ALBANY, NY — Governor Cuomo released his Clean Energy Jobs and Climate Agenda today in advance of his State of the State Address tomorrow. In response, NYLCV President Marcia Bystryn offered the following statement:
In recent years, New York has consistently put forward ambitious policy goals and policies to lead the fight against climate change. The six initiatives in the Clean Energy Jobs and Climate Agenda put forward by Governor Cuomo today will help ensure our lofty rhetoric is backed by thoughtful implementation and strategic investments. This plan offers much-needed continuity by building on or offering new details to support many of the goals and initiatives announced last year. We look forward to learning more about these initiatives in tomorrow’s State of the State Address, but today’s release offers an extremely promising preview.
We are particularly pleased that not only is Governor Cuomo making good on his 2017 promise of a 30 percent cap reduction on the Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative but that he will also seek to reduce emissions from peaking units. These power plants are the dirtiest in the system and are primarily located in environmental justice communities. Reducing these emissions will help to curb greenhouse gas emissions and will also save lives by cutting the amount of harmful particulate matter and other pollutants released into the air. This will reduce the incidence of respiratory illness among the most vulnerable New Yorkers, preventing hospitalizations and premature deaths.
The investment of $200 million from the NY Green Bank and an additional $200 million to increase transmission is a major step toward attaining the State’s recently adopted 1,500 MW energy storage goal. Energy storage systems such as large-scale batteries will help drive down electricity costs, efficiently integrate renewable technologies such as wind and solar into the energy mix, and provide a stable supply during peak electric usage or operate critical systems during a grid outage.
Ambitious energy efficiency targets are an important piece of our climate policies, as efficiencies will reduce the amount of large-scale renewables the state will need to site and build accompanying storage and transmission for. We look forward to the establishment of a new target by Earth Day and to working with the Governor and other stakeholders to improve the trajectory of energy efficiency in New York.
At the same time, financing zero cost solar for 10,000 low income New Yorkers and the solicitation of proposals for offshore wind power are welcome moves to help clean our energy mix. We are also optimistic that the U.S. Climate Alliance will play a valuable role in the exchange of ideas and best practices to help each participating state overcome challenges to meeting its Paris Agreement commitment.