In 2016 State of the State Governor Cuomo Adds Planks to His Climate Platform

January, 14, 2016
David Gahl
Director of Strategic Engagement
ClimateCommunity Energy

Governor Andrew Cuomo released his policy priorities and Fiscal Year 2016-17 budget proposal yesterday in Albany. I was struck by the number of times the Governor mentioned the importance of tackling climate change. And he stressed the importance of New York State’s continued leadership on this critical issue. This is great news and bodes well for the future.

I was also struck by the number of energy and climate proposals the Governor mentioned that staff at the Pace Energy and Climate Center (Pace) are working on in some way.

While many of the policy proposals the Governor described yesterday such as the Clean Energy Standard and Clean Energy Fund were announced previously and are currently in development he also announced new initiatives. 

For example, the Governor committed to phasing out New York’s remaining coal fired power plants by the year 2020. 

He directed the New York Departments of Public Service and Environmental Conservation, working closely with the New York Independent System Operator, to develop a “regulatory framework” to encourage the repowering or closure of these facilities by 2020. 

The Governor also committed to working with host communities to provide tax revenue stabilization to local governments where power plants are closing.  Through a grant funded project, Pace is studying these issues and will be preparing a white paper on this topic. This is very timely work.

In addition, the Governor proposed to provide energy efficiency retrofits for 100,000 multi-family housing units by the year 2025 through a $75 million investment over the next three years from the Clean Energy Fund. 

Again, for the better part of two years, with its partners Pace has been advocating for increased investment in energy efficiency in the affordable multifamily housing sector.  The Governor also announced yesterday that the investments will include grants and a design competition that will incentivize and retrofit affordable housing units to the highest energy efficiency standards. 

Governor Cuomo announced that this year New York State will award $8 million for microgrid projects. The funding will pay for engineering designs and the preparation of business plans so communities can build microgrids. Pace has already been helping more than a dozen communities with feasibility studies to understand whether they should take the next step in constructing a microgrid.

Pace has also been a thought leader on electric vehicle infrastructure improvements, hosting an electric vehicle (EV) roundtable discussion with our friends at the New York League of Conservation Voters last year. The Governor also committed $9 million more to the state's Charge New York program, and will help increase the number of EV charging stations to 800. 

In summary, the Governor and his staff continue to build an impressive climate and clean energy platform for New York. While many details of these plans still need to be worked out, Pace is pleased to be helping nail down the planks. 

A link to the Governor’s policy and budget briefing book is pasted below.