Governor Andrew M. Cuomo has upped New York State’s game per the Clean Energy Standard. The New York State Public Service Commission (PSC) has announced that it is “refocusing” its regulatory and procurement structure to better achieve its goals laid out in the Climate Leadership and Community Protection Act (CLCPA). This allows the State to issue Request for Proposals for renewable power generation sources that will:
- Set a faster and clearer course for the “70 percent renewable electricity by 2030 mandate”
- Set a trajectory to a zero-emission power sector by 2040
“We do not have time to waste in the fight against climate change and New York continues to lead by advancing the most aggressive policies in the nation to slow the warming of the planet,” Governor Cuomo said. “With this expansion of our Clean Energy Standard, we are further accelerating the State’s historic efforts to grow our onshore and offshore renewable capacity, and create thousands of good-paying clean energy jobs for New Yorkers that will power our economic recovery, while also ensuring a large share of the benefits go to communities and workers that have been historically disadvantaged.”
This action implements the CLCPA requirements that the PSC establish a program to increase the use of renewable energy in the State from 50 percent to 70 percent by 2030 and increase the use of offshore wind from 2,400 MW by 2030 to 9,000 MW by 2035.
What this all boils down to is the “decarbonization of the generation sector and the electrification of other sectors.” For far too long, dated energy company practices and lobbying efforts have been dragging New York State, and the rest of the country, down unsustainable roads. This has led to a country that is still far behind when it comes to combatting greenhouse gases.
PSC Chairman John B. Rhodes said, “Governor Cuomo’s visionary climate and energy legislation and New York’s need for a just, clean, resilient and affordable energy system require us to build smart, economic renewable energy at greater scale and at a much faster pace. This comprehensive and ambitious plan delivers on those goals and will enable all needed kinds of renewable energy to reach all New Yorkers.”
The State is calling upon the energy sector to step up efforts to achieve the goals. To that end, NYSERDA has made a $70 million commitment to fund clean energy workforce development programs that will lead to training initiatives, job creation, and community empowerment.
Previously, shortsightedness on the behalf of the energy sector has meant that New Yorkers have been dealing with status quo and business as usual tactics for far too long. Now, really for the first time, there is a wake up call for this industry to research and invest in clean energy options, that will ultimately lead to enhanced economic development, job creation, healthy competition, and hopefully a more habitable planet.
The initiative approved by the PSC includes the following:
- Implements key provisions in the CLCPA related to securing 70 percent renewable energy by 2030, including defining renewable energy technology eligibility and the amount of renewable energy needed to meet New York’s goal, identifies annual procurement targets for the Tier 1 large-scale renewable energy program adopted under the CES, and recommends changes to the existing Tier 1 procurement processes;
- Sets targets for offshore wind renewable energy intended to meet the requirement of securing nine gigawatts of offshore wind by 2035;
- Creates a new methodology for extending Tier 1 renewable energy eligibility to renewable energy facilities that undergo repowering;
- Creates a competitive five-year Tier 2 program under the CES to preserve existing renewable baseline generation to support the 70 x 30 goal;
- Creates a new Tier 4 large-scale renewable program to specifically value environmental attributes associated with renewable energy delivered into New York City that will be in addition to annual Tier 1 procurement targets; and
- Creates tangible approaches to ensure that the State’s renewable energy programs provide substantial benefits for disadvantaged communities, including low to moderate income customers as called for under the CLCPA, and builds upon its workforce development policies to specifically promote good jobs, including prevailing wage requirements.
There is finally a shift away from fossil-fuels, and a focus on identifying new sources of clean energy, including cleaner electricity through upgrades to the power grid. This new Green Economy will help get New Yorkers back on their feet quicker post-pandemic thanks to all of the aforementioned efforts, as well as a push for “Build-Ready” projects brought about by a Clean Energy Resources Development and Incentives Program – the Program has been rolled out via the State’s Accelerated Renewable Energy Growth and Community Benefit Act that has spun off a new Office of Renewable Energy Siting, put in place to streamline strategies and reach these unprecedented and attainable goals.