Council to meet with industry leaders to discuss future energy-efficient products that will be tested in City buildings

March 25, 2011 – Speaker Christine Quinn and Council Member Michael Nelson will meet with the Municipal Entrepreneurial Testing System’s (METS) Advisory Committee today for the first time to kick-off a program that will allow energy efficiency products to be tested in city-owned buildings.

The new program, first announced in Speaker Quinn’s 2010 State of the City Speech, will help clean tech companies pilot their new technologies in New York City. The program will allow tech startup companies to test products like smart meters and renewable energy technologies in a city-owned building. This real-world testing is a necessary step before marketing a final product. M.E.T.S. has the potential to allow these companies to get to market quicker so that they can start creating jobs for the New Yorkers who manufacture, sell and install the new technologies.

“Aspiring entrepreneurs here in New York City have told us time and time again that they want to bring their products to market, but there are too many hurdles,” said Speaker Christine C. Quinn. “One of those major hurdles – that at times, can prevent startups from firmly getting off the ground – is having a place to test their products in a real world environment. By allowing companies to test in city buildings, could mean the City helping turn one person’s dream into a reality.”

Frequently, before a company is able to secure venture capital funding, they have to test it in real world conditions to prove its functionality – what is otherwise known as “beta-testing.” And without the adequate space or funding, that company could lose that opportunity either because of insufficient resources or because another company, with a similar idea, went to the market first.

“The prospect of bringing in new companies and industries to New York City and at the same time lessening our dependence on Wall Street is certainly worthy of exploring and the M.E.T.S program will allow us to do just that,” said Council Member Michael Nelson. “I commend Speaker Quinn in her dedication to creating more jobs for New Yorkers and helping new businesses flourish in our city.”

Speaker Quinn and Council Member Nelson will meet with the City and the committee specifically to finalize the request-for-proposals for the application process. Subsequently, the Speaker and Council Member Nelson will continue to meet with the City and the committee in the future to recommend applicants and their energy-efficient products.

“This partnership is making City government a laboratory for new ideas that could spark our local green economy,” said Department of Citywide Administrative Services Commissioner Edna Wells Handy. “We are eager to find innovative products that can help us achieve the City’s goal of driving down city government’s greenhouse gas emissions 30 percent by 2017.”

The committee members will include individuals from academia, building owners, energy product companies and the energy industry.

The Advisory Committee will be chaired by Robert B. Catell, Chairman of the Advanced Energy Research and Technology Center (AERTC) at New York State University at Stony Brook.

“I’m honored to be leading this innovative program that will give entrepreneurs in the energy industry the support they need,” said Robert B. Catell. “I look forward to working with the Council and other energy and tech leaders. It’ll be a formidable task, sorting through what I believe will be creative and groundbreaking products – but one that I am excited about. I want to thank Speaker Quinn for seeing an unused resource and turning it into an opportunity.”

Other members of the committee include: New York University, Columbia University, City University of New York, New York State Energy Research and Development Authority, Polytechnic Institute of New York University, Real Estate Board of New York, Vornado Realty Trust, Related Companies, Arup, Atelier Ten, ConEdison, Rudin Management, New York City Investment Fund, Trust Element, and Spectrum Personal Communications.