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Cuomo Delivers Sweeping Action on Energy Efficiency, Storage

 

The Public Service Commission approved two orders to advance New York's leadership in energy efficiency and storage. The energy storage order is expected to pave the way for energy storage resources to be paired with solar energy for maximum benefits.

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.

First, the PSC approved an order to dramatically scale up a critical cornerstone of any effective climate and clean energy portfolio: energy efficiency (EE). Department of Public Service (DPS) staff outlined an EE plan that—if effectively implemented—will drive an estimated $15 billion in customer savings by 2025, according to DPS projections. Second, the PSC approved a nation-leading commitment to accelerating energy storage in New York—a technology that is becoming increasingly important to a clean and dynamic energy system.

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Key Capture Energy Guest Blogs about Importance of Energy Storage in Modernizing NY State's Electric Grid

 

 

 

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.

In his 2018 State of the State Address, New York Governor Andrew Cuomo vowed to lead the fight against climate change by continuing to pursue greenhouse gas emissions reduction targets of 40 percent by 2030 and 80 percent by 2050 through the integration of clean energy. In conjunction with these clean energy goals and to address the challenges with integrating and maximizing the benefits of clean energy resources, Governor Cuomo delivered the largest energy storage target per capita recorded yet by any state. His initiative strives to increase the transmission of clean and renewable energy while overcoming traditional grid infrastructure upgrades. Governor Cuomo pledged to commit $200 million of financing from the Green Bank and at least $60 million from the New York State Energy Research and Development Authority (NYSERDA) to achieve progressive energy storage deployment targets, in furtherance of his plan to achieve a nation-leading target of 1,500 megawatts (MW) of energy storage by 2025.

“Energy storage technologies serve a critical role in promoting a clean energy economy,” Governor Cuomo said regarding the energy storage deployment program. “Not only will energy storage technologies relieve pressure on existing transmission and grid infrastructure, they will enhance the development and uptake of renewable energy and create new ‘green’ jobs.”

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Post-election Review: Unprecedented change - and opportunity - in the NYS Legislature

Post-election Review: Unprecedented change – and opportunity – in the NYS Legislature

Posted on November 8, 2018


By Jeff Jones

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.

At ACE NY, we are asking: What will this mean for renewable energy and energy efficiency policy in New York?

It is reasonable to expect growing support for renewables and almost any concrete initiatives that are linked to combatting climate change. Longstanding relations between traditionally fossil-fuel friendly utilities, independent power producers and Senate Republicans are suddenly without consequence. Many of the newly elected members, coming from metropolitan areas impacted by Hurricane Sandy, included action on climate change in their campaign agendas. They were also universally in sync with the Governor in standing in opposition to President Trump’s withdrawal from the Paris Climate Accords. And on Long Island, long a bastion of upper house Republican power, the Democrats now control six of the nine Senate seats. This does not mean that an organized and clear climate agenda is part of the incoming Majority’s agenda. Their initial focus looks to be on health care, ethics reform, and voter access. Even marijuana legalization was higher up on the electoral agenda. But the door will quickly open for serious support for renewable energy (and offshore wind on Long Island) and energy efficiency legislation.

Upstate, the NIMBY problems that have plagued the siting of utility-scale wind and solar projects will not go away. But two newly elected Senate Democrats, from the Hudson Valley and Syracuse, are active clean energy advocates. Jennifer Metzger, who won the 42nd District seat held by the retiring John Bonacic, has been a mid-Hudson Valley leader of community solar and other local clean energy programs for years. And Rachel May, who defeated Independent Democratic Conference member David Valesky and went on to win the District 53 seat, attended the 2nd Climate Solutions Summit, co-sponsored by ACE NY last May in Syracuse. With support from environmental organizations and the renewable energy industry, these two newcomers can become strong voices for the clean energy agenda.

Individual Senators will still echo local opposition to utility scale wind and solar projects, and this will remain an important area for ACE NY to monitor. They can even introduce bills, thanks to reforms enacted by the Senate Democrats during their brief and chaotic majority ten years ago. But, given the strong relation between the incoming Senate Majority and the Governor, we can hope for a  more favorable political environment in the Capital.  Both supporters and developers of renewable energy took heart from expressions by Governor staff members at the October ACE NY annual conference, undertaking to move projects more quickly through the Article X siting process. It also means that the Assembly will now, for the first time in a decade, be considering clean energy legislation that has a chance of passage in the Senate. This could be a game-changer




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31 Groups Urge Gov Cuomo to Double Down on Energy Efficiency

31 Groups Urge Gov Cuomo to Double Down on Energy Efficiency

November 02, 2018 Jackson Morris  Ada Statler 

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).

