By Anne Reynolds
ACE NY’s 13th Annual Fall Conference kicks off next Thursday, Sept. 19th, with an open meeting for members, a renewable siting workshop and a reception. On Friday the 20th, we have a full day of speakers and panels addressing critical issues facing New York.
Registration for the conference, Clean Energy Now – Defining Climate Leadership, is open and we invite you to join us.
The name of this year’s conference, Clean Energy Now – Defining Climate Leadership, reflects how I feel about the current landscape in New York. First, we do need to get more clean energy now; there is a new urgency to moving ahead with policy, investment, and building. Second, New York’s climate leadership absolutely depends on getting more renewables built in the next few years. Renewable electricity is the key to reducing greenhouse emissions for the electric sector, for transportation, and for building heating.
New York’s new Climate Leadership and Community Protection Act (CLCPA) has set bold and ambitious targets in law -- 70% renewable electricity by 2030 and 40% reduction in economy-wide greenhouse gas emissions reductions by 2030 (just a decade away!). Building renewable electricity – upstate wind projects and offshore wind; grid-scale, rooftop, and community solar; and enhancements and reinvestment in hydro facilities – must be the foundation on which climate leadership is built.
But constructing renewable energy projects is not all that needs to happen. Making sure that all of New York’s diverse communities and people participate in climate progress is another fundamental element of climate leadership. It is essential to maintaining popular momentum behind clean energy, and it is the fair and equitable approach. And now, it is also required in law. These issues will be explored in our first panel: Including all New Yorkers in the Clean Energy Transition.
Efficiency and electrification are also essential elements to climate leadership. Achieving 70% renewables by 2030 depends in no small part on how much electricity New York State will need. Success in meeting the efficiency goals and the 6,000 MW distributed solar goal could sharply reduce the demand for electricity from the grid, while success in electrifying vehicles and home heating will significantly increase demand. This will be examined in our second panel: Electricity Demand in 2030 – Electrification & Efficiency.
Our third panel, 70% by 2030 – Outlook and Challenges gets back to the fundamental question: how will we do this? I truly believe there has never been a more exciting time to be working in the arena of clean energy and climate policy. And given New York’s ambition and goals – combined with the current atmosphere in D.C. – there is no better or important place to be doing it than the Empire State. Our challenge is to harness this momentum into on-the-ground clean energy construction and progress, and I know, together, we will lead the way.