Plan establishes a roadmap for the achievement of New York’s aggressive statewide decarbonization goals
ALBANY, NY, December 19, 2022 – Today, national business group Advanced Energy Economy (AEE) congratulated New York State’s Climate Action Council on the release of its final scoping plan to implement the clean energy and decarbonization goals of New York’s 2019 Climate Leadership and Community Protection Act (Climate Act).
“New York now has a plan for removing most carbon emissions from the state’s economy, an ambitious and laudable goal that will increase clean energy use, put more New Yorkers to work, and support local economies,” said Angela Kent, Policy Principal at AEE. “With a decarbonization plan in hand, Governor Hochul and state leaders should act swiftly to implement the plan’s recommendations, especially in order to make it easier for clean energy projects to connect to the grid, and create new financial incentives for communities to switch to clean energy.”
The Climate Act mandates that 100% of the electricity used in the state comes from zero-emission sources by 2040. The Council’s plan outlines dozens of policy recommendations that would place New York on track to meet its aggressive carbon reduction goals, such as maximizing the consideration of energy efficiency and other demand-side resources, electrifying the buildings sector, allowing the direct-sale of electric vehicles, and instituting economy-wide strategies such as a carbon-free/ clean fuel standard for the transportation sector. Meeting the Climate Act’s goal will also require the deployment of new large-scale renewable generation, which unfortunately has been slowed by transmission constraints, permitting challenges, local tax agreement issues, and a lengthy interconnection process through the New York Independent System Operator, New York’s regional transmission organization.
“Additional improvements to permitting and local siting requirements will be necessary,” said Kent. “Fixing systemic issues will require a mix of technical solutions, such as increasing energy storage and transmission capacity, as well as policy reforms, such as utility performance incentives and integrating the emission reduction goals into the wholesale market.”
Furthermore, while the Council’s plan establishes a roadmap for New York to reach its clean energy goals, a funding source must still be identified to ensure that the final plan is able to live up to its potential. AEE thus encouraged Governor Hochul and state leaders to create a carbon cap and invest program to ensure the State can meet its ambitious goals.
“A cap and invest program has the potential to be a key element of New York’s strategy for cost effectively meeting New York’s decarbonization goals on the Climate Act’s aggressive timeline,” said Kent. “Establishing a carbon cap and invest program would provide across-the-board incentives to reduce energy use and shift to cleaner fuels, and is an essential price signal for redirecting new investment to clean technologies. A carbon cap and invest program can also fund public investments needed for advanced energy infrastructure, such as power grid extensions and transmission upgrades.”
The incentives generated by a cap and invest program can be reinforced with regulations on emission rates or 'feebates,' whose fees and rebates for products (for example, vehicles or appliances) or firms (for example, power generators or steel producers) depend on the intensity of their emissions. A cap and invest program can also be implemented through emissions trading where firms would have to acquire allowances for each ton of greenhouse gases they emit, with the supply of such permits limited by government. Businesses can buy and sell allowances, thus establishing a price for emissions.
Prioritizing these and other policy drivers for the implementation of the Council’s plan will also lead to more job opportunities in New York. AEE’s newly published New York Advanced Energy Jobs Fact Sheet shows that, as of 2021, more than 172,000 New Yorkers were employed in the advanced energy sector. These workers stand at the ready to provide the technological know-how to help ensure New York’s clean energy goals become a reality.