March 5, 2013 | CUNY School of Law
This past summer, Nick Widzowski (’14) spent much of his internship with New York City Councilmember James Gennaro researching and drafting a bill that would make it easier for property owners to locate and access information on adopting renewable energy systems.
On Monday, February 25, that work culminated in Mayor Michael Bloomberg signing the bill into law, which requires the creation of a New York City Renewable Energy Portal. This website will essentially act as a clearinghouse for all the information property owners might need to acquire and install renewable energy systems, such as solar panels or geothermal technology, in their homes or businesses. Read the text of the law.
“Renewable energy initiatives should be simple and accessible for everyday New Yorkers as they seek to cut energy costs and reduce greenhouse emissions,” Gennaro said. “This web portal will be a streamlined and easy-to-navigate resource to study the feasibility and economic benefits of renewable energy initiatives to fight climate change.”
Reflecting on his research for the bill’s draft, Widzowski said he discovered that “There was no central location for this kind of information. You essentially had to go on a wild goose chase through Google to find all the information you needed.”
The bill, which Widzowski helped to draft in conjunction with Gennaro’s staff, was part of the Councilmember’s work as the chair of the Council’s Environmental Protection Committee.
The NYC Renewable Energy Portal will help property owners find contractors, determine what kind of permits are needed, learn about tax incentives they might be eligible for, and more. It will also include a cost-calculator so that property owners weigh the costs and benefits of installing renewable energy systems.
“Too often, great government programs with a lot of potential are hobbled by the fact that so few people know how to take advantage of them,” Widzowski said. “Now, New Yorkers will have a one-stop shop for everything they want to know about how to make sustainable technology work for them. I thank Councilmember Gennaro for giving me the opportunity to work on such a tremendous project, and CUNY Law for honing my legal writing skills as well as galvanizing my passion for progressive causes.”