New York Makes Big Bet on Renewables

Governor Andrew Cuomo, joined by former Vice President Al Gore, formally requested that the state of New York be excluded by the federal government’s National Outer Continental Shelf Oil and Gas Leasing Program. The program was an attempt by the Trump administration to unleash offshore drilling in areas previously protected by the public, including the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge.

On the same day, the governor also announced that the state would be undertaking the single largest investment in renewable energy development by any state in U.S. history. The $1.4 billion investment will be awarded to 26 large-scale renewable energy projects, including 22 solar farms expected to supply clean energy to 430,000 homes.

The project also allocated $15 million for the creation of three utility-scale winds farms, which would supply clean energy to 400,000 New York households. In total, the project is estimated to reduce carbon emissions by around 1.6 million metric tons and expected to provide over 3,000 jobs in the intermediate. You can read the full press release here.

This is not the first time Cuomo’s administration has made an ambitious bet on renewable energy. The governor’s Clean Energy Standard seeks to generate 50% of New York’s electricity from renewable resources. His landmark policy, Reforming the Energy Vision (REV) provided a plan-of-action for both private and public sector utilities to reduce GHGs by 40% from their 1990 peak and also acquire 50% of electricity from renewable resources.

The state’s energy deregulation program provides consumers with a plethora of options to acquire renewable energy, whether it be through energy management consulting or their local utility supplier. The state also has implemented ambitious energy benchmarking programs to reduce emissions from commercial buildings, as well as developing renewable energy certificates (RECs) to meet renewable energy benchmarks.

New York’s big bet on solar is not too far-fetched and neither is it’s Renewable Energy Standard. Solar was the fastest growing industry in 2016 and companies like ConEd are also helping to spur along changes in the grid. New York’s big bet on renewable seems primed to deliver a hefty return and position the state as a leader, next to California, in renewables.

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