NY Governor Hochul: 10 Gigawatts of Distributed Solar Energy by 2030

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Enough Clean Solar Energy to Power Nearly 700,000 Additional New York Homes Annually

Expected to Spur Approximately $4.4 Billion in Private Investments, Creating 6,000 Additional Solar Jobs — With Prevailing Wage Requirement for Projects Above One MW

40 Percent of Benefits to Disadvantaged Communities, Low- to Moderate-Income New Yorkers

Supports State’s Climate Leadership and Community Protection Act Goal to Generate 70 Percent of State’s Electricity from Renewables by 2030

Governor Kathy Hochul, in advance of Earth Week, yesterday announced that the State Public Service Commission has approved a new framework for the State to achieve at least 10 gigawatts of distributed solar by 2030, enough to annually power nearly 700,000 average-sized homes. The roadmap, submitted by the New York State Energy Research and Development Authority and the New York State Department of Public Service to the PSC, provides a comprehensive strategy to expand the state’s successful NY-Sun initiative into one of the largest and most inclusive solar programs of its kind in the nation. Earth Week, which this year runs from April 18-22, is celebrated with events worldwide in support of the environment and to raise awareness for environmental protection and the care of our planet.

“The existential fight against climate change demands historic investments in renewable energy to bring us closer to a brighter, greener future,” Governor Hochul said. “This roadmap to expand the NY-Sun initiative into a nation-leading blueprint for the development of distributed solar meets the moment to supercharge our economy and advance our climate goals.”

The adopted framework includes an investment of $1.5 billion in ratepayer-funded incentives to extend the successful NY-Sun program and continue the marked reduction in project cost and incentives observed in the last 10 years. The public investment will spur approximately $4.4 billion in private investment to bring awarded projects to fruition, for a total of $5.9 billion in expected investment over the mid- to late-2020s. 6,000 additional solar jobs will be created across the state, including with the State’s first application of prevailing wage requirements for solar projects between one and five megawatts.

The program expansion will also deliver at least 35 percent of the benefits, with a goal of 40 percent, from the investments to disadvantaged communities and low-to moderate- income New Yorkers. Yesterday’s announcement supports the State’s Climate Leadership and Community Protection Act (Climate Act) mandate to generate 70 percent of the state’s electricity from renewables by 2030 as part of a resilient and equitable transition to a clean energy economy.

The roadmap approved by the Commission and developed by DPS and NYSERDA carefully evaluated multiple strategies to deploy ten gigawatts or more of distributed solar by 2030 and determined that extending the State’s successful NY-Sun initiative provides the most efficient and cost-effective path forward.

Achieving the state’s expanded solar goal is expected to generate enough clean electricity per year to power nearly 700,000 additional New York homes, including those in disadvantaged communities. Importantly, the now-approved roadmap provides:

  • Enough new clean, renewable energy to annually power 700,000 additional homes;
  • At least 1,600 megawatts, enough to power 280,000 homes, of new solar capacity to benefit disadvantaged communities and low-to-moderate income New Yorkers, with an estimated $600 million in investments serving these communities;
  • At least 450 megawatts, enough to power nearly 79,000 homes, to be built in the Con Edison electric service area (covering New York City and parts of Westchester), increasing the installed solar capacity in this area to over one gigawatt, enough to power nearly 175,000 homes;
  • At least 560 megawatts, enough to power 98,000 homes, to be advanced through the Long Island Power Authority; and
  • A new requirement that workers associated with the construction of NY Sun supported projects that are greater than one megawatt be paid the applicable prevailing wage.

Expanding the state’s solar goal is expected to have an average bill impact for New York customers of less than one percent, or approximately $0.71 per month for the average residence.

Chair of the Public Service Commission Rory M. Christian said, “The ardent support and encouragement of Governor Hochul has been integral to the continued development of and access to solar energy in New York State. The roadmap we approved today provides New York with the guidelines it needs to accelerate the transition to a clean-energy economy and meet our critically important climate goals.”

