Working With SHARE

SHARE is the Sheridan Hollow Alliance for Renewable Energy

SHARE seeks to convert the Capitol complex (Capitol, Empire State Plaza, and other nearby state facilities) to 100 percent renewable energy.  In addition to reducing greenhouse gas and other emissions, locally and as a shining example of what needs to be done throughout the state, this transition will finally address a major environmental injustice in Albany's Sheridan Hollow neighborhood.


For over a hundred years, the neighborhood has been burdened by pollution from facilities on Sheridan Avenue that have burned coal, oil, gas, and even garbage to pump steam through a tunnel to heat and cool the Capitol complex. With initial and ongoing participation by Albany UU members, SHARE was organized in 2017 after the state announced a plan that would have increased pollution in the Sheridan Hollow neighborhood even further, by adding two massive gas turbines to produce both heat and electric power for the Capitol complex.

Graphic showing Power/Steam Plant polluting Sheridan Hollow to benefit Empire State Plaza

SHARE stronglyand successfully! (see below)opposed the states plan with activism, community outreach, and scientific analysis that exposed its flaws.

But theres much more to be done. SHARE is doing a number of activities to mobilize community members and climate activists to push the Governor and the Legislature to pass the Renewable Capital Act (see below). The GST has signed on to a letter SHARE prepared that encourages Governor Hochul to include the act in her next Executive Budget. When SHARE more widely releases the letter in a press conference, Albany UU members will be asked to show support at the event. Stay tuned!

A side benefit to Albany UU members of working with SHARE is establishing useful relationships with state legislators and agency officials, local government officials, and community leaders.


More about SHARE and Albany UU member involvement

Following SHAREs initial organization and activism, Albany UU’s Board of Trustees voted to endorse SHARE in October 2017. In 2018, SHARE activism helped persuade the state to pause the fossil fuel project schedule in February and to meet with geothermal experts in April.  In response to SHARE’s Freedom of Information requests, the state admitted it had done no analysis of renewable energy alternatives to its plan.  SHARE worked with state legislators, resulting in redirecting the plan’s funding allocation toward a system that would operate to the extent possible on renewable energy. All mentions of fossil fuels in previous versions of the budget bill were eliminated.

Photo of SHARE activists, including several GST members, demonstrating in front of Steam Plant.

The December 9, 2018 Sunday service at Albany UU included a Give-Away-the-Plate for SHARE. Merton Simpson, Albany County Legislator for the district that includes Sheridan Hollow, spoke about both the climate change and the environmental justice issues of the proposed power plant, and the congregation responded generously in support of SHARE.

In July 2019, the SHARE science team issued a comprehensive report showing the feasibility of meeting energy needs of the Capitol complex without fossil fuels.

Graphic showing two gas turbines with large X's over them.

Finally, in September, 2019, the state announced it was abandoning its plan for the two massive fossil-fuel turbines in Sheridan Hollow, a major victory for SHARE. Also announced were several significant, but incomplete, steps toward powering the Capitol complex with renewables.

The key to conversion to one hundred percent renewable energy, and finally enabling shutdown of the steam boilers polluting Sheridan Hollow, is heating and cooling the Capitol complex with geothermal energy. Rather than burning fossil fuels to create heat, a geothermal system retrieves heat from air, ground, or water sources and compresses it. The process also works in reverse for cooling.

Photo showing the state legislators and SHARE members at a press conference in the Capitol.

SHARE has worked with state legislators Pat Fahy, John McDonald, and Neil Breslin to introduce and promote the Renewable Capital Act, which requires that all operations that power, heat and cool the Capitol complex must be run on renewable energy systems, such as wind, solar, geothermal, and hydro. Although the RCA gained many sponsors in the Assembly and Senate, unfortunately it was not brought to a vote in either the 2022 or 2023 legislative sessions.

In November 2022, SHARE co-leaders Ruth Foster and Merton Simpson presented a public forum highlighting the Renewable Capitol Act at Albany UU, hosted by the Green Sanctuary Team. They also discussed SHARE’s environmental justice goals within the community, including shutdown of the gas-powered Sheridan Avenue Steam Plant and, joined in the forum by local geothermal expert John Ciavacco, deploying district geothermal, an approach to heating and cooling that can stretch across many homes and businesses.

Graphic including photo of Steam Plant area in Sheridan Hollow with caption, "Local EJ Action for a Climate in Crisis."

There is much more information about these goals and activities on SHARE's website,