In his annual State of the State address, New York Governor Andrew Cuomo announced on Tuesday plans to significantly upgrade the state’s renewable energy targets, including quadrupling its offshore wind target to 9 gigawatts (GW) by 2035 and doubling distributed solar to 6 GW by 2025.
In a wide-ranging speech outlining his budget and policy intentions for his first 100 days in 2019, New York Governor Andrew Cuomo unveiled his Social, Economic, and Racial Justice Agenda for 2019 which included everything from legalizing marijuana to tax cuts. While much of what the Governor proposed will require legislative approval, last year’s election has provided him with a Democrat-held State Legislature, the first time in Cuomo’s eight years in office.
Focusing specifically on the renewable energy aspects of his policy promises, Governor Cuomo unveiled a plan to mandate 100% clean energy by 2040 — the most aggressive such goal in the United States which, if approved, would set a target five years earlier than California’s recently-adopted target. The cornerstone of the Governor’s plan is an increase to New York’s already successful Clean Energy Standard mandate, from 50% to 70% renewable electricity by 2030 which would include significant increases to specific technology targets.
Specifically, and most impressively, Governor Cuomo proposed quadrupling New York’s offshore wind target from 2.4 GW by 2030 to 9 GW by 2035 and doubling distributed solar deployment to 6 GW by 2025, up from 3 GW by 2023. Additionally, Cuomo proposed more than doubling new large-scale land-based wind and solar resources through the Clean Energy Standard, maximizing the contributions and potential of New York’s existing renewable resources, and deploying 3 GW of energy storage by 2030.
As part of the proposed plans to expand New York’s offshore wind energy target, Governor Cuomo is also planning expansions to the state’s ports, workforce development, and transmission infrastructure. Governor Cuomo is proposing investing $200 million into New York’s port infrastructure in an effort to unlock private supply chain capital and maximize long-term economic benefits through regional offshore wind development. The aim of the investment is to solidify New York’s position as the country’s leading offshore wind hub and would be the largest infrastructure commitment to offshore wind in the country.
Unsurprisingly, the Governor’s proposals were warmly welcomed across the industry.
“By more than tripling the New York’s already impressive offshore wind goal, Governor Cuomo has redefined offshore wind ambition nationwide,” said Nancy Sopko, Director, Offshore Wind Policy & Siting at the American Wind Energy Association, speaking via email. “New York’s new goal also underscores the importance of ongoing efforts to identify new lease areas amid fierce competition from major energy developers to be the first to harness world-class U.S. offshore wind resources at scale.”
“We thank Governor Cuomo for making offshore wind energy a critical piece of his mandate to get to 100% ‘clean, carbon-free’ electricity by 2040 and for increasing the state’s offshore wind target from 2,400 megawatts by 2030 to 9,000 MW by 2035,” said Liz Burdock, CEO & President of the Business Network for Offshore Wind. “This is a massive increase and sends a clear message to the industry that New York is taking a leadership position in the U.S. offshore wind market.
“We also thank the Governor for asking for $200 million in port infrastructure, and investments in a training center and the development of an offshore transmission grid to make development more efficient and affordable for taxpayers and ratepayers. New York is off to a great start in 2019.”
“We commend Governor Cuomo for continuing to move New York ahead on solar energy,” said Abigail Ross Hopper, president and CEO of the Solar Energy Industries Association. “His plan to double the NY Sun goal and extend the incentive program will provide much-needed certainty for the distributed solar market. Furthermore, the announcement of 16 new large-scale solar awards builds on the 22 solar projects selected last spring.
“Together, these groundbreaking investments in solar energy will create thousands of jobs, generate billions of dollars in investment, and bring clean and affordable energy to the residents of New York state. We look forward to working with the Governor’s Office and the Legislature to bring New Yorkers all the benefits that solar has to offer.”
“New York was the birthplace of the environmental movement—and it can be the home of green resistance to the Trump administration today,” said Rich Schrader, New York Political Director at the Natural Resources Defense Council. “The Governor made several promises that can help us rise to that challenge. This includes growing the state’s solar power industry, choosing wind turbines over oil rigs off our shores, safeguarding our drinking water, and tackling New York City’s traffic congestion. We’ve achieved great progress over the past eight years—and it has never been more critical to double down on building a better future for our children and grandchildren. We look forward to working with Governor Cuomo to deliver on these ambitious commitments.”
“With this announcement, Governor Cuomo has boldly raised the bar in America’s pursuit of the transformational clean energy opportunity blowing in the winds offshore — and substantial local investments and job creation will follow,” said Collin O’Mara, president and CEO of National Wildlife Federation. “The National Wildlife Federation applauds this historic and visionary leadership to seize this critical climate change solution and looks forward to working with the Cuomo Administration and industry leaders to ensure that all projects built to power New York are developed responsibly with strong protections for wildlife in place.”
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