Trump’s decision to withdraw from the Paris Accord caused an immediate reaction from states leading the country’s charge into renewable energy. New York Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo signed an executive order to commit New York to uphold the standards set forth in the Paris Accord and announced a U.S. Climate Alliance, along with California Governor Edmund G. Brown Jr., and Washington State Governor Jay R. Inslee, to convene U.S. states committed to upholding the Paris Climate Agreement and taking aggressive action on climate change.
Cuomo also announced the Clean Climate Careers initiative — a multi-pronged strategy to grow New York’s emerging clean energy economy and prepare the workforce for the long-term careers associated with this industry.
“As the federal government abdicates its responsibility to address climate change — at the ex-\pense of our environment and economy — New York is leading the nation in advancing a clean energy future,” Governor Cuomo said. “The Clean Climate Careers initiative is a groundbreaking investment, representing the largest state clean energy procurement in U.S. history. With this $1.8 billion initiative, New York continues to tackle the challenges of climate change and create the high-quality, good-paying careers of tomorrow.”
Clean Climate Careers
In partnership with the ILR School’s Worker Institute at Cornell University and Climate Jobs NY, this initiative focuses on accelerating energy efficiency and renewable energy growth to make New York a magnet for new energy technologies and creating 40,000 new, good-paying clean energy jobs by 2020.
As part of the first phase of the Clean Climate Careers initiative, New York State will make an unprecedented investment of up to $1.5 billion in major renewable energy projects, including wind and solar, and significantly expand energy efficiency and so-ar installations at public buildings. The investment will result in an additional 2.5 mil-lion megawatt-hours of electricity a year, representing the largest clean energy pro-curement by a state in U.S. history.
The Clean Climate Careers initiative is a bold, three-pronged strategy that connects in-vestment in clean energy technologies with the industry’s good-paying, quality jobs:
1. Investing in Clean Tech and Supercharging Renewable Energy Development: Making record investments in renewable energy to meet Governor Cuomo’s ambitious Clean Energy Standard target of achieving 50 percent of electricity from renewables by 2030 – and as a result New York is poised to double the State’s so-lar capacity from roughly 800 megawatts today to more than 1600 megawatts by the end of 2018.
2. Creating Clean Climate Careers: Making historic investment of up to $1.5 bil-lion in major renewable energy projects will create thousands of well-paying jobs for middle class New Yorkers across the State, while providing funding to train our workforce for lifetime careers in building efficiency, renewable energy, and other low-carbon sectors.
3. Advancing Environmental Justice: Establishing an Environmental Justice & Just Transition Working Group to develop priority programs and policies to help historical underserved communities – and those navigating the retirement of carbon-intensive energy plants – prepare for a cleaner, greener future.
Details of phase one of the Clean Climate Careers initiative
The state will issue requests for proposals from qualified developers to build renewable energy projects that will generate 2.5 million megawatt-hours of electricity a year – enough to power approximately 350,000 homes. Combined, the RFPs are the first in a series of major procurements and are expected to result in the development of 40 to 60 large scale renewable energy projects by 2022 under the Clean Energy Standard.
The complementary solicitations by the New York State Energy Research and Development Authority and the New York Power Authority will invest up to $1.5 billion in wind, commercial solar and solar arrays, small and large-scale hydro, fuel cell and other technologies.
The NYSERDA solicitation will procure 1.5 million MWh of electricity from renewable energy sources and the NYPA solicitation will procure an additional 1 million MWh. This investment in additional large-scale clean energy supplies will expand NYPA’s leadership role as the State’s largest supplier of renewable electricity. Both the NYSERDA and NYPA solicitations will lead to the creation of thousands of direct and indirect jobs from development, construction and operation of clean energy projects through 2022.
The state is committed to studying the feasibility of the types of economic efficiencies that can be achieved through the use of a Project Labor Agreement for the construction of Public Work projects associated with this initiative. Use of a PLA for such Public Works could bring broad participation by NYS registered apprentice programs and can lead to new apprenticeship opportunities for a great many New Yorkers working in construction.
$300 Million Investment in Energy Efficiency and Solar To Expand BuildSmartNY and K-Solar Programs
Accelerating the Governor’s BuildSmartNY and K-Solar initiatives, NYPA will double annual in-vestments in energy efficiency and solar deployments from $150 million to $300 million to get more clean, renewable energy into our local governments, public facilities, and schools. This $300 million is a mix of NYPA’s low-cost financing and additional private sector capital.
NYPA has established a new partnership with a consortium of banks that, will for the first time ever through NYPA, enable municipalities to access low-cost capital from commercial banks to finance energy efficiency and solar projects. Many local governments that are interested in energy efficiency projects and may not have previously qualified for financing will benefit from a more streamlined process and be able to obtain more competitive lending rates.
With this expanded investment, NYPA will conduct 1,000 energy efficiency and solar audits for municipalities and school districts by 2020 to help support prudent investments. The initiative will be available to all local governments and municipalities, who will have the opportunity to sign up and enrollment will be open before the end of 2017.
NYPA will also install more than 125 megawatts of solar capacity on schools and other public buildings by 2020, achieving a 300 percent increase in distributed solar projects at public facilities statewide. Through K-Solar and BuildSmartNY, NYPA partners with solar and energy efficiency companies to provide ‘turn-key’ solutions to its government customers, meaning local governments can easily receive design, construction management, commissioning, and financing services for their projects all at once.
These accelerated energy efficiency initiatives will create more than 2,000 new direct and indirect jobs.
— Solar Builder magazine