Building on big plans for renewables unveiled during his recent State of the State address, Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo, D-N.Y., has announced the New York State Public Service Commission’s (PSC) approval of a 10-year, $5 billion Clean Energy Fund.
According to the governor, the fund will accelerate the growth of New York’s clean energy economy, address climate change, strengthen resiliency in the face of extreme weather, and lower energy bills for New Yorkers starting this year. Additionally, Cuomo says the fund will attract and leverage third-party capital to support his commitment to a 50% by 2030 renewable portfolio standard (RPS).
“New York is a national leader in combating climate change and growing the clean energy economy – and today we are taking the next big step forward,” remarks Cuomo. “This unparalleled $5 billion investment will leverage more than $29 billion in private-sector funding and open the door to new clean energy opportunities for years to come.
“We are raising the bar when it comes to increasing the use of renewable energy and reducing harmful carbon emissions, and I am proud that the Empire State is continuing to set the example for the future.”
The $5 billion Clean Energy Fund, to be administered by the New York State Energy Research and Development Authority (NYSERDA), is projected to result in more than $39 billion in customer bill savings over the next 10 years through innovative projects and private-public partnerships. In addition to the $39 billion in overall customer savings, as a result of this PSC action, consumers and businesses are expected to see lower costs of $1.5 billion over the next 10 years, including an immediate reduction of $91 million from 2016 electric and gas costs compared to 2015.
According to the governor’s office, the fund will operate four major portfolios:
Market Development ($2.7 billion): NYSERDA will undertake a variety of activities to stimulate consumer demand for clean energy and energy efficiency while helping to build supply chains to meet that growing demand. At least $234.5 million must be invested in initiatives that benefit low- to moderate-income New Yorkers during the first three years of the fund.
NY-Sun ($961 million): The governor says the fund finalizes the funding and confirms the long-term commitment for NY-Sun and for the growing solar electric market and industry, which currently employs more than 7,000 people across 538 solar companies in the state, by supporting rapid and continued cost reduction.
NY Green Bank ($782 million): To leverage private-sector investment, expand the availability of capital and increase confidence in lending for clean energy projects, the fund will complete the capitalization of the NY Green Bank. The fund will increase the NY Green Bank’s total investment to $1 billion and leverage an estimated $8 billion in private investment.
Innovation and Research ($717 million): The governor says the fund will help spur innovations through research and technology development that will drive cleantech business growth and job creation, while providing more energy choices to residential and business customers.
After Cuomo officially proposed the creation of a 50% by 2030 RPS and directed the PSC to establish enforceable mandates for renewable power by June, the commission has now approved a public process to adopt such an RPS that will also include a separate support mechanism for upstate nuclear power plants. Because nuclear facilities do not produce greenhouse-gas emissions, the PSC says they will help the state transition to a future under the new RPS without losing ground on emission reductions.
In the Clean Energy Fund order, the commission also allocated $150 million for the development of new Large Scale Renewables power projects in 2016. As the PSC develops a 50% by 2030 RPS, it says will create new incentives for large-scale renewables and a new mechanism to prevent the premature retirement of upstate nuclear power plants during this transition.
The commission has also taken other steps to advance Cuomo’s Reforming the Energy Vision Strategy, or REV, by directing major electric and gas utilities to develop new energy efficiency programs, on both a regional and statewide basis. It has also established a benefit-cost analysis framework for evaluating new energy proposals, such as smaller, cleaner power plants, to determine whether they meet the energy- and cost-saving goals of REV.
To read more about Cuomo’s other recent clean energy plans, click here.