Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo, D-N.Y., has directed the New York State Department of Public Service to design and enact a new clean energy standard mandating that 50% of all electricity consumed in New York by 2030 come from clean and renewable energy sources.
Under Cuomo, New York has taken bold action to modernize its energy system through the Reforming the Energy Vision (REV) plan, which laid the groundwork for the state and private sector to aggressively add renewables. Now, the governor says, the clean energy standard provides a cost-effective, efficient and enforceable mandate to meet the goal of ensuring clean, resilient and affordable energy for all New Yorkers. It will result in lower costs for renewable energy and create new opportunities to scale large renewable energy projects, according to Cuomo.Â
The regulatory process to develop the clean energy standard will include the opportunity for full and complete public and stakeholder participation. State law requires that the Public Service Commission take all reasonable steps to meet New York's goals set forth in the state's energy plan.
The governor's directive sets forth a time frame by which the commission should act. The new standard, which will be developed by the Department of Public Service to complement Cuomo's REV plan, is expected to be presented to the Public Service Commission by June 2016.
"Climate change is one of the defining issues of our time, and we must act now," the governor states. "As discussions continue in Paris, we are taking real, enforceable actions in New York to lay the foundation for a thriving clean energy economy. With one of the most aggressive renewable energy goals of any state in the nation, we are leading by example to ensure the possibility of a bright future for generations to come."
Additionally, the governor has directed the Department of Public Service to develop a process to prevent the premature retirement of safe, upstate nuclear power plants during this transition. As New York state continues to aggressively add new renewable resources, it cannot lose ground in the fight to reduce carbon pollution through the unnecessary retirement of safely operating nuclear power plants in Upstate New York, says the governor.Â
According to Cuomo, the early closure of those plants would result in increased carbon pollution from fossil fuel generators, reduced fuel diversity and unstable electric prices, as well as job losses and economic distress in upstate communities. Support for nuclear plants is separate and distinct from the 50% renewable energy mandate.
Richard Kauffman, chair of energy and finance for New York state and a participant in the COP 21 talks in Paris, says, "Today's announcement codifies New York's commitment to powering statewide economic development with clean, affordable energy. The creation of a clean energy standard is good public policy for the environment and our economy."
The governor's full letter to the department can be found here.