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.
What a difference a few years and visionary leadership can make. This morning, developers finished 32 rounds of bidding on areas of federal waters off the coast of Massachusetts designated for offshore wind power development. The three areas drew a collective total of just over $405 million.
As the old saying goes, actions speak louder than words.
At today’s public meeting, the New York Public Service Commission (PSC) approved two major initiatives that will help achieve Governor Andrew Cuomo’s bold vision for New York State’s burgeoning clean energy economy.
As New York moves towards 50% clean energy by 2030, energy storage will continue to play an integral role of modernizing the state’s electric grid. The energy landscape in New York is quickly evolving, and New York State is increasingly incorporating storage technologies into the planning of its electric future.
After years of study and planning, New York State has made good on Governor Cuomo’s promise to pursue at least 800 MW of offshore wind in 2018 and 2019. Last week, the New York Energy Research and Development Authority (NYSERDA) released a request for proposals for 800 MW or more of offshore wind. The RFP is the culmination of a deliberative process that started with a Blueprint for Offshore Wind published in the fall of 2016, followed by the release in January 2018 of a NYS Offshore Wind Master Plan, followed by a Public Service Commission Order issued in August.
With heavy spending by the oil and gas industry, ballot initiatives promoting renewable energy and supporting climate projects went down to defeat in Washington, Colorado, and Arizona. Whether or not there was a Blue Wave can be debated in other parts of the country. But not in New York. Powered by Gov. Cuomo’s strong re-election success at the top of the ticket, Democrats took firm control of every level of state government, winning all four state-wide races, holding on to Kirsten Gillibrand’s US Senate seat, taking over the majority in the state Senate and holding firm in the Assembly. Of these, the most significant change is in the state Senate. Even the best pre-election speculation gave the Dems a chance of picking up one or two seats. That they now hold an 8-seat majority is unprecedented in anyone’s memory. It means, among other things, that they can, if they choose, move an aggressive agenda across a range of issues.
A coalition of environmental organizations, clean energy advocates, community groups, and building industry companies today sent a letter to Governor Andrew Cuomo, urging the state to take swift, bold action to follow through on its nation-leading pledge to accelerate energy efficiency in New York State. This past Earth Day, New York State announced a new, ambitious 2025 energy efficiency target: save 185 trillion British thermal units (tBTU) of energy, helping the state meet its 40 percent emissions reduction climate goal by 2030. The goal also envisions ramping up efficiency deployment so that by 2025, 3 percent of overall electricity demand is met bysavings rather than more power (a level being achieved by only the top efficiency states in the country).
The rate of permitting for large-scale renewables in New York State has become a major concern for ACE members and a potential roadblock in the path of the State achieving its 50% renewable energy standard by 2030. At the rate that new large-scale renewable projects are being approved, we will be nowhere near our goal of 50% renewable energy by 2030. Only one project has been approved thus far, four applications have recently been deemed compliant (complete), and another 33 projects are in the pipeline. It seems inevitable that the Department of Public Service (DPS) will need more staff to process these applications in a workable timeframe.
From Policy to Projects: Putting NYers to Work for Clean Energy -- ACE NY’s 12th Annual Fall Conference and Membership Meeting -- attracted over 200 attendees to the beautifully renovated Albany Capital Center October 9-10, from a broad range of industries, individuals, and media interested in clean energy.
A mid-September community meeting in New York’s Greene County drew a crowd of more than a hundred local citizens with opinions about a 50 megawatt (50MW) solar facility proposed on active farmland in the town of Coxsackie. Billed as a public forum, the meeting was, in fact, controlled by opponents of the project. Misinformation was rampant and those wishing to speak in support of the project were silenced or shouted down. At the center of this proposal is a 1,200-acre farm site, of which 933 acres have been leased by the developer.