New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo proposed Tuesday a state target of 800 MW in offshore wind projects and a $200 million investment in energy storage to upgrade transmission infrastructure and combat climate change over the coming years.
Cuomo’s latest proposal from his 2018 State of the State goals seeks to expand his office’s ambitious clean energy plans in the Reforming the Energy Vision program. The latest move includes energy efficiency, storage and emissions reductions on existing power plants, among other things.
"New Yorkers know too well the devastation caused by climate change, and in order to slow the effects of extreme weather and build our communities to be stronger and more resilient, we must make significant investments in renewable energy," Cuomo said in his statement. "With this proposal, New York is taking bold action to fight climate change and protect our environment, while supporting and growing 21st century jobs in these cutting-edge renewable industries."
The 2018 Clean Energy Jobs and Climate Agenda—which will be part of his State of the State address Wednesday—touches on nearly all renewable energy resources, battery technologies and air pollution controls for peaker power generation units. If approved in whole, it could issue solicitations to develop at least 800 MW of offshore wind projects in 2018 and 2019, invest $200 million to reach an energy storage target of 1,500 MW by 2025 and create “zero-cost solar” programs for low-income New Yorkers.
Renewable advocacy groups applauded Cuomo’s targets, not surprisingly. Sean Garren, Northeast senior director of Vote Solar, noted that the governor’s ambitions need the support of regulators and other political leaders statewide.
“Community solar is one of the state's most promising opportunities to truly deliver clean energy access to all of New Yorkers,” Garren said in a statement. “While the Governor's words of support are encouraging, real progress depends on the continued commitment and hard work of the Public Service Commission and NYSERDA (New York State Energy Research and Development Authority) to get us there. Vote Solar will continue to work with all stakeholders and push for community solar to succeed in 2018."
Furthermore, Cuomo will direct the state’s Department of Environmental Conservation to make rules implementing a 30-percent cap reduction of carbon dioxide from the electric power sector. He also wants the DEC to adopt regulations ending the use of coal by the state’s power plants within two years.
He said these types of reforms provide billions of dollars in public health and economic benefits.
Critics previously have questioned Cuomo’s use of power to achieve his environmental ends, arguing that he has turned the state’s Public Service Commission into an arm of executive power.