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Post date: May 3 2004

Funds From Clean Air Act Case To Help Local Governments Install Solar Energy Systems

Attorney General Spitzer and New York State Energy Research and Development Authority (NYSERDA) President Peter Smith today announced the availability of $1.8 million for the installation of solar energy systems on government buildings throughout New York State. The funding results from a court-approved settlement of a Clean Air Act lawsuit against coal-fired power plants owned by the Virginia Electric Power Company (VEPCO).

"Solar projects produce electricity on hot, sunny days when demand for power is greatest," said Attorney General Spitzer. "Projects funded through these settlements have the potential to reduce air pollution from fossil-fuel power plants, boost solar energy in New York and reduce electricity costs to local governments."

NYSERDA President Peter Smith said: "Governor Pataki has made New York State a national leader in the fight for clean air, adopting the most stringent power plant emission standards in the country and working with Attorney General Spitzer to protect our air quality from pollutants blowing into New York from other states. The Governor is also a leader in promoting the use of clean, renewable energy resources throughout the state to improve our environment and lessen New York's dependence on foreign fuel. This settlement will help us accomplish these goals, and potentially save the state's taxpayers millions of dollars in energy costs, by installing clean solar energy systems on government buildings throughout the state."

In July 2000, Spitzer together with Connecticut, New Jersey and the federal Environmental Protection Agency sued VEPCO for violating the federal Clean Air Act. The lawsuit alleged that VEPCO modified its Mt. Storm, West Virginia coal-fired power plant in violation of the Clean Air Act, resulting in increased emissions of nitrogen oxides and sulfur dioxide that contribute to acid rain in New York.

The settlement of that lawsuit, which was approved by a federal judge in Virginia in October 2003 requires VEPCO to invest approximately $1.2 billion over 12 years to reduce sulfur dioxide and nitrogen oxide emissions at eight coal-fired power plants by about 70 percent from 2000 levels; pay $5.3 million in penalties to the federal government and provide $13.9 million to fund environmental projects, of which $2.1 million goes to New York to install solar energy equipment on municipal buildings in the state. NYSERDA will be paid $297,000 to administer the projects and for independent review and inspection of the project systems.

Counties, cities, towns or villages, or departments, agencies, educational institutions or corporations of those municipalities, are eligible for funding under this program. The solar systems must be installed on buildings or on land that is owned or leased by these entities.

For a full description of the eligibility requirements for this program and to obtain the Program Opportunity Notice, visit www.nyserda.org, or contact NYSERDA's Program Manager, Jeff Peterson, toll free at 1-866-697-3732.