Green Sanctuary - Working with SHARE

SHARE is the Sheridan Hollow Alliance for Renewable Energy.

SHARE mission and origin

SHARE seeks to stop the proposed Sheridan Hollow fossil fuel power plant that would burn fracked gas in two large turbines to generate both electricity and heat for the Empire State Plaza (accomplished! — see below), and to redirect the state funds dedicated to this project toward a renewable energy solution (partially done! — see below).  SHARE was formed in August 2017 with initial and ongoing participation by several Albany UU members. In October 2017, Albany UU’s Board of Trustees voted to endorse SHARE. Other environmental groups active in SHARE include Sane Energy Project, Food and Water Watch, and Citizen Action of New York.

SHARE benefits

Success of the SHARE mission will mean bringing environmental justice to the local community and putting the state on a better track towards its greenhouse gas emission reduction goals (with the Sheridan Hollow project as a shining example of what urgently needs to be done throughout the state). SHARE’s more immediate goal is to persuade the state to issue an open request for proposals for a renewable energy solution. A side benefit is establishing useful relationships with state legislators and agency officials, local government officials, and community leaders.

Developments

2019

  • On September 18, the state announced it was abandoning its plan for two massive fossil-fuel turbines and a microgrid in Sheridan Hollow. With that change, SHARE has achieved one of its major goals. Also announced were several significant, but incomplete, steps toward powering the Plaza with renewables, so there’s more work to be done. In a meeting held on September 24 between SHARE and state officials, more technical details were learned about the state’s plans, but perhaps most striking was a new attitude on the part of the state officials. They view this project as a step toward meeting the goals of the climate legislation passed by the legislature and signed by the governor in June, and they expressed willingness to continue dialog about additional steps for the Plaza project in that direction. For more details, see the October 3 post on sharealbany.org.
  • In July, the SHARE science team issued a comprehensive report the feasibility of meeting energy needs of the State Capitol and Empire State Plaza in Albany without fossil fuels.
  • A press conference was held by the Skidmore College students who adopted the Sheridan Hollow power plant issue as their focus, on Tuesday, April 23 at the Capitol. The students delivered a petition with more than 1,200 signatures urging the governor to stop the state’s power plant plan and seek renewable energy solutions instead.
  • SHARE participated in an Environmental and Climate Justice forum on April 13.
  • The state budget approved by the legislature and governor on April 1 included the appropriation of $88 million for for an “efficient energy system” to meet the needs of the Empire State Plaza and directed that it “operate to the extent possible on renewable energy.” All mentions of fossil-fuels in previous versions of the budget bill were eliminated, perhaps signaling the end of the state’s plans for a gas combustion-based power plant. At the time, however, there was still concern that the wording of the budget bill might have left some leeway for the state to try to stick to its original plan with only minor accommodations for renewable energy.

2018

  • The December 9, 2018 Sunday service at Albany UU included a Give-Away-the-Plate for SHARE. Merton Simpson, Albany County Legislator for the district that includes Sheridan Hollow, spoke about both the climate change and the environmental justice issues of the proposed power plant, and the congregation responded generously in support of SHARE.
  • SHARE helped get signatures of over forty state legislators on a letter urging the governor to pursue an alternative to fossil fuels. SHARE also got the legislature to amend the language of the appropriation for the power plant in the 2018-19 budget to include the possibility of operating on renewable energy.
  • SHARE activism and technical research helped persuade the state to pause the fossil fuel project schedule in February 2018 and to meet with geothermal experts in April 2018.

See also: sharealbany.org