Beacon event to explore alternative energy’s potential

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Rapidly-evolving technology and powerful incentives are driving a massive investment in alternative fuels and energy sources. As the green-friendly Biden administration is eager to supercharge efforts to displace coal, oil and natural gas, the next few years present new opportunities for solar, wind and hydrogen. 

Already in the Rochester region:

• Numerous solar projects are popping up—one Southern Tier county is currently reviewing nine separate community-scale and utility-scale projects.

• Powerful support from Albany is spurring interest in offshore wind.

• Hydrogen fuel cells, under development for decades and invaluable sources of power in niche stationary applications, are gaining new attention as a possible source of power for electric vehicles. Plug Power and Hyzon have announced major investments in hydrogen in our region.

This month, the Rochester Beacon will hold a virtual event focused on the potential that alternative fuels and energy development holds for the Rochester region. Canandaigua National Bank & Trust is sponsoring the April 21 event, “Alternative Energy: Potential for the Rochester Region,” slated for noon to 1 p.m., live on Zoom. The event is free to attend, but registration is required.

Three local experts will take part in the online forum:

■ Daniel O’Connell is the Giga Factory/Innovation Center manager at Plug Power. He was co-founder of American Fuel Cell, established in 2013 after General Motors closed its fuel cell research facility in Honeoye Falls. AFC was acquired by Plug Power in 2018. He will oversee the expansion of Plug Power’s existing Innovation Center and the development of a “green hydrogen” operation at the STAMP facility in Genesee County.

■ Kathy Spencer, principal environmental analyst at LaBella Associates, brings over 30 years of experience in environmental analysis and compliance. She has become a sought-after resource for her expertise with renewable energy projects, with particular experience in siting new-generation projects under New York’s Section 94-c siting law.

■ Ross Gould is vice president for supply chain with Business Network for Offshore Wind. He joined the Business Network in 2020 and oversees its growth and evolution of the offshore wind supply chain as well as the offshore wind industry’s workforce development. His responsibilities include designing, developing, and coordinating the Business Network’s Northeast Corridor strategy and planning, policy and regulatory engagement.

Moderator for the event will be Kent Gardner, Rochester Beacon opinion editor and chief economist at the Center for Governmental Research.

To attend this free event, register now.

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