Human Rights Radio

Episode 3: Local Power in the Hudson Valley (58 mins 30 secs)

*This program originally aired on Robin Hood Radio on Friday, April 18th, 2014*

Today’s show is an hour-long interview with Susan H. Gillespie and Jen Metzger, Co-founders of Citizens for Local Power in Rosendale, New York, with additional commentary by Dr. Mara Ranville.

Susan H. Gillespie is Vice President for Special Global Initiatives at Bard College. A noted translator from German to English, Gillespie has published translations of works by philosopher Theodor W. Adorno and poet Paul Celan, among others. For further information please visit: and

Jen Metzger is a member of the Town Council of Rosendale, with an educational background in government and public policy. She served as Chair of the Town’s Environmental Commission for the past six years, as Commission liaison to the Planning Board for the past three years, as Deputy Town Supervisor from November 2011 until January 2013, and as a member of the Zoning Code Review Committee since it was formed in 2008. She holds a Ph.D. in political science from Rutgers University.

Dr. Mara Ranville is an environmental toxicologist who specializes in the biogeochemical cycling of contaminants in the environment, the examination of industrial emissions to the atmosphere and aquatic systems, and the policy implications of cross-border transport of pollution.


Quick definitions of selected terms mentioned during the interview:

What is Community Choice Aggregation? 

Community Choice Aggregation allows cities and counties to aggregate the buying power of individual customers within a defined jurisdiction in order to secure alternative energy supply contracts on a community-wide basis, but allowing consumers not wishing to participate to opt-out. Also known as “Municipal Aggregation” and “Community Aggregation. Check out California’s Community Choice Aggregation fact sheet

What is Virtual Net Metering?

Virtual Net Energy Metering (VNM) is a tariff arrangement that enables a multi-meter property owner to allocate a solar system’s energy credits to other tenants.  The VNM tariffs were first piloted under the CSI Multi-family Affordable Solar Housing Program (MASH) as a means of providing equal and direct benefits of the solar system to low income tenants in an affordable housing complex. Read more here

What is the NYISO?

The New York Independent System Operator (NYISO) is at the heart of New York State’s electric system, operating the high-voltage transmission network, administering and monitoring the wholesale electricity markets, and planning for the state’s energy future. The NYISO is responsible for the reliable operation of New York’s nearly 11,000 miles of high-voltage transmission and the dispatch of over 500 electric power generators. In addition, the NYISO administers bulk power markets that trade an average of $7.5 billion in electricity and related products annually.

What is distributed generation?

Distributed generation means generating electricity from many small energy sources, close to area that will use it. Renewable kinds of distributed generation include solar panels, wind turbines, waste-to-energy (like using sewage to make biofuel, for instance) READ MORE

Federal,  State, and Local Government agencies and  resources:

The most recent climate change report from the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) is available here.

The Federal Energy Regulation Commission (FERC) divides New York State into 11 zones. See  here for a map.

New York State DRAFT 2014 Energy Plan

Ulster County Supervisors’ Association website

Two New York State Energy, Research and Development Authority (NYSERDA) projects are mentioned:  Green Jobs Program and the  Unified Solar Permit Program

Minutes of the Joint New Paltz Village and Town Meeting, March 18 2013, in which the cost of distribution to the landfill solar project is determined to be $422,000.

The New York Independent System Operator’s “Goldbook”

Further readings, reference materials:

For a comparative study of alternative energy policies in Europe, click here.

For a study on the various fuel sources of electricity in the United States and their comparative CO2 emissions, click here

The Union of Concerned Scientists has published a helpful report on natural gas and how it works.

A review by Stanford and MIT researchers, examining more than 200 earlier studies confirms that U.S. emissions of methane are considerably higher than official estimates. Leaks from the nation’s natural gas system are an important part of the problem. This finding has important implications for natural gas as a possible replacement fuel for coal.

The Economist (Jan 10 2014) Fossil-fuel subsidies: The green-growth twofer

You can read more about the Trans-Pacific Partnership Agreement and US export possibilities for natural gas:

Office of the U.S. Trade Representative’s website 

Sierra Club’s fact-sheet on the TPP and natural gas

Wikileaks’ Secret Trans-Pacific Partnership Agreement (TPP) – Environment Chapter

The US Department of Energy (’s Natural Gas Regulation

Reuters (Mar 25, 2014)  U.S. lawmakers mull speedier gas exports to help Ukraine, Europe

A useful chart of US natural gas exports by country, 2008-2013

For a comprehensive overview of the potential repercussions of introducing a new capacity zone in New York State see the following:

NYISO’s New Capacity Zone: Impact Analysis

Central Hudson Capacity Zone Fact Sheet

Poughkeepsie Journal Article

NY Senator Schumer’s Report

To contact Citizens For Local Power, email: [email protected]



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