Cuomo Signs Historic Renewable Energy Bill Into Law

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A new law in New York will require the state to procure 6 GW of distributed solar by 2025, as well as require utilities to get 70% of their electricity from renewable energy by 2030.

On Thursday, Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo, alongside former Vice President Al Gore, signed into law the Climate Leadership and Community Protection Act (CLCPA), what he calls the most ambitious and comprehensive climate and clean energy legislation in the country.

“The environment and climate change are the most critically important policy priorities we face,” Cuomo said. “They literally will determine the future – or the lack thereof. Even in today’s chaos of political pandering and hyperbole, there are still facts, data and evidence – and climate change is an undeniable scientific fact. But cries for a new green movement are hollow political rhetoric if not combined with aggressive goals and a realistic plan on how to achieve them.”

Abigail Ross Hopper, president and CEO of the Solar Energy Industries Association, says the CLPCA will “encourage significant growth of the solar industry in the Empire State for years to come.”

“We commend Governor Cuomo and the state legislature for their commitment to using solar to eliminate emissions, create well-paying jobs, and protect public health and low-income communities,” she continues. “Solar will undoubtedly play a major role in helping New York reach its climate goals. This law will go a long way to making the 2020s the decade where solar combines with storage, electric vehicles and other technologies to reshape our energy future.”

Cuomo also executed the nation’s largest offshore wind agreement and the single largest renewable energy procurement by any state in U.S. history – nearly 1.7 GW – with the selection of two offshore wind projects. The winners of New York’s first comprehensive offshore wind solicitation are the Empire Wind and Sunrise Wind projects of Equinor US Holdings Inc. and Ørsted/Eversource, respectively.

“With this agreement, New York will lead the way in developing the largest source of offshore wind power in the nation, and today I will sign the most aggressive climate law in the United States of America,” Cuomo said. “Today, we are true to the New York legacy – to lead the way forward, to govern with vision and intelligence, to set a new standard, and to match our words with action.”

The CLCPA codifies Cuomo’s goals as called for under his Green New Deal, mandating that at least 70% of New York’s electricity come from renewable energy sources, such as wind and solar, by 2030, and that the state’s power system is 100% carbon-neutral by 2040. The CLCPA also codifies Cuomo’s commitments to install 9 GW of offshore wind by 2035, 6 GW of distributed solar by 2025 and 3 GW of energy storage by 2030.

In addition, under the law, relevant state agencies will invest 35% of clean energy program resources to benefit disadvantaged communities. A “just transition working group” will work to ensure that individuals working in conventional energy industries are provided with training and opportunities in the clean energy economy.

“Today’s historic offshore wind commitment by Governor Cuomo epitomizes the bold leadership that America needs more than ever to confront the climate crisis and create well-paying manufacturing and construction jobs,” comments Collin O’Mara, president and CEO of the National Wildlife Federation.

Basil Seggos, commissioner of the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation, says the new law “sets the gold standard for state-led action on climate.”

He adds, “Today’s announcement is further proof that through the CLCPA and our ongoing clean energy initiatives. New York is leading the nation’s efforts to act on climate while protecting our communities and our irreplaceable natural resources.”

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