N.Y. sets out to mandate 50% renewables by 2030

Source: Madelyn Beck, E&E reporter • Posted: Friday, December 4, 2015

New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo yesterday started the process of making the state’s clean energy plan legally binding.

Cuomo (D) sent a letter to Audrey Zibelman, chairwoman of the state’s Public Service Commission, directing her and the department to start drafting a clean energy standard. It is to include provisions that the state produce at least 50 percent renewable energy by 2030, called the “50 by 30” goal, according to the letter.

The governor initially announced the statewide goal in June as part of his state energy plan (EnergyWire, June 26). Yesterday’s announcement seeks to codify the requirement to make it binding. Word of the move first came in late November (Greenwire, Nov. 23).

“I am thrilled to see Governor Cuomo’s commitment to turn the state’s clean energy goals into an enforceable mandate,” Zibelman said in a statement.

The plan works in tandem with the state’s Reforming the Energy Vision, or REV, initiative. That initiative includes incentives and goals for the state’s energy future, including a 40 percent reduction in 1990-level carbon emissions by 2030.

The governor also said in his letter that the department should make sure the state’s nuclear power plants can keep running. Because of their emission-free power generation, Cuomo said, losing them would “eviscerate the emissions reductions achieved through the state’s renewable energy programs, diminish fuel diversity, increase price volatility and financially harm host communities.”

To achieve the state’s “50 by 30” goal, Cuomo directed the commission to finish the plan by July 2016 and send it to the state Public Service Commission, of which the Department of Public Service is the staff arm.

In a statement, Cuomo said, “As discussions continue in Paris, we are taking real, enforceable actions in New York to lay the foundation for a thriving clean energy economy.”