Bold Clean Energy Bill Advances In New York


The New York state legislature has passed a landmark climate change bill, proposing 70% renewable electricity supply by 2030 and 100% zero-emissions electricity supply by 2040.

The State Senate calls the Climate Leadership and Community Protection Act (CLPA) “the most comprehensive and aggressive climate change legislation in the nation.” It now heads to the desk of Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo, D-N.Y.

The bill, S.B.6599, was agreed to earlier this week by Cuomo and the state Senate and Assembly. Regarding the bill’s passage by the legislature, Cuomo says in a statement, “As Washington turns a blind eye and rolls back decades of environmental protections, New York turns to a future of net-zero emissions.”

State Sen. Todd Kaminsky, the bill’s sponsor, says, “While Washington is asleep at the wheel, New York is leading the way. The CLPA will virtually eliminate New York’s greenhouse gases, foster renewable energy production, create green jobs, invest in lower-income communities and protect our planet. New Yorkers and the world cannot wait any longer. This is the moment for bold, global change, and I’m proud to say New York is leading the nation.”

The bill also mandates 9 GW of offshore wind capacity installed by 2035 – a goal Cuomo called for in his 2019 State of the State address, which outlined a Green New Deal.

According to Joe Martens, director of the New York Offshore Wind Alliance (NYOWA), the bill’s offshore wind provision “sends a strong and unequivocal message to offshore wind developers and related businesses that New York is committed to offshore wind development now and long into the future.”

“In effect,” he says, “offshore wind has been established as the cornerstone to meeting the state’s newly adopted commitments to reduce and ultimately eliminate greenhouse gases and reach its renewable energy targets. NYOWA looks forward to making the state’s offshore wind goals a reality.”

The legislation also includes a requirement for 6 GW of local, distributed solar energy by 2025, which is enough to power 1 million homes throughout New York, according to Vote Solar. A report released earlier this year by Vote Solar estimates that achieving this solar goal would sustain more than 11,000 jobs between now and 2025.

Sean Garren, Vote Solar’s Northeast senior director, notes that the bill also includes funding for low-income and environmental justice communities, “which will help ensure New York is building a new energy economy that is both clean and just.”

As laid out by the State Senate, the bill includes the following provisions:

  • Minimizes the adverse impacts of climate change by reducing statewide greenhouse-gas emissions;
  • Improves the state’s resiliency to the certain effects and risks of climate change;
  • Ensures that the ongoing transition of the state’s energy sector will create good jobs and protect workers and communities during the transition process;
  • Prioritizes the safety and health of disadvantaged communities, controls the potential regressive impacts of future climate change mitigation, and adopts policies for these communities; and
  • Reviews and prioritizes the allocation of public investments.

Rhea Suh, president of the Natural Resources Defense Council, says New York is “now in a league of its own on climate action.”

“This bill will help fundamentally transform the state’s economy, slash climate pollution, and help create a more just and equitable society,” Suh continues. “There is no doubt that New York’s leadership sets the bar for the rest of the nation.”

Anne Reynolds, executive director of the Alliance for Clean Energy New York, says the renewables industry “stands ready to help New York meet these exciting and ambitious clean energy goals.”

She adds, “This law dramatically changes the landscape for clean energy and climate policy and will require urgent action to get new wind and solar projects in operation.”

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