N.Y. approves $5B infusion into Clean Energy Fund

Source: Abby Kessler, E&E reporter • Posted: Monday, January 25, 2016

The New York State Public Service Commission approved a 10-year, $5 billion Clean Energy Fund in a move to ramp up state efforts to promote a clean energy economy, address climate change and push down energy costs for residents, Gov. Andrew Cuomo (D) announced today.

The fund will seek to attract third-party investments to support the state’s goal to transition 50 percent of its electricity needs to renewable sources by 2030.

Cuomo called the investment in clean energy “the next big step forward” for the state that he says is already a national leader in promoting renewable resources.

“This unparalleled $5 billion investment will leverage more than $29 billion in private-sector funding and open the door to new clean energy opportunities for years to come,” Cuomo said. “We are raising the bar when it comes to increasing the use of renewable energy and reducing harmful carbon emissions, and I am proud that the Empire State is continuing to set the example for the future.”

The Clean Energy Fund is set to be administered by the New York State Energy Research and Development Authority.

Officials estimate the fund will result in customer savings and lower costs reaching about $40 billion over the next 10 years.

The fund will be divided into four portfolios: a $2.7 billion investment in market development to stimulate consumer demand for clean energy, a $961 million infusion to NY-Sun to expand the solar electric market, $782 million into an NY Green Bank portfolio to increase the availability of capital, and a $717 million investment in innovation and research to spur technology development.

“Under the Clean Energy Fund, every dollar of clean energy spending will achieve greater savings and enhance private investment, spurring innovation and new technologies that will bring more choices and value to New York consumers,” said Audrey Zibelman, New York State Public Service Commission chairwoman. “We will build on the success of previous energy-development programs in a way that meets evolving customer and market needs and transition away from approaches that rely almost exclusively on ratepayer subsidies, which is unsustainable if we are to meet our ambitious goals in the long run.”

Cuomo announced the creation of the Clean Energy Fund at last week’s State of the State address and directed the Public Service Commission to create a set of enforceable mandates for renewable sources by June. The commission approved a public process today to adopt a Clean Energy Standard.

The commission also took steps to move ahead the governor’s Reforming the Energy Vision, or REV, strategy asking electric and gas companies to develop efficiency programs. It also announced development of a benefit-cost analysis for new energy proposals.

The commission also allocated $150 million to the development of new large-scale renewable power projects in 2016.