But realizing this bold vision can only be achieved with smart and timely implementation—the state must act now to ensure we’re on track.

The letter’s signatories support energy efficiency as the cornerstone of the state’s clean energy portfolio and the many benefits clean energy provides, including lower utility bills (saving New Yorkers billions!), stable local jobs, a more reliable electric grid, and state-wide reductions in carbon emissions and other harmful pollutants.

As a coalition, we recognize that saving 185 tBTU is a long-term goal that will almost certainly require adjustments along the way. But thanks in part to extensive stakeholder outreach conducted by the Department of Public Service and the New York State Energy Research and Development Authority (NYSERDA), we know how to get started. The critical actions outlined below – and included in the coalition’s letter to the Governor – will help ensure the state is on track to meet its 2030 climate goals:

  • Establish clear cost-recovery mechanisms: There’s no denying that additional strategic expenditures are needed for the state’s investor-owned utilities to achieve their part of the state’s energy savings goal. But doing so requires a clear and overarching framework for cost-recovery. Absent that framework, utilities lack the clear signal to do their part.  
  • Ensure energy efficiency equity for all New Yorkers: Efficiency programs must be inclusive of all customers and prioritize investments for efficiency improvements in low-to-moderate-income communities.
  • Prioritize clean heating and cooling: Especially under the all-fuel savings target, scaling up the deployment of highly efficient electric heat pump systems to cut our reliance on oil and gas must be a core part of utilities’ efficiency efforts (in close collaboration with NYSERDA in order to ensure a coordinated statewide approach). As discussed in a recent report commissioned by NRDC, meeting a 40 percent reduction in greenhouse gases by 2040 is not possible if we continue to heat our buildings with fossil fuels in the coming decades.
  • Establish an advisory body to ensure smart implementation and follow-through: Utilities will need to craft and implement programs designed to meet the state’s efficiency goals. Doing so effectively and in short order will require additional guidance. Setting up a statewide advisory council of experts would help utilities reach their goals while also providing greater transparency to stakeholders.
NRDC is committed to energy efficiency as an essential tool to save customers money, create good, local jobs, strengthen the state’s economy, bolster grid reliability and protect people and the planet. As this letter shows, we are joined by many stakeholders in New York who care deeply about energy efficiency and are closely tracking the progress made toward meeting the state’s bold energy savings target. We remain confident that together, we will meet this goal and cement New York’s position as a clean energy leader — but staying on track and reaping the benefits of a stronger, cleaner New York requires decisive action now.

It's a Wrap! ACE NY Hosts Its Most Successful Annual Fall Conference and Membership Meeting

It's a Wrap! ACE NY Hosts Its Most Successful Annual Fall Conference and Membership Meeting

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.

 

Spotlight Speaker, Alicia Barton, President & CEO, NYSERDA, delivering a Clean Energy Update

 

 

Starting with a members-only Board meeting October 9, ACE NY’s growing membership of clean energy developers, nonprofits, and industry organizations used the rest of the day to engage in membership roundtable discussion groups that covered Article 10 issues and improvements, large scale renewables procurement by the state, and legislation on energy efficiency and distributed energy resources. The work-day wrapped up with a late afternoon panel discussion on the NYISO carbon charge proposal featuring panelists Michael Mager from Multiple Intervenors, Frank Murray from NRDC, Kathy Robertson from Exelon, and Chris LaRoe from Brookfield. The interest in the carbon charge panel was obvious, resulting in a standing-room only scenario and discussion lasting longer than the allotted 75 minutes from on-going member questions to the panelists about the topic.

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Harvesting the Sun Creates Challenges for Solar Farms

Harvesting the Sun Creates Challenges for Solar Farms

Anne Reynolds
Executive Director, Alliance for Clean Energy, New York

This article first appeared in the October 2018 edition of Grassroots, the New York Farm Bureau newspaper.

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.

The founder of the local opposition group Saving Greene is a local landowner whose large home overlooks the proposed site. She handed out a map with inked-out areas it claimed to be destined for darkness. The leased site is completely blacked out. Yet the developer plans to use less than 400 acres for the solar arrays. The other two-thirds will remain in active farming or conservation.

Most important, in these difficult financial times for New York’s farmers, the owner says the lease of this portion of his land will allow him to retain ownership of the farm. In addition, the developer offers attractive financial benefits not just to the landowner but to the community as a whole. Developers of the Greene County Solar Facility have offered a $4-6 million payment package to the host community, local governments and school district, with the community to decide how best to use this economic benefit.

