Governor Andrew Cuomo delivers 2018 State of the State Address | Credit: Philip Kamrass)
New York State Governor sets agenda for 2018 and beyond, including raft of investment pledges on renewables, energy storage and carbon trading
Governor of New York Andrew Cuomo has promised to significantly boost the state’s offshore wind, energy storage and emissions trading markets under a raft of green policy proposals in his State of the State agenda for 2018 yesterday.
Cuomo said he wanted to position New York as the leading market in the US for offshore wind power, calling for the procurement of at least 800MW of capacity across two auctions in 2018 and 2019. This, he said, would generate enough renewable energy to power 400,000 households across the state.
The Governor also proposed a total investment of $200m to help meet an “unprecedented” target of deploying 1,500MW of energy storage and creating 30,000 jobs in the sector by 2025 to support the wider rollout of renewables on the grid. The investment would be supported by regulatory changes to incentivise energy storage projects, and further financing for pilot projects, according to the agenda document.
Elsewhere, Cuomo called on the state to set up a ‘Climate Justice Roadmap’ to prepare young people and help retrain workers for jobs in New York’s growing green economy, and to invest in rolling out another 10,000 electric vehicle charge points across the state by 2021.
“New York State is committed to developing a vibrant clean energy economy, and job growth in this emerging industry is booming across the state – with more than 150,000 New Yorkers working in the clean energy industry,” the agenda document states.
The proposals build on Cuomo’s previously announced plans for New York to source 50 per cent of its electricity from renewable sources by 2030, and the establishment of a $5bn 10-year clean energy fund, which is expected to save taxpayers $39bn in energy costs as well as cutting emissions.
In December he also revealed radical plans to decarbonise the state’s public pension fund from “significant” fossil fuel investments, as part of a plan to shift the investment of public money in action to tackle climate change.
The landmark move would ensure the New York State Common Retirement Fund – which with $200bn in assets under management is the third largest in the US – would cease all new investment in significant fossil fuel-related activities.
During his address, Governor Cuomo said he would this year seek to strengthen emissions reduction from the state’s fossil fuel industries, including the introduction of a further 30 per cent cap on emissions from power plants between 2020 and 2030 and wider co-operation with other states through the NY’s carbon trading market.
“In 2018, Governor Cuomo looks forward to working with the other RGGI states and potential new partners in Virginia and New Jersey to ensure a smooth transition to a broader, more cost-efficient GHG market that maintains the initiative’s ambitious reductions in climate pollution,” the agenda states.
Stressing that New York faces “unprecedented challenges” to its environment and economy, he said he would also focus on boosting the state’s resilience to climate change, adding that he planned to reconvene a national scientific advisory panel on climate change disbanded by President Trump last year.
New York is one of the key States rebelling against President Trump’s decision to withdraw the US from the Paris climate agreement and roll back major Obama-era climate policies such as the Clean Power Plan.
It is urging states, citizens and businesses to press ahead with carbon cutting plans regardless of federal leadership, as part of the ‘We Are Still In’ coalition in the US.
Governor Cuomo will be hoping therefore that his bold plans caught the ear yesterday not just of New York residents, but of Trump-weary States, businesses and citizens across the country.