Legislation highlights need for stable, predictable, and accurate policies to achieve New York’s clean energy and economic goals
The Alliance for Clean Energy New York (ACE NY), the Long Island Solar Energy Industries Association (LISEIA), and the New York Solar Energy Industries Association (NYSEIA) announced their support today for Assembly Bill No. A10474, introduced by Assembly Environmental Conservation Committee Chair Steve Englebright and Senate Bill No. S8273, introduced by Senate Energy and Telecommunications Committee Chair Joseph Griffo, with the support of more than 25 co-sponsors in the legislature.
Distributed renewable energy resources are essential to help meet the state’s ambitious energy and greenhouse gas emission reduction goals. Unfortunately, electric utility companies have had a weighted influence on the new rules adopted in 2017 by the Public Service Commission (PSC) and Long Island Power Authority (LIPA) that approved a new “Value of Distributed Energy Resources” tariff to compensate customers for distributed renewable energy resources such as community solar and commercial-scale solar.
Because the new rules were adopted without a full examination of their actual environmental and distribution and transmission system benefits, the value of these distributed renewable energy resources has been dramatically reduced and their pace of development in the state has slowed. These disruptive regulatory changes and the lack of a visible roadmap forward are causing many companies to consider pulling back investment for projects after 2018 and shifting their economic development focus to neighboring states and other markets like MA, NJ, CA, and NC, threatening the 9,012 solar jobs in the state.
The proposed legislation would direct the PSC and LIPA to revisit the valuation of distributed renewable resources, this time more fully and accurately accounting for the energy and capacity value of electricity generated and the long-term value of public benefits provided by such resources, including reduced carbon emissions and other air pollution, avoided or reduced distribution and transmission costs, climate security, grid security and resiliency, fuel diversity and reduced exposure to fuel price volatility, and environmental justice attributes. In the interim, the legislation would reinstate pre-existing compensation for distributed resources and thus provide the stability and predictability necessary to increase access to clean, affordable power for communities, residents, and businesses.
“We want New York State to be the best place to invest in solar,” said Anne Reynolds, Executive Director of the Alliance for Clean Energy New York. “This bill would provide a smoother and more gradual transition from the system of Net Energy Metering – which is proven to work -- to a new system that fully values the benefits of solar and other clean, distributed energy resources.” She continued, “This smoother transition period is especially important for Community Renewables, a new model that is just gaining traction in New York. Community Renewables can allow businesses or individuals to invest in solar even if they don’t own their home or place of business, or don’t have access to a sunny roof. Community renewables should be encouraged to flourish and not be held back by an uncertain and incomplete method of compensation that is not yet ready for simple and speedy implementation.”
“We look forward to engaging with the legislature to turn this bill into law, moving investment off the sidelines, and helping to realize the state’s renewable energy goals,” said Melissa Kemp, Policy Co-Chair for NYSEIA. “Local solar energy has the potential to bring many benefits to New York residents and to revitalize New York’s economy, especially in upstate regions where it can bring much needed tax revenue for struggling municipalities and offer energy cost savings to attract new businesses.”
“There is a right way to value distributed energy resources and unfortunately, the current VDER policy completely missed the mark. We have some work to do to get this right and ensure a holistic, intelligent rollout of energy valuation in New York State,” said Arthur Perri, LISEIA Chair. “We look forward to working with lawmakers to ensure that we value solar and storage in a way that promotes more renewable energy instead of discouraging small businesses and organizations who want to go solar."
Alliance for Clean Energy New York
The Alliance for Clean Energy New York (ACE NY), a 501(c)(3) not-for-profit membership organization, is a unique and powerful blend of clean energy industry and environmental interests working together for the betterment of the Empire State. ACE NY is committed to the promotion of clean, renewable electricity technologies and energy efficiency in New York State in order to increase energy diversity and security, boost economic development, improve public health and reduce air pollution.
New York Solar Energy Industries Association
Founded in 1994, the New York Solar Energy Industries Association (NYSEIA) is the only statewide membership and trade association dedicated solely to advancing solar energy use in New York State. NYSEIA proudly represents hundreds of businesses in New York State. Led by a diverse Board of Directors, NYSEIA strives to achieve significant, long-term and sustainable growth of solar energy adoption in New York State.
Long Island Solar Energy Industries Association
The Long Island Solar Energy Industries Association (LISEIA) is focused on promoting a healthy, ethical and vibrant solar industry on Long Island, which includes influencing and sponsoring smart policy working with local industries, organizations, and governments and the state government.