by: Anne Reynolds
If your mission is to promote clean energy in New York – like ACE NY – then you are feeling pretty good right about now. What I mostly feel is: momentum.
Governor Cuomo’s Jan. 15th State of the State speech is a great example. He again mentioned a Green New Deal for the State, and he provided some important insight into what he means: a renewable energy standard for electricity of 70% by 2030; a goal of 9,000 MW of offshore wind by 2035; and a Climate Change Council to chart the pathway to economy-wide carbon neutrality. All three are really positive wins for clean energy.
The Governor’s written description of his proposed budget – fondly referred to as the Budget Book (LINK) – has more details on what a Green New Deal could entail. For one, the 70% Clean Energy Standard would be supported by a doubling of the NY-Sun goal for distributed solar by 2025, right on target for the goals of the Million Solar Strong campaign, of which ACE NY is an active member.
The super ambitious 9,000 MW offshore wind mandate is an incredible step forward for this nascent industry. It is supported by a $200M investment in port infrastructure, on target for what the New York Offshore Wind Alliance was advocating, recognizing that bringing the offshore wind industry to New York in a real way will require modernized port facilities. What a job creator that will be! We truly applaud the State’s commitment to offshore wind. The Governor recognizes that offshore wind is a key energy industry of the future.
In the midst of these heady goals, renewables developers don’t forget the pragmatic details of developing projects, so we are happy to report that New York State isn’t either: the Budget Book outlines 8 new staff positions at the Department of Public Service – positions sorely needed to effectively process the robust pipeline of renewable energy projects – too many of them stalled -- that the Governor’s Clean Energy Standard has stimulated.
Lastly, the road to any ambitious goal needs to start with real, on-the-ground projects, and this week NYSERDA has announced the winners (LINK) of the 2018 Clean Energy Standard RFP: Twenty wind and solar projects totally 1,654 MW of new capacity, and at the low weighted average REC price of $18.77. For those of you paying attention, this is the second year in a row that NYSERDA has contracted far more than it originally committed to. These contracts -- for great near-term projects in the State – are the perfect complement to lofty long-term goals. New York needs to take concrete steps to demonstrate its commitment to climate change action, and it is.
These exciting elements of Governor Cuomo’s Green New Deal – coupled with new Senate leadership and fresh energy policy teams in both legislative houses means that ACE NY, and our members and allies, have great momentum going into 2019. We feel it in New York’s development pipeline, in industry interest in New York, and in growing awareness of renewable industry’s key role in fighting climate change. At ACE NY, we are proud to have had a role in building that momentum and proud to be in a State that is making it happen.