As part of his 2018 State of the State, Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo, D-N.Y., has unveiled a comprehensive agenda to combat climate change by reducing greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions and growing the clean energy economy. Notably, the program includes significant commitments to solar power, energy storage, offshore wind, emissions reductions and energy efficiency.
According to a press release from the governor’s office, the 2018 Clean Energy Jobs and Climate Agenda will build on the progress. Made to date under Cuomo’s Reforming the Energy Vision (REV) policy, which includes the clean energy standard mandating that 50% of the state’s electricity needs come from renewable energy sources by 2030.
“New Yorkers know too well the devastation caused by climate change, and to slow the effects of extreme weather and build our communities to be stronger and more resilient, we must make significant investments in renewable energy,” states Cuomo. “With this proposal, New York is taking bold action to fight climate change and protect our environment while supporting and growing 21st-century jobs in these cutting-edge renewable industries.”
According to Cuomo, community solar, a REV initiative, is one of the best options for low-income customers to access solar and reduce their energy costs, but because community solar is relatively new and not yet widely adopted, low-income customers have yet to realize the program’s full potential. To help low-income New Yorkers reap the benefits of solar, the governor is announcing that the New York State Energy Research and Development Authority (NYSERDA) will do as follows:
Use its purchasing power to secure community solar subscriptions for low-income customers and provide them at zero cost to deliver cost-savings and clean energy to more than 10,000 low-income New Yorkers; and
Work with low-income energy efficiency programs, utilities, community agencies, solar project developers, investors and other stakeholders to market the program to low-income customers and develop strategies for how the program can better serve low-income New Yorkers and help them participate in the growing clean energy economy.
Sean Garren, Northeast senior director of advocacy group Vote Solar, says, “The governor’s Clean Energy Jobs and Climate Agenda continues New York on the path to a brighter, healthier future – and helps lead our nation in that direction, as well. We’re encouraged that the governor shares our own goal of a clean energy economy that supports all residents, including low-income and underserved communities, by offering bill savings, energy choices and job opportunities with solar.”
Garren adds, “Community solar is one of the state’s most promising opportunities to truly deliver clean energy access to all of New Yorkers. While the governor’s words of support are encouraging, real progress depends on the continued commitment and hard work of the Public Service Commission and NYSERDA to get us there. Vote Solar will continue to work with all stakeholders and push for community solar to succeed in 2018.”
Cuomo is also launching an initiative to deploy 1.5 GW of energy storage by 2025 and employ 30,000 New Yorkers in the industry. The commitment represents the most significant such commitment per capita by any state, the governor claims.
Building on the recently signed Energy Storage Deployment legislation, Cuomo is directing state energy agencies and authorities to work together during 2018 to generate a pipeline of storage projects through utility procurements, advance regulatory changes in utility rates and wholesale energy markets, incorporate storage into criteria for large-scale renewable supplies, and reduce regulatory barriers.