In his State of the State speech on January 3, 2018, New York Governor Andrew Cuomo announced an ambitious, multifaceted clean energy and climate change agenda. The principal objectives are as follows:
- Expand Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative and Reduce Emissions Equitably From the Highest-Polluting, High Demand “Peaker” Power Plants
- Issue Solicitations in 2018 and 2019 to Develop at Least 800 MW of Offshore Wind Projects and Foster Offshore Wind Industry and Workforce in New York State
- $200 Million Investment to Meet Unprecedented Energy Storage Target of 1,500 Megawatts by 2025 In Order to Increase Transmission of Clean and Renewable Energy
- Create the Zero Cost Solar for All Program for 10,000 Low-Income New Yorkers
- Reconvene Scientific Advisory Committee on Climate Change Disbanded by the Federal Government
- Governor Directs the Establishment of Energy Efficiency Target by Earth Day
- Regulations to Close all Coal Plants to be Adopted
The commitment to offshore wind is a promising signal to the nascent industry, which has been hamstrung by legal challenges in the United States. In December of 2017 developers abandoned the Cape Wind project, which would have brought 460MW of wind power to the coast of southern Massachusetts, finally surrendering to a years-long onslaught of lawsuits. That leaves the 30-megawatt Block Island project as the only operational offshore wind project in the United States, as wind projects continue to proliferate in Germany and the United Kingdom. If realized, the solicitations position the State well to take advantage of recent advances in construction techniques.
According to the Governor’s press release, 1500MW of storage capacity represents the largest per capita commitment to energy storage of any State. The commitment includes a pledge of $200MM from the NY Green Bank for storage-related investments, and $60MM from NYSERDA for investment in pilot projects. The NYSERDA funds are expressly directed towards the reduction of permitting, interconnection and other barriers to storage deployment. This puts additional financial heft behind 2017’s Energy Storage Deployment legislation, which directs the New York Public Service Commission to establish procedures for energy storage project development, and set targets for deployment.