New York Governor Andrew Cuomo has announced the Green New Deal, a clean energy and jobs agenda, included in the 2019 Executive Budget. The plan tackles a transition to clean energy, one that expands the green economy, and is expected to prioritize the needs of low- to moderate-income New Yorkers.
Nation-leading renewable energy mandates
Governor Andrew Cuomo’s first two terms saw New York State banning fracking of natural gas, committing to phasing out coal power by 2020, mandating 50 percent renewable power by 2030 and establishing the U.S. Climate Alliance to uphold the Paris Agreement. Under the Reforming the Energy Vision agenda, New York has held the largest renewable energy procurements in U.S. history, solar has increased nearly 1,500 percent and offshore wind in poised to transform the State’s electricity supply to be cleaner and more sustainable.
The Green New Deal will statutorily mandate New York’s power to be 100 percent carbon-free by 2040, the most aggressive goal in the country and five years ahead of a target recently adopted by California. The unique ramp-up of renewable energy will include:
- quadrupling New York’s offshore wind target to 9 gigawatts by 2035, up from 2.4 gigawatts by 2030
- doubling distributed solar deployment to 6 gigawatts by 2025, up from 3 gigawatts by 2023
- more than doubling new large-scale land-based wind and solar resources through the Clean Energy Standard
- maximizing the contributions and potential of New York’s existing renewable resources
- deploying 3 gigawatts of energy storage by 2030, up from 1.5 gigawatts by 2025
Making New York carbon neutral
The Green New Deal is also set to create the first statutory Climate Action Council—an entity that brings together heads of relevant State agencies and other workforce, environmental justice and clean energy experts to develop a comprehensive plan to make New York carbon neutral by reducing emissions from all major sources, including electricity, transportation, buildings, industry, commercial activity and agriculture. The strategy to move New York’s statewide building stock to carbon neutrality includes:
- advancing legislative changes to strengthen building energy codes and establish appliance efficiency standards
- directing State agencies to ensure that their facilities uphold the strongest energy efficiency and sustainability standards
- developing a Net Zero Roadmap to chart a course to statewide carbon neutrality in buildings
Governor Cuomo also announced $1.5 billion in competitive awards to support 20 large-scale solar, wind and energy storage projects across upstate New York. Combined, these investments are expected to add more than 1,650 megawatts of capacity and generate more than 3,800 gigawatt-hours of renewable energy annually, the equivalent of powering nearly 550,000 homes and create more than 2,600 short- and long-term jobs. So far, New York has awarded more than $2.9 billion to 46 projects statewide, sufficient to power one million households.
Offshore investment, EVs
The Green New Deal also includes new investments to jumpstart New York’s offshore wind energy industry and support the state’s target of 9 gigawatts by 2035. New York is set to invest up to $200 million in port infrastructure to match private sector investment in regional development of offshore wind.
These investments build upon a $250 million in commitment to electric vehicle infrastructure by the New York Power Authority’s EVolve program, $3.5 billion in private investment in distributed solar driven by NYSERDA’s NY-Sun program, and NY Green Bank transactions mobilizing more than $1.7 billion in private capital for clean energy projects.
A fair game
The Green New Deal is expected to give underserved communities a seat at the table by codifying the Environmental Justice and Just Transition Working Group into law and incorporating it into the planning process for the Green New Deal’s implementation. Furthermore, the state’s low-income energy task force will be directed to identify reforms to achieve greater impact of the public energy funds expended each year in order to increase the effect of funds and initiatives that target energy affordability to underserved communities. Through the Green New Deal, each of the state’s ten Regional Economic Development Councils to develop an environmental justice strategy for their region.
“Climate scientists have made frighteningly clear that averting the worst effects of climate change will require bold action, not incremental steps, and Governor Cuomo’s Green New Deal boldly goes where no others have before. His unwavering climate agenda includes the most aggressive clean energy target in U.S. history, the largest commitments to renewable energy and to offshore wind in the nation, a massive mobilization of clean energy jobs and an unprecedented investment in offshore wind port infrastructure,” Alicia Barton, president & CEO of NYSERDA, said in prepared remarks.
Video courtesy of NYGovCuomo