By Delen Goldberg
Syracuse, NY (October 13, 2009)- Gov. David Paterson came to North Syracuse today to sign a “Green Jobs/Green New York” bill, which will provide loans to homeowners, businesses and non-profit groups to pay for energy-saving repairs. The program is expected to create 14,000 jobs statewide because demand for contractors is expected to increase.
The state Energy Research and Development Authority will administer the program, which will provide revolving loans of up to $13,000 for middle-class homeowners and up to $26,000 for small business owners. Owners will pay back their loan from money they save on utility bills. Repayment is expected to be automatically deducted from utility bills. NYSERDA already offers several other weatherization programs for middle- and low-income New Yorkers.
Money for the program will come from the auction of carbon emission credits through the Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative. The program will cost taxpayers nothing and will not be subject to state budget cuts, NYSERDA officials said.
The details of the program – income eligibility, distribution of money and application procedures- are still being worked out. Job training is expected to start immediately, but retrofits for property owners likely won’t begin for another six months. Still, lawmakers, labor officials, and environmental advocates hailed the bill. It will help the environment, provide people with jobs and save property owners money, they said.
“The Green Jobs/Green New York program will help Upstate tremendously by reducing energy costs for homeowners and creating thousands of permanent, well-paying jobs,” said Sen. David Valesky, D-Oneida. “This is the kind of creative thinking we need – combining job creation with environmentally-friendly initiatives – that will help jumpstart the Upstate New York economy.”
Paterson was joined by Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver, bill sponsor Sen. Darrel Aubertine and half a dozen other state and local lawmakers. The group met at the state Weatherization Directors Association training center, which prepares people for jobs in weatherization and retrofitting.
Paterson also announced $7 million in funding from the state Office of Temporary and Disability Assistance to help counties launch “Green Jobs Corps” programs. Local departments of social services will use the money to provide “green” job training for low-income and public assistance residents.
Here’s how it works:
* The program will be funded with revenue raised by the auction of carbon emission credits through the Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative. This funding will be used to leverage private and federal investments. The bill allocates $112 million from these auctions to NYSERDA. Auctions of carbon emission credits over the last two years raised $126 million, with an estimated $75 million more expected in the next two auctions this year alone.
* NYSERDA will establish a revolving loan program to provide up to $13,000 per residential customer to retrofit a home, and up to $26,000 to retrofit each qualifying business, and also conduct energy audits, program administration and a credit enhancement for critical private sector capital investments.
* In partnership with the Department of Labor, NYSERDA will also create workforce training programs throughout the state to ensure that the state’s workforce is highly trained and in place to handle mass-scale retrofitting.
* The program will front the cost of the work, enabling property owners to afford energy efficient retrofits. Although property owners will repay the full cost over time, their total energy usage will be reduced by 30-40%, and the loan payment on their energy bill will be less than what they saved, yielding a net saves to the property owner.
* Local contractors, certified to perform the retrofits will be able to expand their crews, creating new and permanent jobs in green construction and additional jobs in local businesses and manufacturing that serve those new workers.
* Loans will be eligible to home and business owners in rural and urban communities throughout the state, from Watertown to Montauk and Buffalo to Albany.
Green Jobs/Green New York
New York State job training or “green” work opportunities
New York State existing weatherization programs
Energy Research and Development Authority
Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative
Syracuse Post-Standard- Gov. David Paterson signs Green Jobs Bill