Though each technology has its environmental challenges, establishing efficient, creative and intelligent environmental policy can lessen their impact on ecosystems, allow for the development of renewable hydrokinetic energy, and set the framework for addressing future energy needs of New York State.