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The word for 2019? MOMENTUM!

If your mission is to promote clean energy in New York – like ACE NY – then you are feeling pretty good right about now. What I mostly feel is: momentum.

Governor Cuomo’s Jan. 15th State of the State speech is a great example.  He again mentioned a Green New Deal for the State, and he provided some important insight into what he means: a renewable energy standard for electricity of 70% by 2030; a goal of 9,000 MW of offshore wind by 2035; and a Climate Change Council to chart the pathway to economy-wide carbon neutrality. All three are really positive wins for clean energy.

The Governor’s written description of his proposed budget – fondly referred to as the Budget Book (starting on page 70) – has more details on what a Green New Deal could entail. For one, the 70% Clean Energy Standard would be supported by a doubling of the NY-Sun goal for distributed solar by 2025, right on target for the goals of the Million Solar Strong campaign, of which ACE NY is an active member.

The super ambitious 9,000 MW offshore wind mandate is an incredible step forward for this nascent industry. It is supported by a $200M investment in port infrastructure, on target for what the New York Offshore Wind Alliance was advocating, recognizing that bringing the offshore wind industry to New York in a real way will require modernized port facilities. What a job creator that will be! We truly applaud the State’s commitment to offshore wind. The Governor recognizes that offshore wind is a key energy industry of the future.

In the midst of these heady goals, renewables developers don’t forget the pragmatic details of developing projects, so we are happy to report that New York State isn’t either: the Budget Book outlines 8 new staff positions at the Department of Public Service – positions sorely needed to effectively process the robust pipeline of renewable energy projects – too many of them stalled -- that the Governor’s Clean Energy Standard has stimulated.

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Made in NY? How can we foster voluntary corporate renewable energy buying in New York?

Made in NY? How can we foster voluntary corporate renewable energy buying in New York?

By Anne Reynolds

With the backdrop of United Nations VIPs clogging the streets of Manhattan, ACE NY hosted a breakfast panel discussion on corporate purchasing of renewable energy for Climate Week NYC to a standing-room only crowd. Richard Kauffman, New York’s Chair of Energy and Finance, set the context for the discussion, citing strong progress on renewables procurement by New York, including the draft RFP for offshore wind and reiterating NY’s intention to get this RFP finalized and released by the end of the year. (Exciting!). He also acknowledged the significant workload in getting renewable energy projects through the review and permitting process known as Article 10 and recognized the need to balance proper review with an efficient and timely process. Hopefully, New York will have more progress to report on Article 10 in the coming months.

Mr. Kauffman then outlined a “trial balloon” to get the conversation rolling: If the major barrier to getting renewables bought in NY vs. other states was a higher price for Renewable Energy Certificates (RECs), what if the state played a role in bringing down the price for voluntary purchases by a competitive auction and a public contribution to help make up the difference? An interesting idea.

Kara Allen of NYSERDA was a gracious moderator and began by asking our panelists to outline the benefits of voluntary renewable energy purchasing.  In response, Harry Singh of Goldman & Sachs cited their corporate sustainability goals, the interest in a possible hedge of energy prices, and the desire to have the procurement be related to their own load, i.e. near their footprint. While Goldman explored a deal in New York, it ultimately went with a wind project in Pennsylvania, mostly due to costs. For Cornell University, panelist Sarah Zemanick also cited sustainability goals, but also mentioned student and faculty demand for clean energy and the desire for a living laboratory – i.e. opportunities for research or education.  In the case of Cornell, there is also an interest in distributed projects that can be located on or near campus and offset their current campus-based fossil fuel electricity generation.

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National Clean Energy Week Ignites Passion for the Planet

National Clean Energy Week Ignites Passion for the Planet

By Kathleen Gasperini

National Clean Energy Week (#CleanEnergyWeek) is taking off as more organizations, brands, and fans are celebrating and embracing the movement to support clean energy solutions that address America’s economic, national security and environmental needs. With its second annual nationally recognized high-profile programming, running from Sept. 24-Sept. 28, National Clean Energy Week provides a time to put clean energy center stage. ACE NY is a proud partner organization of National Clean Energy Week, supporting the movement all week and beyond, including our participation at Climate Week NYC, with a panel discussion on New York and renewable energy. Working alongside other climate leaders from across the world, we’re coming together to present solutions and engage with others on climate change solutions.

In the larger scope, many business and political leaders have disagreed with the Administration’s decision to pull out of the COP21 Paris Climate Accord and have implemented their own goals, arguing that it abdicated American leadership on climate and threatened the country’s competitiveness in a low-carbon economy.

To date, 16 Governor’s, including New York’s Gov. Cuomo, joined forces forming the U.S. Climate Alliance. New York quickly took to a leadership position in the Alliance with Cuomo's progressive 2018 Clean Energy Jobs and Climate Agenda.

City mayors from across the country have come together forming the U.S. Climate Mayors group to meet new clean energy goals. More than 2,642 mayors, including NYC’s Mayor de Blasio, CEOs, college presidents, faith organizations, tribal leaders, responded by forming the “We Are Still In” movement that pledges ongoing commitment to the Paris Accord goals. A related group, America’s Pledge, is tracking these commitments and attempting to measure their impact. So far, according to its initial accounting, these sub-national pledgees account for 2.7Gt in emissions. For comparison, U.S. emissions totaled an estimated 6.4Gt estimated in 2017.

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