On January 15, 2019 New York State Governor Andrew M. Cuomo did his State of the State Address. His 2019 Justice Agenda included 12 proposals under part 4 “Launching the Green New Deal”:
- Mandate 100 Percent Clean Power by 2040 – This will mandate that all electricity will be “carbon free by 2040.
- New York’s Path to Carbon Neutrality – The heads of relevant state agencies and other workforce, environmental justice, and clean energy experts will develop a plan to make New York carbon neutral.
- A Multibillion Dollar Investment in the Clean Tech Economy that will Reduce Greenhouse Gas Emissions – There will be $1.5 billion in competitive awards to support 20 large-scale solar, wind, and energy storage projects across upstate New York.
- Expand NY Green Bank and Catalyze at Least $1 Billion in Private Capital – The NY Green Bank is a $1 billion investment fund designed to accelerate clean energy deployment and they will expand its charter.
- Chart a Path to Making New York’s Statewide Building Stock Carbon Neutral – There are plans for more energy efficiency investments.
- Direct State Agencies and Authorities to Pursue Strategies to Decarbonize their Investment Funds and Ramp Up Investment in Clean Energy – Commence a process to review and evaluate the feasibility and appropriateness of divesting from fossil fuels for agencies and authorities.
- Increase Carbon Sequestration and Meet the U.S. Climate Alliance Natural and Working Lands Challenge – This will establish a carbon sequestration goal for our natural and working lands.
- Create a Carbon-to-Value Innovation Agenda and Establish the CarbonWorks Foundry – This will create a Carbon-to-Value Innovation Agenda as a blueprint for the future of carbon-to-value technology as well as carbon capture, utilization and storage in New York.
- Deliver Climate Justice for Underserved Communities – The Green New Deal will help historically underserved communities prepare for a clean energy future and adapt to climate change 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 transition.
- Create a Fund to Help Communities Impacted by the Transition Dirty Power – This will provide funding to help communities that are directly affected by the transition away from conventional energy industries and toward the new clean energy economy
- Develop Clean Tech Workforce and Protect Labor Rights – The Green New Deal will continue to require prevailing wage, and the State’s offshore wind projects will be supported by a requirement for a Project Labor Agreement.
- Make New York the National Hub for Offshore Wind and Deploy 9,000 Megawatts by 2035 -The Green New Deal will accelerate offshore wind progress in three specific areas: port infrastructure, workforce development, and transmission infrastructure.
Not surprisingly there are no details other than the announcement, no mention of potential costs and no explanation how all this will affect any of the many impacts that he claims are caused by climate change. I will develop posts on specific components of the announcement in the future. In the meantime, the following is the Green New Deal section.
Part 4. Launching the Green New Deal
Recognizing the imperative to create healthy communities today while protecting the environment for generations to come, Governor Cuomo is consistently on the front lines of the battle against climate change. In addition to securing environmental protection and promoting sustainability, the Governor’s vision for a clean, resilient New York calls for the clean energy industry to be a significant engine of economic opportunity and growth.
The signs of a changing climate are indisputable. When Hurricane Irma and Hurricane Maria struck Puerto Rico in late 2017, Governor Cuomo and New Yorkers across the state leapt to action to deliver aid and support. In response to an official request from Governor Ricardo Rosselló, Governor Cuomo led a sweeping effort to provide emergency goods and services and deployed more than 1,000 personnel including hundreds of utility workers and power experts to help with electricity restoration. In stark contrast to the federal government, New York’s commitment to Puerto Rico remains unwavering, but without swift action to reduce the greenhouse gasses that drive climate change, devastating hurricanes like Maria—and Superstorm Sandy—will be the new normal.
During Governor Cuomo’s first two terms, New York banned fracking of natural gas, committed to phasing out coal power by 2020, and was among the first states to mandate 50 percent renewable power by 2030. Under the Reforming the Energy Vision (REV) agenda, renewable energy is growing rapidly across the state: solar has increased over 1,500 percent, New York has held the largest renewable energy procurements by a state in U.S. history, and offshore wind is poised to transform the state’s electricity supply to be cleaner and more sustainable. Governor Cuomo’s climate leadership is demonstrating that a transition to clean energy is more than technically feasible and cost-effective – it can be an engine of new economic opportunity.
Amidst the Trump Administration’s assault on the environment and in order to continue New York’s progress in the fight against climate change, Governor Cuomo is announcing New York’s Green New Deal, a nation-leading clean energy and jobs agenda that will put the state on a path to carbon neutrality across all sectors of New York’s economy. At the Governor’s direction, New York will move boldly to achieve this goal with specific near-term actions and long-term strategies to spur unparalleled innovation and transform the state’s electric, transportation, and building infrastructure while prioritizing the needs of low- and moderate-income New Yorkers. This landmark initiative will further drive the growth of New York’s clean energy economy, create tens of thousands of high-quality 21st century jobs, provide all New Yorkers with cleaner air and water by reducing harmful emissions, and set an example of climate leadership for the rest of the nation and world to follow.
