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The predecessor to the Pace Energy and Climate Center, the Pace Energy Project, was founded in 1987 by Dean Emeritus Richard L. Ottinger upon his retirement from the U.S. House of Representatives. His goal was to promote economic and equitable alternatives to the world’s growing dependence on traditional fuels. The Energy Project’s groundbreaking research from the early 1990s, The Environmental Cost of Electricity, highlighted the environmental and human health costs associated with the production and delivery from fossil- and nuclear-powered generation. This study led to the development of policies to include these "externalities" in resource allocation decisions and thus placed non-emitting and renewable power alternatives on more equal footing with conventional generation options.
During its twenty-year history, the Center has been active in utility regulatory matters in the Mid-Atlantic and Northeast regions, and developed a reputation as one of the nation’s leading sustainable energy research organizations. By conducting cutting edge legal and policy analysis, combined with effective outreach in achieving necessary market and regulatory reforms supportive of renewable energy, energy efficiency and clean distributed generation, the Center has been a major force for the “greening” of the power sector, humankind’s most environmentally significant industry.
With the convergence of energy and environmental issues and the public’s recognition of the impact of energy production and usage on climate change, this is an exciting time for the Pace Energy and Climate Center. The recent change in name to the Energy and Climate Center more accurately reflects the Center’s longstanding commitment to reducing the environmental impacts of producing and using energy through clean, efficient and renewable alternatives, and to addressing the barriers to clean energy technologies. While many entities today are claiming “climate” expertise, the Center has been working in these areas for twenty years. Energy policy has always been about impacts on the climate. Now that people are talking about climate, they’re talking about energy.
Given the Center’s extensive experience in energy and environmental matters, we are in a strong position to help shape policy on climate change while giving Pace students outstanding opportunities to gain experience in addressing this critical issue. The key priorities in our future strategy involve the following elements:
Leveraging our deep technical experience into effective participation in shaping energy policies in regulatory and planning proceedings. We are known throughout the region as “pragmatic environmentalists.” We bring our technical and research expertise to bear on the issues we address in various regulatory and planning proceedings. That is a unique strength of the Center – a combination of technical and research strength and effective policy outreach – which allows us to make meaningful contributions in solving energy and environmental issues and addressing climate change.
Building upon our existing technical strengths in Combined Heat and Power and Distributed Generation, and expanding the geographic scope of our policy, education and outreach efforts. The Center has deep technical experience with CHP and DG through our work with the Northeast Regional CHP Applications Center and the Northeast CHP Initiative. This work gives us practical knowledge of industry issues, and exposure throughout the Northeast. We have an opportunity to leverage these technical strengths to achieve successes in the regulatory arena in identifying and breaking down the regulatory barriers that prevent more widespread use of CHP and clean DG technologies.
Continuing to participate in the shaping of policies to regulate and reduce greenhouse gas emissions. Through our participation in the development and design of the Northeast RGGI – the nation’s first mandatory program to cap power sector emissions – we are in a strong position to shape policies to regulate GHG on a regional and national level. We will continue to participate in RGGI efforts, and hope to participate in the national debate, as the RGGI program will serve as a potential model and impetus for a federal carbon reduction program.
Expanding our expertise in biofuels and transportation-related issues. We recently developed expertise in biofuels, through our work for NYSERDA in performing a comprehensive literature review and meta analysis of liquid biofuels for transportation and heating. Our work summarized the range of current understanding, and gave us the necessary expertise to enable effective participation in the shaping of our state, region, and nation.