President and CEO of the New York State Energy Research and Development Authority Doreen M. Harris said, “Today’s action by the Public Service Commission expands the state’s highly successful NY-Sun initiative into one of the largest programs of its kind in the U.S. and will further solidify New York’s standing as a national leader in distributed and community solar for years to come. This comprehensive expansion means more families and businesses, especially those in communities that have been historically underserved, will have access to clean, affordable solar electricity, while ensuring the workers who build these projects get fair wages. Reaching 10 gigawatts will leverage $9 billion in private investment and create thousands of family-sustaining solar jobs, demonstrating the tremendous benefits the state’s clean energy transition is bringing to New Yorkers under Governor Hochul’s leadership.”

State Senator Todd Kaminsky said, “Today’s approval by the PSC of the solar roadmap shows how we can meet the ambitious goals outlined in the CLCPA, with clean solar energy. We can encourage billions in private investment, and ensure disadvantaged communities benefit from this growth. I applaud NYSERDA, DPS and Governor Hochul for their forward-thinking strategy to grow New York’s green energy economy and the steps taken to advance it.”

Assemblymember Steve Englebright said, “We all have a stake in reducing the negative consequences of climate change. In 2019, I sponsored the Climate Leadership and Community Protection Act requiring the PSC to establish a program in the clean energy standard to ensure that 70 percent of the state’s electricity is generated from renewable sources by 2030 and 100 percent from emissions-free sources by 2040. I wish to thank Governor Hochul for the actions taken today they are a step in the right direction.”

Assemblymember Michael Cusick said, “This expansion of the NY-Sun initiative is a crucial step in expanding our state’s solar capacity and will help us to make great strides in working towards achieving the goals of the CLCPA. The continued expansion of our solar capacity is critical to building the energy grid of the future here in New York and protecting our environment for generations to come.”

Nation-Leading Climate Plan

New York State’s nation-leading climate agenda is the most aggressive climate and clean energy initiative in the nation, calling for an orderly and just transition to clean energy that creates jobs and continues fostering a green economy as New York State recovers from the COVID-19 pandemic. Enshrined into law through the Climate Leadership and Community Protection Act, New York is on a path to achieve its mandated goal of a zero-emission electricity sector by 2040, including 70 percent renewable energy generation by 2030, and to reach economy wide carbon neutrality. It builds on New York’s unprecedented investments to ramp-up clean energy including over $33 billion in 102 large-scale renewable and transmission projects across the state, $6.8 billion to reduce buildings emissions, $1.8 billion to scale up solar, more than $1 billion for clean transportation initiatives, and over $1.6 billion in NY Green Bank commitments. Combined, these investments are supporting nearly 158,000 jobs in New York’s clean energy sector in 2020, a 2,100 percent growth in the distributed solar sector since 2011 and a commitment to develop 9,000 megawatts of offshore wind by 2035. Under the Climate Act, New York will build on this progress and reduce greenhouse gas emissions by 85 percent from 1990 levels by 2050, while ensuring that at least 35 percent with a goal of 40 percent of the benefits of clean energy investments are directed to disadvantaged communities, and advance progress towards the state’s 2025 energy efficiency target of reducing on-site energy consumption by 185 trillion BTUs of end-use energy savings.

Julie Tighe, President of the New York League of Conservation Voters said, “New York City and State have made significant commitments to reduce emissions and transition to clean energy but to meet these goals, we must deliver real clean energy projects. The Tier 4 program, as well as this significant increase in distributed solar capacity, are incredible opportunities for New York to walk the walk and deliver a cleaner future built on renewable energy to meet the goals of the Climate Leadership and Community Protection Act to transition to a green energy economy. The New York League of Conservation Voters applauds the PSC for their approvals today and commends Governor Hochul and NYSERDA for going big on clean energy.”

Anne Reynolds, Executive Director of the Alliance for Clean Energy New York, said, “We applaud the selection of the Clean Path New York project to deliver made-in-New York renewable energy to New York City. The Tier 4 Program recognizes that investment in the transmission grid is, in fact,  a key climate action. We appreciate Governor Hochul’s clear commitment to bringing the economic benefits of renewable energy to all New Yorkers.”

Gary LaBarbera, President of the New York State Building and Construction Trades Council said, “The Tier 4 projects are a critical component of New York’s clean energy future and to achieving our state’s ambitious climate and clean energy goals. These projects also duly recognize the importance of ensuring a just transition in the sustainable economy for working people — with robust opportunity offered through thousands of new family-sustaining jobs and workforce training. We applaud Governor Hochul and NYSERDA’s leadership in advancing these crucial projects that will ensure that sustainable power generation goes hand-in-hand with the creation of middle-class careers with benefits.”

