Those wondering when New York state was going to finally get around to taking renewable energy seriously may have to wonder no more, based on the content of the New York State Energy Research and Development Authority’s just revealed Clean Energy Fund (CEF) plan.
The 10-year, $5 billion dollar plan — which is still pending approval — would put the state’s relatively ambitious goals of cutting greenhouse gas emissions by 40% by the year 2030, and 80% by the year 2050, within reach, according to those behind it.
The new plan was unveiled as part of a recent report from New York State Energy Research and Development Authority (NYSERDA) that argues that, without significant changes to renewable energy policies, those goals are unobtainable. The report thusly added that, from 2016, a Clean Energy Fund was needed, and a new course of action.
Among the report’s plans is an increased focus on distributed generation, the meeting of supply-side GHG reductions through “business and technology innovation,” and the improvement of public awareness of and access to clean energy solutions. These plans will require an extra $3.857 billion in funding, on top of the current funding commitments. NYSERDA argues that this can be achieved concurrently with reduced monetary levies on electricity consumers. For this to happen, NYSERDA needs permission to spend the balances already accrued from current policies, which have been accumulating due to slow project development.
This accumulating pile of cash has, rightly, been a target of criticism by many — why are energy consumers paying so much every year to fund renewables if the money isn’t even being disbursed?
The new plan aims to right that, by utilizing the saved money and slowly reducing the limit on the maximum that ratepayers contribute to renewables programs. This number currently stands at $925 million a year. The plan would see it fall to $700 million in 2016, $650 million three years after that, $625 million in 2020, and then to $400 million from the years of 2021 to 2025, before slowly dwindling down to nothing by the year 2027. These numbers would, according to NYSERDA, still allow for the state’s ambitious goals to be achieved, which would entail $4.946 billion in clean energy and energy efficiency expenditures.
Image Credit: NYSERDA
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