Read on for some solid talking points about why the Clean Energy Standard and renewable energy are a must for an environmentally and economically sustainable future for Long Island and beyond. These would be useful for anyone who wants to speak intelligently about the subject, whether or not you are attendance a CES Hearing.
In December 2015, Governor Cuomo directed NY’s Public Service Commission (PSC) to create a Clean Energy Standard, which would mandate NYS to power 50% of it’s electric sector with renewable energy by 2030. This puts New York in line with the existing goal of reducing climate pollution 40% by 2030 The Clean Energy Standard would provide 5-year support for Upstate New York’s nuclear plants.
In early 2016, the PSC put forward a first proposal on the Clean Energy Standard with a goal of finalizing it by mid-year. As part of their stakeholder process they are accepting public comments and will be holding a set of hearings across New York in May.
A key part of getting us to this point is the strong public support for renewable energy demonstrated at the NYS Energy Plan Hearings and Reforming the Energy Vision. Continuing to demonstrate the grassroots support for renewable energy while offering a few simple provisions to strengthen the standard will help ensure that Governor Cuomo and the PSC issue a final clean energy standard that helps cement New York’s transition to renewable energy.
The Clean Energy Standard (CES) must:
1. Be Enforcable. New York needs to establish yearly targets for utilities and public energy authorities to purchase renewables in order to ensure we are on track to achieve 50% renewable energy by 2030. This can be enforced through "Alternative Compliance Payments", which would require utilities to pay if they fail to purchase enough renewable energy to meet the target. That money should then be used by the state to invest in renewables. The CES and yearly targets should also apply to the Long Island Power Authority (LIPA).
2. Include Offshore Wind. Offshore wind would help launch an entirely new industry, with the capacity to power millions of homes, stabilize energy costs, foster locational diversity for renewable energy development, produce millions of dollars in economic investments, spur new economic development and manufacturing opportunities , and create tens of thousands of new jobs statewide.
3. Include energy efficiency targets. While increasing the amount of energy we produce is one side of the coin, we must also reduce the amount of energy we use, which is often the cheapest means of cutting climate pollution. Strong energy efficiency targets will help save ratepayers money while protecting the environment.
4. Not Include Nuclear Energy. Since nuclear power is neither clean nor renewable it should be kept separate from the Clean Energy Standard and not count toward the State's 50% renewable requirement or receive renewable energy funding.