REBNY President James Whelan said, “The Public Service Commission’s approval of these two projects is a significant step forward in reducing carbon emissions, creating good jobs, and addressing long-standing environmental injustices. The clean power delivered by these projects will help the public and private sector continue working together to comprehensively address our shared climate goals. We applaud Governor Hochul and her Administration’s commitment to this critical initiative.””

Thomas A. Callahan, President of the NYS Conference of Operating Engineers said, “These green energy projects are good for the environment and good for the economy, a win/win for the state. We commend the PSC for giving final approval to CHPE and CPNY so we can deliver much needed power to New York City while also creating good paying jobs in Upstate New York, the Hudson Valley, and New York City. We look forward to working with these companies to put New Yorkers back to work and deliver reliable, affordable energy.”

Michael Welsh, International Vice President, International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers said, “Today, New York’s Public Service Commission took an especially crucial step on the road to a cleaner environment and Just economy in New York by approving NYSERDA’s Tier 4 and distributed solar initiatives. The major energy projects borne from these programs will create well over ten thousand prevailing wage construction jobs, inject Billions of dollars into New York’s economy and vastly improve the state’s air quality. These projects will be a major component to achieving New York’s nation leading Climate Leadership and Community Protection Act. The IBEW recognizes NYSERDA’s commitment to helping workers in transitioning industries as critical and one in which we will stand together to achieve. We look forward to continuing our partnership with all stakeholders to bring these important initiatives to fruition and applaud the Public Service Commission for these important approvals.”

New York State Laborers Organizing Fund Director John Hutchings said, “Our members are currently working on projects that represent thousands of megawatts of clean, renewable energy throughout New York State. Today represents the critical next step forward ensuring that energy can be transported and used in load-pockets throughout the state. Projects like CHPE and Clean Path NY will help accomplish that while also creating thousands of construction jobs that pay workers a prevailing wage. We applaud the Public Service Commission for approving both of these projects and paving the way for workers and energy customers to share in the new clean energy economy.”

Sophie Brochu, President and CEO of Hydro-Québec said, “We are both humbled and proud to see this formidable partnership between Quebec and New York move forward. This project is a model for an equitable energy transition and an eloquent example of how we can work together to decarbonize the Northeast.”

Transmission Developers CEO Donald Jessome said, “Today’s Public Service Commission vote lays the cornerstone for New York’s clean energy future. The Champlain Hudson Power Express will significantly reduce New York City’s dependence on fossil fuels, improve the health of all New Yorkers by reducing harmful pollutants and create thousands of New York jobs. This project–which will deliver renewable, reliable, power–would not have been possible without the bold leadership on climate issues from Governor Hochul and NY State, NYSERDA, the City of New York, and the countless advocates who recognized the benefits of this project and supported it.”

Mohawk Council Grand Chief Kahsennenhawe Sky-Deer said, “The Champlain Hudson Power express is a game changer. We will continue our responsibility as stewards of the environment to always protect our Mother Earth, especially from the dangers of climate change and global warming. But we are also ensuring Indigeneous peoples have a seat at the table as business partners, and have a voice in the overall economy moving forward.”

Clean Path NY leaders Michael Polsky of Invenergy, Jeff Blau of energyRe, and Justin E. Driscoll of the New York Power Authority said, “Today’s decision is a key milestone and critical step forward in the fight for New York’s clean energy future and the Clean Path NY team is ready to move ahead with this major clean energy project for the benefit of all New Yorkers. Clean Path NY is a turning point for New York as we work to finally resolve the congestion that has plagued our electricity grid for decades and slowed progress on urgent climate goals. The Clean Path NY project will deliver good-paying jobs, make our air cleaner, and provide reliable emissions-free power to residents and businesses across the state—a win-win-win for New York.  We are proud to help make New York a healthier, more resilient place to call home.”

Courtesy of New York State.

Related: Proposed Law In New York Allows Customer-Generators To Donate Credit To Low-Income Families

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