Proposal. Mandate 100 Percent Clean Power by 2040
As part of the Green New Deal, Governor Cuomo is proposing a mandate of 100 percent clean, carbon-free electricity in New York State by 2040, the most aggressive goal in the United States and five years sooner than the target recently adopted by California. The cornerstone of this new goal is an increase of New York’s successful Clean Energy Standard mandate from 50 percent to 70 percent renewable electricity by 2030. This globally unprecedented ramp-up of renewable energy will include:
- 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
Achieving 100 percent carbon-free electricity will require investments in resources capable of meeting diverse demands throughout the state, as well as a substantial increase in cost-effective energy efficiency. Harnessing a complementary set of carbon-free energy resources will assure reliability and affordability for all New Yorkers as the electricity system is both modernized and optimized. To ensure that clean energy opportunities are available for those that need it most, as part of this nation-leading commitment, Governor Cuomo is directing the New York State Energy Research and Development Authority (NYSERDA), in concert with the Department of Public Service (DPS), to expand and enhance their Solar For All program and couple it with energy savings opportunities, increasing access to affordable and clean energy for low-income, environmental justice and other underserved communities.
Proposal. New York’s Path to Carbon Neutrality
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 plan to make New York carbon neutral. 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 Climate Action Council will also identify and make recommendations on regulatory measures, clean energy programs, and other State actions and policies that will ensure the attainment of statewide emission reduction and carbon neutrality goals. The Council will consider programs and measures that can significantly and cost-effectively reduce emissions from all major sources, including electricity, transportation, buildings, industry, commercial activity, and agriculture. The Council will also explore opportunities for the beneficial electrification of transportation and heating of buildings as a means to drive substantial and deep emissions reductions. Finally, the Council will make recommendations to ensure a just transition to the clean energy economy for New York’s world-class workforce and most vulnerable citizens.
The Climate Action Council will commence its work immediately in order to support the development of the next State Energy Plan over the next two years and will provide meaningful opportunities for public comment as it develops New York’s first carbon neutrality roadmap.
Proposal. A Multibillion Dollar Investment in the Clean Tech Economy that will Reduce Greenhouse Gas Emissions
Demonstrating New York’s real-time commitment to implementing the most ambitious clean energy agenda in the United States, Governor Cuomo is also announcing $1.5 billion in competitive awards to support 20 large-scale solar, wind, and energy storage projects across upstate New York. These projects will drive a total of $4 billion in direct investment in New York’s growing clean energy economy, as well as add over 1,650 megawatts of capacity and generate over 3,800,000 megawatt-hours of renewable energy annually – enough to power nearly 550,000 homes and create over 2,600 short-term and long-term jobs. Once all permitting and local requirements are met, several projects are expected to break ground as early as August 2019 and all projects are expected to be operational by 2022. The projects will reduce carbon emissions by more than 2 million metric tons, equivalent to taking nearly 437,000 cars off the road. 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, accelerating New York’s progress and commitment to Governor Cuomo’s Green New Deal.
Proposal. Expand NY Green Bank and Catalyze at Least $1 Billion in Private Capital
In 2013, Governor Cuomo announced NY Green Bank, a $1 billion investment fund designed to accelerate clean energy deployment. Since then, NY Green Bank has become globally recognized as a leading sustainable infrastructure investor, committing nearly $640 million and mobilizing nearly $1.75 billion in private capital for clean energy projects across the state.
Building on NY Green Bank’s successful and self-sustaining track record, Governor Cuomo announced in the fall of 2017 that NY Green Bank would raise at least $1 billion of private capital and expand its clean energy investing activities nationally. To deliver on that commitment and further support the Green New Deal, Governor Cuomo is now calling for the development of terms for a public-private partnership to effectuate NY Green Bank’s third-party capital raise and national expansion.
Proposal. Chart a Path to Making New York’s Statewide Building Stock Carbon Neutral
Buildings – and the fossil fuels traditionally used to heat and cool them – are a significant source of energy-related carbon pollution. As such, Governor Cuomo has made the improvement of energy efficiency in buildings a major priority. The Governor’s New Efficiency: New York agenda, released on Earth Day 2018, contains a comprehensive portfolio of proposals and strategies to meet an ambitious new target of reducing on-site energy consumption by 185 trillion BTUs by 2025. In addition, Governor Cuomo launched RetrofitNY in 2016 to stimulate the development of an energy efficiency industry that can tackle the challenge of deep building retrofits that will enhance building performance, reduce energy usage, and
Because buildings are one of the most significant sources of greenhouse gas emissions, Governor Cuomo is announcing a comprehensive strategy as part of the Green New Deal to move New York’s building stock to carbon neutrality. The agenda includes:
- Advancing legislative changes to support energy efficiency including establishing appliance efficiency standards, strengthening building energy codes, requiring annual building energy benchmarking, disclosing energy efficiency in home sales, and expanding the ability of state facilities to utilize performance contracting.
