How New York State’s ‘Green New Deal’ plans to be carbon-free by 2040

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New York Governor Andrew Cuomo announced details for a Green New Deal plan that will lead New York state to a carbon-free by 2040 goal. Here’s how.

What’s already happened

During Governor Cuomo’s first two terms, New York banned fracking of natural gas, committed to phasing out coal power by 2020, mandated 50 percent renewable power by 2030, and established 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 is poised to transform the State’s electricity supply to be cleaner and more sustainable.

Green New Deal Details

The Green New Deal will statutorily mandate New York’s power be 100 percent carbon-free by 2040, the most aggressive goal in the United States and five years ahead of a target recently adopted by California. The cornerstone of this new mandate is a significant increase of New York’s successful Clean Energy Standard mandate from 50 percent to 70 percent renewable electricity by 2030. This will require

• Quadrupling New York’s offshore wind target to 9,000 megawatts by 2035, up from 2,400 megawatts by 2030
• Doubling distributed solar deployment to 6,000 megawatts by 2025, up from 3,000 megawatts 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 3,000 megawatts of energy storage by 2030, up from 1,500 megawatts by 2025
Develop an Implementation Plan to Make New York Carbon Neutral

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The Green New Deal will create the State’s first statutory Climate Action Council, comprised of the 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 significantly and cost-effectively reducing emissions from all major sources, including electricity, transportation, buildings, industry, commercial activity, and agriculture.

The Climate Action Council will consider a range of possible options, including the feasibility of working with the U.S. Climate Alliance to create a new multistate emissions reduction program that covers all sectors of the economy, including transportation and industry, and exploring ways to leverage the successful Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative to drive transformational investment in the clean energy economy and support a just transition.

The Green New Deal will also include an ambitious strategy to move New York’s statewide building stock to carbon neutrality. The agenda 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
A Multibillion Dollar Green New Deal Investment in the Clean Tech Economy that will Reduce Greenhouse Gas Emissions

Cuomo is announced $1.5 billion in competitive awards to support 20 large-scale solar, wind and energy storage projects across upstate New York. These investments will add over 1,650 megawatts of capacity and generate over 3,800,000 megawatt-hours of renewable energy annually. Combined with the renewable energy projects previously announced under the Clean Energy Standard, New York has now awarded more than $2.9 billion to 46 projects statewide, enough to power over one million households.

These new investments build upon a $250 million 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 nearly $1.75 billion in private capital for clean energy projects.

Plan for Underserved Communities

The Green New Deal will help historically underserved communities prepare for a clean energy future and adapt to climate change by:

• Giving 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.
• Directing the State’s low-income energy task force 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.
• Directing each of the State’s ten Regional Economic Development Councils to develop an environmental justice strategy for their region.

Finance a Property Tax Compensation Fund to Help Communities Transition to the Clean Energy Economy: Governor Cuomo is introducing legislation to finance the State’s $70 million Property Tax Compensation Fund to continue helping communities directly affected by the transition away from dirty and obsolete energy industries and toward the new clean energy economy. Specifically, this funding will protect communities impacted by the retirement of conventional power generation facilities.

Protect Labor Rights: To ensure creation of high-quality clean energy jobs, large-scale renewable energy projects supported by the Green New Deal will require prevailing wage, and the State’s offshore wind projects will be supported by a requirement for a Project Labor Agreement.

Develop the Clean Tech Workforce: To prepare New York’s workforce for the transition, New York State will take new steps to support workforce development, including establishing a New York State Advisory Council on Offshore Wind Economic and Workforce Development, as well as investing in an offshore wind training center that will provide New Yorkers with the skills and safety training required to construct this clean energy technology in New York.

— Solar Builder magazine





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