Posted on July 1, 2017:
2017 Legislative Session:
The 2017 NYS legislative session officially concluded in June and legislators have headed home to their districts. With the Legislature on an extended break, this is a good time to catch our breath and report on what turned out to be a busy 2017 Legislative Session for ACE NY.
Coupled with advocating on a number of budget and legislative issues, ACE NY issued 10 memos of support and five memos of opposition on bills over the course of the legislative session. We are happy to report that two of the bills we worked on passed both houses and will soon be headed for the Governor’s desk. ACE NY will work directly with our partners and other stakeholders to weigh-in with the Governor in support of these measures.
- Energy Storage Deployment Program (A.657/S.5190): This bill directs the PSC to set targets for the implementation of storage systems by 2030.
- Property Tax Exemption (A.260/S.4069): This bill allows for a property tax exemption for micro-hydro, fuel cells, CHP and storage systems. Localities have the option to opt out.
Other highlights of the session include the following bills:
- Small Wind Tax Credit (A5541/S5119): This bill is modeled after the existing solar income tax credit. It provides a credit up to 25% of the cost of a system. It is capped at $15,000 for individuals and $75,000 for commercial or farm users. ACE NY supports this bill.
- Tier II Projects (S.5549-A/A.7275-A): This bill would create a program to support existing renewables (“Tier 2”) as part of the Clean Energy Standard (CES). Newly introduced this year, the bill was put forward in response to the PSC largely leaving existing renewables out of the CES. It passed the Senate, but not the Assembly. ACE NY supports this bill.
- Energy Efficiency Program (A.8586/S.6771): Although these bills do not match exactly, they are very close. Both bills direct the PSC to establish a framework for an energy efficiency program that achieves an annual savings of at least 2%, establishes incremental and long-term targets, and provides for a funding plan. ACE NY supports this bill.
- Prohibition on Foreign Energy (S.5126/A.7685): This bill would prohibit NYPA from acquiring energy or environmental attributes associated with energy production that is generated outside of the United States. The bill was introduced to dissuade NYPA from developing transmission lines that do not include access for in-state generation. This bill passed the Senate, but not the Assembly. ACE NY has no position on this bill.
- The Solar Panel Collection Act (S.2837/A.7757): This bill would require manufacturers to develop and run a solar panel takeback program to dispose of solar panels once they are no longer in use. The bill passed the Senate, but not the Assembly. We have indications from the Assembly that they will likely take this up next session, so we will be actively working with them during the off session to come up with a draft that is amenable to the industry. ACE NY opposes this bill as written.
- Defunding of NYSERDA Programs (S.6651): This bill would require that NYSERDA use existing clean energy funding, including money for the CES, to fund the State’s ZEC program, which supports nuclear power. The Senate introduced this bill as a way to keep the ZEC program going, but without burdening ratepayers with additional costs. The Assembly refused to take it up and it is unlikely that the Governor would support this bill if it came to his desk for consideration. ACE NY opposes this bill.
- Wind Prohibition (S.1755/A.5262-A): This bill would prohibit the development of wind turbines within 40 miles of a DoD facility. Although the bill was eventually amended to restrict the prohibition to active military bases, it would still effectively halt wind development in New York. The Assembly did not consider the bill and at the last minute it was pulled from the Senate Active List (a list of bills to be voted on that day), presumably because they did not have the votes. Congratulations and thanks to our members for all their work in opposing this bill.
In other news, the PSC has filled its open seats. John Rhodes, the former head of NYSERDA was appointed as the chair. Phil Wilcox, a former IBEW representative, and former State Senator James Alesi were appointed to the open seats, while Diane Burman was reinstated for a 6-year term.
ACE NY will soon begin planning for the 2018 Legislative Session and we encourage all members to reach out to us with ideas.
For more information on the 2017 legislative session see ACE NY's Legislature page.