- Directing the Public Service Commission to ensure that New York’s electric and gas utilities achieve more in scale, innovation, and cost effectiveness to achieve the state’s 2025 energy efficiency target, especially through their energy efficiency activities and clean heating and cooling programs, and that a substantial portion of new energy efficiency activity benefits low- and moderate-income New Yorkers.
- Directing State agencies to ensure that their facilities lead by example through energy master planning, net zero carbon construction, LED retrofits, annual benchmarking, and by meeting their electricity needs through clean and renewable sources of energy, specifically including the exploration of clean energy solutions at State Parks and at State facilities within the Adirondack Park to dramatically reduce emissions, create jobs, and increase resiliency.
- Developing a Net Zero Roadmap to articulate policies and programs that will enable longer-term market transformation to a statewide carbon neutral building stock.
- Together, these bold actions will establish New York as a global leader on environmentally sustainable buildings while catalyzing major economic development opportunities and helping to create good jobs.
Proposal. Direct State Agencies and Authorities to Pursue Strategies to Decarbonize their Investment Funds and Ramp Up Investment in Clean Energy
In 2018, Governor Cuomo called on the New York Common Fund, which manages over $200 billion in retirement assets for more than one million New Yorkers, to adopt a serious and responsible plan for decarbonizing its portfolio. Over the past year, the Governor has worked with the Office of the Comptroller to establish an advisory panel of experts to develop a decarbonization roadmap and guide the Common Fund toward investment opportunities that combat climate change.
As part of the Green New Deal, Governor Cuomo is taking the next step, by directing State authorities, public benefit corporations, and the State Insurance Fund, which collectively hold approximately $40 billion in investments, to commence a process to review and evaluate the feasibility and appropriateness of divesting from fossil fuels. To scale up investment in renewable energy, green infrastructure, and climate solutions, agencies and authorities will also work to educate plan administrators and investment consultants regarding investment opportunities in the clean energy sector.
Proposal. Increase Carbon Sequestration and Meet the U.S. Climate Alliance Natural and Working Lands Challenge
In 2015, Governor Cuomo launched the Climate Resilient Farming Program to reduce greenhouse gas emissions from agriculture and to increase resiliency of New York State farms impacted by climate change. Just last year, New York accepted the U.S. Climate Alliance’s Natural and Working Lands challenge, ensuring that land stewardship and land sequestration efforts join energy reduction and adaptation activities as part of our collective climate solutions.
To meet our Natural and Working Lands commitment, Governor Cuomo will establish new research partnerships to incorporate forest and agricultural carbon into New York’s greenhouse gas inventory and climate strategy and to establish a carbon sequestration goal for our natural and working lands. To help achieve this goal, Governor Cuomo proposes doubling the State’s investment in the Climate Resilient Farming program and creating new forestry grant programs—enhancing the Healthy Soils NY program and enabling farmers, forest owners, and communities to achieve the economic and environmental co-benefits of sound management practices.
Proposal. Create a Carbon-to-Value Innovation Agenda and Establish the CarbonWorks Foundry
Avoiding the worst consequences of climate change will require not only reductions in emissions using existing technologies, but also innovation, particularly with respect to withdrawing CO2 from the Earth’s atmosphere. Innovative new technologies are emerging in response to this challenge that can capture CO2 from the atmosphere and either permanently sequester the carbon underground or transform it into valuable fuel or products, known as carbon-to-value. While many of these technologies are still in their infancy, they show promise in the collective fight to address climate change.
Accordingly, Governor Cuomo is announcing that in 2019, New York State, with the help of experts, environmental groups, academic institutions, and other stakeholders will create a Carbon-to-Value Innovation Agenda as a blueprint for the future of carbon-to-value technology as well as carbon capture, utilization and storage in New York. NYSERDA will provide $15 million to support multiple efforts to further New York’s Carbon-to-Value Innovation Agenda. This will include NYSERDA and SUNY working with academic institutions, experts, and philanthropic partners to establish the CarbonWorks Foundry, a new incubator and accelerator devoted to carbon-to-value technology development with a focus on carbon harvesting. Finally, NYSERDA will engage other State agencies to create a framework for a low-carbon procurement standard, which can create a market for low-carbon cement and concrete, building materials, and other valuable low-emissions products.
