Renewable energy is an exciting and popular topic these days, especially in New York, where Governor Andrew Cuomo signed the Climate Leadership and Community Protection Act (CLCPA) into law back in July 2019. Since then, the state has been considered a national leader, in addition to other U.S. states, seeking to increase green energy and help combat global warming.

According to the NRDC, no other state has a more aggressive emissions reduction target. The law requires a 40 percent reduction in statewide greenhouse gas emissions by 2030 and a reduction of at least 85 percent by 2050, the year it is also set to reach net-zero emissions. As described in further detail by the NRDC, additional requirements of the CLCPA include: 

  • A statewide goal of reducing energy consumption by 185 trillion British thermal units (BTUs) from the state’s 2025 forecast through energy efficiency improvements.
  • Doubling its current amount of distributed solar (i.e. rooftop solar, or solar PV) by adding 6,000 megawatts (MW) by 2025.
  • Adding 3,000 MW of storage by 2030.
  • Generating 70 percent of the state’s electricity from renewable sources by 2030.
  • Adding 9,000 MW of offshore wind by 2035.
  • Ensuring the electric sector is emissions-free by 2040.

Recently, The New York Public Service Commission (PSC) also expanded the state’s Clean Energy Standard (CES) and approved measures to increase clean energy use in New York City. This will help boost wind resources and maintain the state’s existing renewable generation.

How Does this Benefit New York and the Planet? 

While you might be familiar with some of the benefits of renewable energy, you may still find yourself questioning what this news means and why it’s so revolutionary. New York’s revamped Clean Energy Standards are anticipated to:

  • Cut back on harmful air pollution.
  • Battle climate change.
  • Promote a diverse and reliable low carbon energy supply.
  • Generate competition, investment, and overall economic development.
  • Help create jobs in New York State.

New York State’s Current Energy Supply 

According to the Energy Industry Association (EIA), New York currently acquires nearly three-tenths of its net electricity generation from utility-scale renewable sources. On its own, hydroelectric power is responsible for supplying over one-fifth of the state’s net generation. New York ranks among the nation’s top four producers of hydroelectricity for most years. Along with hydropower, biomass has long contributed to the state’s power supply. However, in the past decade, the amount of energy generated from wind has almost doubled. After hydropower, wind energy has been the state’s second-largest renewable source of generation since 2009. The solar industry has also been growing in New York, with the state obtaining roughly 2,150 megawatts of solar capacity at utility-scale and small-scale, customer-sited installations by May 2020.

Governor Cuomo’s signing of the CLCPA and the New York Public Service Commission’s expansion of the state’s Clean Energy Standards Orders are both great demonstrations of actions governments across the globe can take to help combat climate change. For the sake of our planet and all of our livelihoods, states must take immediate action to transition to clean energy.

On an individual level, supporting the generation of renewable energy is one of the easiest things you can do to reduce your carbon footprint. In certain states (including New York), thanks to energy deregulation, you can choose a supplier who enables you to offset your energy use and help create a sustainable future through the use of Renewable Energy Certificates (RECs) and Carbon Offsets. Click here to find an innovative energy plan available near you.