State of the New York Environment 2021: Governor Cuomo Expands the Nation’s Boldest Clean Energy Program
Need some good news?
On January 13, Governor Andrew Cuomo unveiled the nation’s boldest program to modernize our energy grid and dramatically accelerate the decarbonization of our state’s economy.
No need to wait until Earth Day this year – New York’s next steps to implement its groundbreaking Climate Leadership and Community Protection Act (CLCPA) and move the state to 100% clean electricity by 2040 and net-zero carbon emissions by 2050 have now been announced. (For more on New York’s environmental leadership and last year’s CLCPA-related budget steps, read our previous blogs: Earth Day Turns 50: New York Continues to Lead the Way and Pushing New York’s Climate Goals Forward in the Face of COVID-19.)
As Governor Cuomo said, this is “how we launch ourselves into the post-Covid economy.”
Just check out these numbers:
- A $26 billion public-private sector partnership to build nearly 100 renewable energy projects, including 52 solar, 13 on-shore and three offshore wind projects
- In addition to more than 60 renewable energy projects already commenced, 24 new projects were announced, including upstate solar projects that will range in size from 20 to 250 megawatts and create nearly 11,000 new upstate jobs
- Major new commitments to offshore wind energy, including two new offshore wind farms off Long Island and new investments to expand New York’s offshore wind manufacturing industry (including the nation’s first offshore wind tower-manufacturing facility at the Port of Albany and an offshore wind turbine hub at the South Brooklyn Marine Terminal)
- To create an “Energy Superhighway” that solves the current grid congestion in the system, at least three new transmission projects, as well as more than 250 miles of other new transmission spread across the State
- New battery storage projects, which will be designed to meet the electricity demands of 1.2 million New York homes and help enable the success of our wind and solar investments
Looking beyond just the numbers, NYSERDA has begun a new competitive bidding process to build at least three new transmission projects that will connect our growing upstate renewable energy generation to downstate energy customers in New York City. One new transmission line will transmit power from the northeast corner of the state to the City, another will connect upstate Massena to the City, and a third line will link the Hudson Valley’s Greene County to the City. Capalino is working with Rise Light and Power (formerly Ravenswood Generating) on the Catskill Renewables Connector project, which will compete in this process to build the Greene County-to-NYC line.
The State will also be taking two important steps to make sure that the benefits of our transition to the clean energy economy are equitably distributed. First, the Governor announced new investments to train New York workers to meet the needs of our future green economy, including a $20 million investment in a new Offshore Wind Training Institute at SUNY Stony Brook and Farmingdale State College. And second, the State will integrate environmental justice and equity throughout every aspect of the program, including the highest MWBE inclusion goals in the country, as well as requirements to pay prevailing wages and include Project Labor Agreements for every project.
Putting it all together, New York will be on a path to provide 12,400 megawatts of clean, renewable power, which will meet the energy needs of 6 million homes. Doing so will create an estimated 50,000 jobs and catalyze $29 billion private investment.
One more important point: at the end of 2020, we read about emerging research that suggests that the climate could stabilize faster than expected once we hit net-zero carbon emissions, perhaps within one or two decades of hitting that target. This research is ongoing and our understanding of its ramifications will continue to evolve. If additional research confirms these findings, it will be music to our ears. And, if New York’s climate and clean energy leadership is emulated by other states and countries, New York’s successful decarbonization will help ensure that our children and grandchildren live in a cleaner, safer, healthier world.
Capalino’s Clean Energy and Sustainability team has been actively working on projects and advocating for policies that will accelerate New York’s progress towards its CLCPA and other clean energy and sustainability goals. We thrive on helping clients introduce “first-ever” building, energy, transportation, solid waste, or water technologies and projects into the New York market, as well as working with companies that are transitioning their legacy assets and operations to prepare for a low-carbon and more sustainable future. To learn more, contact Rich Kassel at firstname.lastname@example.org or 917.838.0865.
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