New Year/New Energy: Ambitious Long-Term Goals Start with Concrete Action Today

The new year brings new hope for building renewable energy in New York State. Gov. Cuomo’s aggressive goal of achieving 50% of our electricity from renewable resources by 2030 puts New York in a Nation-leading role. But we are in danger of coming up short if we can’t get more projects built, making the even more robust target of eliminating fossil-fuel generated power by 2050 elusive.

The Alliance for Clean Energy New York (ACE NY) is excited to welcome the 2019-2020 Legislature to Albany. Our members -- renewable energy developers, energy efficiency companies and environmental groups -- look with anticipation to the new political lineup in the Capital. The Senate’s new leadership and many new members face a challenging and unprecedented opportunity to act. ACE NY member companies are ready and able to invest in New York’s path to a clean energy future through the construction of renewables in the state, such as wind power, solar energy, and offshore wind.

How can we get to 50% clean power by 2030? A successful plan to achieve 50% renewable power has four parts. First, we need to keep the existing renewable energy generators operating and selling their output here. Second, we need to craft and implement a pathway to achieve the ambitious energy efficiency goals assumed in the Clean Energy Standard calculations. Third, we need to ensure that rooftop and community solar will flourish by guaranteeing adequate and predicable compensation. Fourth – and most important – we need to build far more grid-scale renewable energy generation and we need to build it almost 5 times faster than we have for the last decade. This is doable, but will require sustained commitment to the pragmatic details of getting projects not only into the pipeline, but built.

Let’s remember that ambitious long-range goals start with concrete action today. In New York, this requires a more efficient, timely and well-staffed implementation of Article 10 of the Public Service Law to review and permit projects. This, and the actions outlined above, are the necessary complements to the excellent policy foundation provided by the Clean Energy Standard. Our collective success will mean new jobs, a stronger economy, cleaner air, and real steps to a livable climate for all New Yorkers.

This article first ran in City and State Magazine, Dec, 23, 2018.