   It won’t be long before harvesting
   the sun is a recognized mainstay of
   the farming community.

 


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Made in NY? How can we foster voluntary corporate renewable energy buying in New York?

Made in NY? How can we foster voluntary corporate renewable energy buying in New York?

By Anne Reynolds

With the backdrop of United Nations VIPs clogging the streets of Manhattan, ACE NY hosted a breakfast panel discussion on corporate purchasing of renewable energy for Climate Week NYC to a standing-room only crowd. Richard Kauffman, New York’s Chair of Energy and Finance, set the context for the discussion, citing strong progress on renewables procurement by New York, including the draft RFP for offshore wind and reiterating NY’s intention to get this RFP finalized and released by the end of the year. (Exciting!). He also acknowledged the significant workload in getting renewable energy projects through the review and permitting process known as Article 10 and recognized the need to balance proper review with an efficient and timely process. Hopefully, New York will have more progress to report on Article 10 in the coming months.

Mr. Kauffman then outlined a “trial balloon” to get the conversation rolling: If the major barrier to getting renewables bought in NY vs. other states was a higher price for Renewable Energy Certificates (RECs), what if the state played a role in bringing down the price for voluntary purchases by a competitive auction and a public contribution to help make up the difference? An interesting idea.

Kara Allen of NYSERDA was a gracious moderator and began by asking our panelists to outline the benefits of voluntary renewable energy purchasing.  In response, Harry Singh of Goldman & Sachs cited their corporate sustainability goals, the interest in a possible hedge of energy prices, and the desire to have the procurement be related to their own load, i.e. near their footprint. While Goldman explored a deal in New York, it ultimately went with a wind project in Pennsylvania, mostly due to costs. For Cornell University, panelist Sarah Zemanick also cited sustainability goals, but also mentioned student and faculty demand for clean energy and the desire for a living laboratory – i.e. opportunities for research or education.  In the case of Cornell, there is also an interest in distributed projects that can be located on or near campus and offset their current campus-based fossil fuel electricity generation.

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National Clean Energy Week Ignites Passion for the Planet

National Clean Energy Week Ignites Passion for the Planet

By Kathleen Gasperini

National Clean Energy Week (#CleanEnergyWeek) is taking off as more organizations, brands, and fans are celebrating and embracing the movement to support clean energy solutions that address America’s economic, national security and environmental needs. With its second annual nationally recognized high-profile programming, running from Sept. 24-Sept. 28, National Clean Energy Week provides a time to put clean energy center stage. ACE NY is a proud partner organization of National Clean Energy Week, supporting the movement all week and beyond, including our participation at Climate Week NYC, with a panel discussion on New York and renewable energy. Working alongside other climate leaders from across the world, we’re coming together to present solutions and engage with others on climate change solutions.

In the larger scope, many business and political leaders have disagreed with the Administration’s decision to pull out of the COP21 Paris Climate Accord and have implemented their own goals, arguing that it abdicated American leadership on climate and threatened the country’s competitiveness in a low-carbon economy.

To date, 16 Governor’s, including New York’s Gov. Cuomo, joined forces forming the U.S. Climate Alliance. New York quickly took to a leadership position in the Alliance with Cuomo's progressive 2018 Clean Energy Jobs and Climate Agenda.

City mayors from across the country have come together forming the U.S. Climate Mayors group to meet new clean energy goals. More than 2,642 mayors, including NYC’s Mayor de Blasio, CEOs, college presidents, faith organizations, tribal leaders, responded by forming the “We Are Still In” movement that pledges ongoing commitment to the Paris Accord goals. A related group, America’s Pledge, is tracking these commitments and attempting to measure their impact. So far, according to its initial accounting, these sub-national pledgees account for 2.7Gt in emissions. For comparison, U.S. emissions totaled an estimated 6.4Gt estimated in 2017.

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Made in NY: What Will It Take for Corporates to Buy NY Renewables?

Made in NY: What Will It Take for Corporates to Buy NY Renewables?

--ACE NY at Climate Week NYC

Corporate voluntary purchasing of wind and solar power has been so hot in 2018; it seems a new deal is announced weekly. Bloomberg New Energy Finance reported a record-breaking 7.2 GW of global renewable energy purchasing so far in 2018, already well above 2017 levels.

But why isn’t it happening in New York?

Buying renewable energy through long-term power purchasing agreements is motivated by corporate sustainability goals, matched by the potential for long-term savings. The RE100 – a growing list of 140 companies striving to offset 100% of their energy needs through these agreements – reflects this marriage of eco-commitments and savings opportunities. And it is the U.S. and Nordic countries where corporate renewables buying is most active.

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