- Albany Community Groups and Leaders Ask for Strong Renewable Energy Commitment

For Immediate Release: May 17, 2016

Albany Community Groups and Leaders Ask for Strong Renewable Energy Commitment

Albany Hosts the Fourth of Twelve Clean Energy Standard (CES) Hearings

Albany, N.Y. – Community leaders, elected officials and local residents called on Governor Cuomo to make an enforceable commitment to renewable energy that includes large scale offshore wind power and supports local in-state renewable energy at the Albany Clean Energy Standard (CES) public hearing today. By requiring utilities and public energy authorities to purchase a certain amount of renewable power each year, the CES will help the Governor achieve his goal of generating 50 percent of New York State’s electricity from renewables by 2030. There are 12 public hearings throughout the state this month that will help to determine the future of New York’s clean energy programs.

In addition to the hearing, Senators Liz Krueger and Brad Hoylman released a letter today, signed by 20 state senators echoing the call for enforceable renewable targets and a commitment to developing offshore wind. The letter stressed the climate and jobs potential of a long-term, large-scale offshore wind program which could power millions of homes and create thousands of new home grown jobs.

“A commitment to an enforceable renewable energy standard is crucial in providing thousands of local, good-paying jobs and helping New York grow its economy as it transitions away from dirty fossil fuels,” said Lisa Dix, Senior New York Representative for the Sierra Club’s Beyond Coal Campaign. “Governor Cuomo should establish energy efficiency targets to lower the overall costs of the program and prioritize building renewable energy in New York.”

“Climate change is the most pressing and challenging issue of our time,” said Conor Bambrick, Air & Energy Director for Environmental Advocates of New York. “Governor Cuomo has responded by facing the issue head on and setting some of the most aggressive climate and clean energy goals in the nation. The Clean Energy Standard is a critical component in the Governor’s plan. The key to its success will be found in the ability of the state to hold utilities accountable for meeting their renewable energy targets in all corners of New York.”

"New York's Clean Energy Standard goal of generating 50 percent of the state's electricity from renewable energy sources by 2030 is a welcome and achievable goal," said Anne Reynolds, executive director, Alliance for Clean Energy NY. "Across the state and the country, energy firms are watching this proceeding with the hope that New York will create a competitive program that brings independent renewable energy companies into the market. The Clean Energy Standard will allow the state to build a clean energy future that will maximize economic investment, create new jobs, drive down costs and reduce carbon emissions. And it is competition that will make sure the most efficient and effective generating projects are built, benefiting both consumers and the environment."

In December 2015, Governor Cuomo directed New York’s Public Service Commission (PSC) to create a Clean Energy Standard mandating that New York power 50 percent of its electric sector with renewable energy by 2030, putting the state in line with the existing goal of reducing climate pollution 40 percent by 2030. In early 2016, the PSC put forward a first proposal on the Clean Energy Standard with a goal of finalizing it by mid-year. However, to achieve that goal, New York will need to double renewable energy generation within 14 years by committing to increased energy efficiency and solar, coupled with a large-scale offshore wind program.  

"The Governor's commitment to creating an enforceable Clean Energy Standard gives New York a strong claim to being the national leader on climate,” said Senator Liz Krueger. “But to meet our ambitious 50 by 30 goals, offshore wind must be a significant component of our energy mix. Offshore wind is a win-win for our state, with the potential to stabilize our energy prices, clean our air, and create thousands of jobs, all while putting us on track to avert climate catastrophe. I urge Governor Cuomo and the PSC to go all in for our climate future, and include an offshore wind tier in the Clean Energy Standard."

An offshore wind tier would help launch an entirely new industry, with the capacity to power millions of homes, foster locational diversity for renewable energy development, produce millions of dollars in economic investments and spur new economic development and manufacturing opportunities statewide. In addition to jumpstarting an offshore wind industry, the Clean Energy Standard should also prioritize in-state local renewables. Increased solar, onshore wind and offshore wind will give New York the opportunity to become a regional incubator for a growing industry, all while making deep cuts in the state’s climate pollution.

“New York can no longer afford to ignore the golden opportunity of offshore wind power,” said Catherine Bowes, Senior Manager at the National Wildlife Federation. “The Clean Energy Standard must provide the market certainty needed to launch New York offshore wind power at the scale necessary to spark massive job creation, reduce local air pollution and protect our wildlife and communities from the dangers of climate change.”

Beyond establishing an enforceable yearly target for renewable energy growth, the groups also asked Governor Cuomo and the Commission to establish an enforceable energy efficiency goal for utilities with a requirement that at least two percent annual energy savings are achieved. Neighboring states have already surpassed this amount of annual energy savings and have significant reductions in consumer’s electricity costs.

###

Contact:

Emily Pomilio, Sierra Club, (480) 286-0401Emily.pomilio@sierraclub.org 
Anne Reynolds, Alliance for Clean Energy New York (ACE NY), (518) 248-4556, areynolds@aceny.org