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New York Steps Up Bid To Transform its Grid with "Largest Green Energy Initiative by Any State in U.S. History"

image credit: NY Governor Andrew Cuomo
Rakesh  Sharma's picture
Journalist Freelance Journalist

I am a New York-based freelance journalist interested in energy markets. I write about energy policy, trading markets, and energy management topics. You can see more of my writing...

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  • Jan 15, 2021

In July last year, New York State put out the largest solicitation for renewable energy in the United States ever to pivot its economy in the direction of a zero-carbon economy. The solicitation, which included clean energy projects spanning disparate forms of renewable energy, was meant to enable $7 billion in investments and create 4500 jobs.

Yesterday New York Governor Cuomo provided an update on that initiative. Since July, New York has approved renewable energy projects that are expected to generate more than 4,700 MW of power, the largest ever for any state and create more than 8,600 jobs in the sector, he said.  Governor Cuomo also announced a $26 billion public-private partnership initiative comprising 100 offshore wind and solar energy initiatives. They will reduce carbon emissions by 16 metric tons per year. Sixty-eight such projects are already underway.

“A true transformation to a green economy must create a complete green energy system to replace the old carbon-based supply system,” said Governor Cuomo. To that end, the governor’s office is basing its actions on four prongs: building large scale renewable projects, kickstarting manufacture of renewable energy infrastructure in New York, building transmission capacity, and creating a green energy workforce capacity.

Governor Cuomo highlighted a slate of new investments, proposed or already in operation, across the renewable energy value chain. For example, the governor’s office has greenlighted 24 new solar projects to create 11,000 jobs in Upstate New York. An offshore wind tower facility – a first in the country - at the Port of Albany will create 100 jobs. The South Brooklyn Marine Terminal will become a dedicated offshore wind facility that will generate 3.3 MW of wind power. It will be managed by Norwegian company Equinor and British Petroleum.

Governor Cuomo’s announcements yesterday should be a shot in the arm for the state’s ambitious renewable energy targets. The state plans to generate 70 percent of its electricity from renewable energy sources by 2030 and become emissions-free by 2040.

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John Simonelli's picture
John Simonelli on Jan 25, 2021

While the article highlights some of the progress on the various initiatives, I still think NY has missed a couple of more salient points. First, with all of those variable renewables being put in, part of their initiative should also be to develop utility scale large energy storage. To maintain reliability, that is a “must have”. Also it is recognized that in many areas the leading contributor of carbon to the environment is not the power industry. If they truly want to reach decarbonization goals, they need to start electrifying transportation, residential and industrial heating, and various manufacturing processes, etc. I didn't see any initiatives about societal electrification.

Matt Chester's picture
Matt Chester on Jan 25, 2021

I still think NY has missed a couple of more salient points. First, with all of those variable renewables being put in, part of their initiative should also be to develop utility scale large energy storage. To maintain reliability, that is a “must have”.

Agreed that energy storage needs to be a larger and more central part of this conversation. I wonder what your thoughts are on the timing of it all though-- the energy storage tech development seems to be behind that of renewable generation tech, which is a problem because in the ideal world I think you'd have widespread grid-tied storage (which would help with any grid, clean or not) and then you start building out the renewables that can be enhanced with the storage-- but by building the renewables before the storage is at the necessary maturity, is it creating incentive for that storage to be developed or is it shortsighted in that it may end up with some of the renewable projects not meeting their goals without storage to aid? 

Michael Keller's picture
Michael Keller on Jan 25, 2021

A profoundly ill-advised misadventure that will only serve to vastly increase the already bloated cost of energy. The exodus of businesses and residents will accelerate.

And why the irrational embrace of exceptionally expensive energy? Because politicians, and the investment class figure there is money to be made with little risk to themselves. 

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