Proposal. Deliver Climate Justice for Underserved Communities
In 2016, the Governor introduced an ambitious environmental justice framework, establishing a statewide commitment to addressing the historic disparate environmental burdens suffered by communities of color and low-income communities. In 2017, he introduced an Environmental Justice and Just Transition Working Group to ensure that environmental justice and a just transition of New York’s workforce are an integral part of New York’s clean energy and climate agenda. In the past 3 years, New York State has invested more than $16 million through the Environmental Protection Fund in environmental justice initiatives. New York also currently has over 151,000 individuals employed by clean energy industries throughout the state and has committed $70 million in workforce training in the clean energy economy. As part of the Green New Deal, Governor Cuomo will build upon these important foundations for making environmental justice and just transition central to moving to a carbon neutral economy.
The Green New Deal will help historically underserved communities prepare for a clean energy future and adapt to climate change 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 transition. To increase the effect of funds and initiatives that target energy affordability, the Governor is directing the State’s low-income energy task force to identify reforms to achieve greater impact of the public energy funds expended each year. The Governor is also directing each of the State’s ten Regional Economic Development Councils to develop an environmental justice strategy for their region.
New York State currently directs more than $700 million in ratepayer and federal funds each year to combat energy poverty and increase access to clean energy solutions for the 2.3 million low-income households in the state. However, current programs only reach 1.4 million households each year with bill assistance programs, and less than 20,000 households each year with clean energy measures.
As part of the Green New Deal, Governor Cuomo will address energy poverty in New York State by directing the low-income energy task force, comprised of NYSERDA, DPS, OTDA, and HCR, to develop a roadmap and unified strategy to increase the impact of funds and initiatives that target energy affordability. Specifically, the Governor is directing the task force to assess policy, programmatic, and administrative reforms necessary to achieve greater impact of public funds expended each year.
Proposal. Create a Fund to Help Communities Impacted by the Transition Dirty Power
Governor Cuomo is introducing legislation to provide funding to help communities that are directly affected by the transition away from conventional energy industries and toward the new clean energy economy. Specifically, this funding will protect communities impacted by the retirement of conventional power generation facilities. The Governor is also calling upon the Environmental and Just Transition Working Group to contribute to and advise on the development of a Just Transition Roadmap for the Green New Deal.
Proposal. Develop Clean Tech Workforce and Protect Labor Rights
To ensure creation of high-quality clean energy jobs, large-scale renewable energy projects supported by the Green New Deal will continue to require prevailing wage, and the State’s offshore wind projects will be supported by a requirement for a Project Labor Agreement. 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.
Proposal. Make New York the National Hub for Offshore Wind and Deploy 9,000 Megawatts by 2035
New York is leading the nation on offshore wind, which, as an emerging clean energy industry in the U.S., has tremendous potential for both the energy sector and economic development in the state. Called for by Governor Cuomo and released in 2018, New York’s Offshore Wind Master Plan is the most comprehensive offshore wind strategy in the country and has charted the course for this energy resource to play a significant role in achieving a carbon-free electricity grid. In November 2018, New York issued its first major offshore wind solicitation for at least 800 megawatts, which will set the stage for large-scale development of this important resource and the economic advantages that come with it.
To ensure New York State is the focal point for offshore wind development and this growing industry, Governor Cuomo is proposing nearly quadrupling the State’s target for offshore wind deployment from 2,400 megawatts by 2030 to 9,000 megawatts by 2035, the most aggressive offshore wind goal in U.S. history. To complement this bold statement of national and global leadership, Governor Cuomo is directing new actions, as part of the Green New Deal, to accelerate offshore wind progress in three specific areas: port infrastructure, workforce development, and transmission infrastructure.
- Ports: Invest $200 million in New York port infrastructure to unlock private supply chain capital and maximize the long-term economic benefits to the state from the regional development of offshore wind. This multi-location investment would represent the nation’s largest infrastructure commitment to offshore wind and would solidify New York’s position as the hub of the burgeoning U.S. offshore wind industry.
- Workforce Development: Establish a New York State Advisory Council on Offshore Wind Economic and Workforce Development and invest in an offshore wind training center that will provide New Yorkers with the skills and safety training required to construct this clean energy technology right here in New York.
- Transmission: Initiate a first of its kind effort to evaluate and facilitate the development of an offshore transmission grid that can benefit New York ratepayers by driving down offshore wind generation and integration costs.
The development and adoption of offshore wind is a critical component of the transition to a clean energy economy and presents a major economic opportunity for New Yorkers, including the creation of thousands of high-quality jobs. With these new commitments, the New York will continue to lead in this exciting and developing field.