At Empire State Plaza in Albany, Cuomo articulated his “Clean Energy Jobs and Climate Agenda” as encompassing the following:
- Expanding regional greenhouse gas initiatives
- Equitably reducing emissions from power plants responsible for producing the most pollution.
- Issuing solicitations to develop at least 800 megawatts of offshore wind projects
- Fostering the offshore wind industry and workforce
- Investing $200 million to meet an unprecedented energy storage target of 1,500 megawatts by 2025
- Creating the “Zero Cost Solar-for-All Program” for 10,000 low-income residents
- Reconvening the Scientific Advisory Committee on Climate Change the Federal government disbanded
- Directing an energy efficiency target by Earth Day
- Imposing regulations to shut down coal-fired power plants
On the state website, Cuomo said:
“New Yorkers know too well the devastation caused by climate change, and in order to slow the effects of extreme weather and build our communities to be stronger and more resilient, we must make significant investments in renewable energy. With this proposal, New York is taking bold action to fight climate change and protect our environment, while supporting and growing 21st-century jobs in these cutting-edge renewable industries.”
Regarding expanding regional greenhouse gas initiatives, Cuomo proposes directing the Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) to implement a 30-percent carbon dioxide cap reduction, and work with the New York State Energy Research and Development Authority to ensure Environmental Justice communities benefit equally from investment of Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative (RGGI) auction proceeds.
To immediately mitigate emissions from New York’s worst-polluting power plants, Cuomo is directing the DEC to propose complementary reforms to reduce emissions of smog-forming pollutants as well as adopt regulations ending coal use in state plants by 2020, something proposed in the governor’s 2016 address.
One of the boldest steps Gov. Cuomo put forth regards offshore wind power.
Cuomo wishes to make New York the leading offshore wind market in the country.
In last year’s address, Cuomo presented the most comprehensive commitment to offshore wind power in U.S. history when he established a 2.4 gigawatt target of offshore wind power generation by 2030.
To that end, Cuomo is now calling for at least 800 megawatts of offshore wind power, projected to result in enough clean, renewable energy to supply 400,000 New York households.
This will not just help the environment; it will also improve the workforce.
Gov. Cuomo is directing the New York State Energy Research and Development Authority (NYSERDA) to invest $15 million in clean energy sector development and infrastructure advancement to train workers for green energy jobs in offshore wind construction, installation, operation, maintenance, design, and associated infrastructure.
With these initiatives, New York is on pace to become a national climate leader, setting an example for other states.
Through its participation in the Paris Climate Accords and enactment of the Clean Power Plan, the Obama administration was progressing toward a greener future less reliant on fossil fuels.
States depended more on Federal initiatives because they seemed to be heading in the proper direction.
The Trump administration, though, has waged war on that progress–withdrawing from the Paris Climate Accords, dropping climate change from the national security strategy list, shrinking federal land to allow energy companies to increase drilling, silencing climate scientists, prohibiting government agencies responsible for addressing climate change from even mentioning it.
President Trump has even deemed climate change a “hoax.”
If Washington refuses to be the adult in the room when it comes to climate policy, let us do what Republicans have always used as an excuse to exact their disdain for “big government”–take it to the states.
New York is doing just that.
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