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Energy and Climate

Tompkins County Energy Road Map

One of the ten new local measures identified in the Tompkins County 2020 Energy Strategy is to develop an Energy Road Map for the County.  An Energy Road Map is a proactive plan to meet the community’s long-term energy goals in the most effective and efficient means possible.  In the fall of 2011, four Cornell graduate students from the fields of management, engineering and planning began work to help the community better understand its energy resources.  This is the first step in creating the Energy Road Map.  Subsequent steps will include filling identified knowledge gaps, developing future energy scenarios, evaluating those scenarios, assisting the community in identifying a preferred scenario, and developing an action plan to achieve that preferred scenario. 

Final Graduate Student reports -- May 2012

Energy Supply and Demand in Tompkins County, New York, by Frank Nicklaus 

Wind:  A Technical Analysis of Wind Power Potential in Tompkins County, New York, by Benjamin Koffel  

Solar:  Solar Energy Generation Potential of Tompkins County, by Andrew Curthoys 

Biomass:  Tompkins County Energy Road Map, by Neyvin De Leon   

Graduate Student Presentations -- April 30, 2012 at the Tompkins County Public Library

Solar Power Potential in Tompkins County

Wind Power Potential in Tompkins County

Biomass Power Potential in Tompkins County

Electricity Supply and Demand in Tompkins County

EPA Climate Showcase Communities Grant -- Density that Works

Tompkins County in collaboration with EcoVillage at Ithaca, Center for Sustainability Education was awarded a United States Environmental Protection Agency Climate Showcase Communities grant to demonstrate and document how residential development modeled on the lessons learned from 20 years of developing EcoVillage at Ithaca could be applied to support the development of energy-efficient, livable residential neighborhoods and communities in a variety of smart growth locations.  This is the only residential smart growth project among the 50 supported by the Climate Showcase Communities program nationwide.

One of the projects to be developed under this program is a new neighborhood on 25.5 acres of land owned by Tompkins County.  Deadline for proposals is October 9, 2012.
- Press Release
- The Request for Proposals
- Link to Tompkins County Purchasing Dept.

Summary of Q&A period of the 8/27/2012 meeting held for developers during the RFP process.

Other documents produced under this grant include:
EcoVillage at Ithaca: Principles, Best Practices & Lessons Learned
Draft Pedestrian Neighborhood Regulations

Tompkins County 2020 Energy Strategy

The Tompkins County Legislature has adopted a goal of reducing greenhouse gas emissions in the community by at least 80% from 2008 levels by 2050.  The first step along that path is to achieve a 20% reduction by 2020.  The strategy for how this goal can be achieved was endorsed by the Legislature in September, 2010 and serves as a guide for energy and emissions work being done in the community. 

The conclusion of the Tompkins County 2020 Energy Strategy is that by proactively implementing programs and solutions to reduce energy use, it is possible for the Tompkins County community to reduce its greenhouse gas emissions 20% by 2020.  In order to do so, actions must be undertaken by all sectors of the community to reduce greenhouse gas emissions by 277,512 metric tons of carbon dioxide equivalent (MtCO2e) in order to achieve the target emissions in 2020 of 938,334 MtC02e; emissions that are 20% below 2008 levels. The strategies described in the document total 290,691 MtCO2e, or 5% over the required emissions reduction.

Tompkins County 2020 Energy Strategy

Progress Report -- Implementing the Tompkiins County 2020 Energy Strategy

Greenhouse Gas Emissions Reporting

In June 2010, reports were prepared for both the Tompkins County government and the overall community reviewing the past ten years of greenhouse gas emissions work.  These reports provide a succinct look at efforts to date to curb emissions and reduce energy use in County government operations and in the community at large.

Community 10-year GHG Emissions Report

County Government 10-year GHG Emissions Report

Tompkins County Planning Dept comments to NYSDEC regarding revised dSGEIS for development of Marcellus Shale

Comment Letter to NYSDEC 1/10/2012

Potential land area impacted by well drilling pads in Tompkins  County under densities of development that would be allowed under the dSGEIS.

Map showing 3 acre well pads at 40 acre intervals (pdf)

Map showing 5 acre well pads at 1 mile intervals (pdf)

Commissioner of Planning and Public Works, Ed Marx, makes presentation on Drilling for Natural Gas in the Marcellus Shale at New York State Association of Counties Conference - February 9, 2010 in Albany, NY.

Presentation on Drilling for Natural Gas in the Marcellus Shale at New York State Association of Counties Conference (pdf)

Energy and Greenhouse Gas Emissions Element

Final Element

On December 16, 2008, the Tompkins County Legislature approved an amendment to the County’s Comprehensive Plan to address the issue of energy and greenhouse gas emissions.  The amendment sets in motion a multi-faceted plan for the Tompkins County community to reduce energy demand, improve energy efficiency, make the transition to renewable sources of energy and reduce greenhouse gas emissions. Its goal is to reduce greenhouse gas emissions in the county by at least 2 percent of the 2008 level for each of the next 40 years, achieving at least an 80 percent reduction in greenhouse gas emissions by the year 2050.

We welcome your comments. Please send to:

Energy and Greenhouse Gas Emissions Element Receives Award
The New York Upstate Chapter of the American Planning Association awarded its 2009 Planning Excellence Award for Innovation in Sustainability to the Tompkins County Comprehensive Plan 2008 Amendment – Energy and Greenhouse Gas Emissions Element. The awards commitee noted that the element clearly articulates the goals of reducing energy demand, increasing efficiency, transitioning to renewables, and reducing greenhouse gas emissions.  Seventeen action items are identified to help the community achieve the stated goal of an 80% reduction in greenhouse gas emissions by 2050.

Municipal Tools for Addressing Potential Gas Drilling Impacts

Commercial Wind Farm Atlas

The Tompkins County Planning Department has put together information to support local government decision-makers as they consider the potential development of commercial wind farms in their municipalities.

Wind energy offers two primary environmental benefits: wind energy is a renewable energy source and it produces zero emissions. Wind farms also have potential negative environmental impacts: noise, visual, and degradation and fragmentation of habitat.

The Commercial Wind Farm Atlas contains information about areas that are technically better suited for the location of commercial wind farms; areas where development of commercial wind farms may interfere with community services; environmentally sensitive areas and scenic features; and agricultural and forested areas.

Local Action Plan to Reduce Greenhouse Gas Emission
In April 2001, Tompkins County joined the Cities for Climate Protection (CCP) Campaign, a project of the International Council on Local Environmental Initiatives. This action recognizes the need to address the global warming problem swiftly and effectively, and the County’s unique position to play a role. The CCP Campaign is a voluntary program for municipal governments to identify sources of greenhouse gas emissions within their jurisdictions and to implement actions to combat global warming at the local level.

The links below provide information on the steps that have been taken to further the County’s efforts in reducing its contribution to global warming:

PDFClimate Change and the Cities for Climate Protection Campaign Power Point Presentation

PDFLocal Action Plan to Reduce Greenhouse Gas Emissions for County Government Operations:  A plan to, by 2008, reduce the emissions of greenhouse gases generated by county operations by 20 percent compared to the base year of 1998.

PDFTompkins County Emissions Inventory:  An inventory of greenhouse gas emission for the Tompkins County Community and County Government.




Tompkins County
Planning Department

121 E. Court Street
Ithaca, New York 14850

Phone: (607) 274-5560  
Fax: (607) 274-5578

E-mail us