At the close of 2008, the only thing rebellious about Tiger Woods was his signature red shirt and the only scandal surrounding Michael Phelps was his endorsement of Frosted Flakes over Wheaties. Thankfully, Long Island’s reputation for green initiatives hasn’t gone down quite the same way in ’09.
January 18—“Today, I announce one of the most ambitious clean energy goals in America. By 2015, New York will meet 45 percent of its electricity needs through improved energy efficiency and clean renewable energy. Now is the time for us to change how NY uses energy. Now is the time for NY to take an energetic step toward shaping our future.” —Governor Paterson said announcing his “45 by 15” program during his inaugural speech.
March 3—Suffolk unanimously passes landmark legislation, the first of its kind in the US, banning bisphenol-A from baby bottles and sippy cups.
March 23—Energy secretary Steven Chu visits Brookhaven Lab and announces funding for an electron storage ring that will harvest solar energy.
March 23—LIPA & ConEd announce plans for a 770 MW offshore wind farm in the Rockaways–largest in the US.
April 13—Plans nixed for Broadwater floating gas terminal in the LI Sound. The government ruled its “adverse coastal impacts outweighed its national interest.”
April 15—Molloy College launches it’s Sustainability Institute, LI’s first-ever venture combining sustainability education and policy analysis within an academic institution.
April 21—King Kullen’s Oceanside location earns the U.S. Green Building Council Gold LEED Certification, becoming the first supermarket on LI and in NYS to achieve the honor. The supermarket saves enough energy in one year to power more than 30 homes.
May 21—Recession Garden Legislation announced allowing food stamps to be used in the purchase of seeds and plants at supermarkets.
May 26—North Hempstead becomes the first LI town to establish an unwanted pharmaceutical drop-off site to keep prescription drugs out of the water supply.
May 29—Huntington launches a hybrid postal vehicle pilot project, a first step in bringing fuel-efficient vehicles to the postal service.
June 2—Farmingdale State College announces creation of Green Building Institute to train future green building architects, engineers and construction workers on LI.
June 3—Oneworld Energy Inc. of Canada, an emerging leader in wind and solar power installations, announces plans to open a US headquarters on Route 110 in Melville—Long Island’s Smart Energy Corridor.
August 11—Caithness LI Energy Center begins commercial operations. The 350-megawatt power generation facility in Yaphank becomes LI’s cleanest and most efficient power plant.
August 26—Stony Brook Hospital partners with EPA, a first for any hospital in the US, to reduce the hospital’s environmental footprint.
August 27—Stony Brook University partners with The Riverhead Foundation to facilitate the exchange of research and provide students with hands-on learning in marine animal rehabilitation.
September 10—Green Jobs-Green New York Act passes in the NYS Assembly unanimously, and will retrofit one million homes and small businesses across NYS in five years, create approximately 14,250 permanent jobs and save households up to 40% on their energy bills. It will be the biggest residential efficiency program in the country.
October 15—Nassau County announces that all 1,600 county-operated intersections will be outfitted with energy-efficient LED traffic signals, saving energy and an estimated $1 million per year.
October 22—LI’s first hydrogen fueling station is unveiled In Hempstead, dispensing pure hydrogen and compressed natural gas.
November 18—EPA Approves No Discharge Zone for South Shore Estuary, requiring all boat sewage be discharged at equipped pump-out facilities.
November 24—LI awarded federal funding for Smart-Energy Corridor. The project aims to equip 800 businesses and homes along the high-traffic Route 110 with energy-efficient smart meters.
December 3—LI Green Homes & Building Consortium formed. Eight towns ban together to apply for millions in federal clean energy money.
December 14—Stony Brook University named leader of NY Energy Policy Institute, a consortium to coordinate the work of NYS’s leading energy research centers.
December 17—Ending ‘09 with a bang, LIPA approves the purchase of solar power, for the creation of the largest solar farm in the US. “While our leaders are debating what we should be doing in Cophenhagen, we are about to take steps that will put LI on the map internationally as a leader in the field of renewable energy,” said LIPA president Kevin Law.