Climate Action

New York pledges 50% renewables by 2030

The New York Department of Public Services (NYDPS) have proposed a plan to reach 50 per cent renewables by 2030

  • 08 August 2016
  • William Brittlebank

The New York Department of Public Services (NYDPS) have proposed a plan to reach 50 per cent renewables by 2030.

The “50 by 30” Clean Energy Standard (CES) builds on New York’s Reforming the Energy Vision (REV) proposed by Governor Andrew Cuomo last December.

The CES white paper outlines a plan, providing a necessary target and enforcement mechanism to achieve state policy objectives.

New York’s utilities and electricity suppliers will be required to double the percentage of renewable energy currently on New York’s electric grid, obtaining 50 per cent of New York’s electricity from pollution- free energy resources such as solar, land-based and offshore wind power, and hydropower.

Chair of the NYPDS, Audrey Zibelman, believes that wind power resources will be key in meeting the target: “New York is blessed with the potential for terrific offshore wind resources”.

The renewables standard is both mandatory and enforceable; meaning utilities and electricity suppliers will face penalties if they fail to comply.

The NYPDS has also signalled its commitment to expanding the state’s energy efficiency programmes, prioritising the creation of a target of at least two per cent energy-saving gains annually.

Separately, the NYPDS also approved the extension of the operating licenses of select nuclear plants to support reliability and to serve as a zero-carbon bridge fuel while greater renewable generation is built.

Recently, Governor Cuomo also announced a US $5.3 billion clean energy fund that will include funding to support the CES as well as other clean energy and innovation programmes.

The fund sets a 10-year target for energy efficiency savings of 10.6 million MWh of electricity and 13.4 million MMBtu of fuel consumption, 133 million tons of CO2e reductions, $39 billion in customer bill savings, and $29 billion in private investment. 

New York has the country’s third-largest population and 11th largest gross domestic product in the world (if it were a country).

Having joined fellow economic powerhouse California in creating the target, this means that almost one-fifth of the American population lives in an area with the “50 by 30” requirement, which will help to significantly reduce the Unites States’ carbon footprint.

Twenty nine states have already established enforceable renewable energy goals, the vast majority of which are currently well below the fifty per cent level.

Vermont has set an even more ambitious target of seventy five percent renewables by 2032, and Hawaii the impressive goal of 100 per cent by 2045.