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Cuomo Pledges Big Gains for Renewable Energy

The state will solicit bids to procure 800 megawatts of offshore wind power, in both 2018 and 2019. (David_Kaspar/Pixabay)
The state will solicit bids to procure 800 megawatts of offshore wind power, in both 2018 and 2019. (David_Kaspar/Pixabay)
January 5, 2018

NEW YORK – Gov. Andrew Cuomo is calling for big advances in renewable energy in New York. In his State of the State address on Wednesday, Cuomo laid the groundwork for major investments in energy efficiency, energy storage and community solar.

And, according to Joe Martens, director of the New York Offshore Wind Alliance, that also includes a commitment to solicit bids for 800 megawatts of offshore wind power in both 2018 and 2019 - enough to power 400,000 homes.

"That is big, because the offshore wind industry is in its infancy in the United States," he explains. "There's only one small wind farm off of Block Island, and this will really give a kick-start to the industry."

The governor also proposed strengthening the Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative to cover smaller electric-generating facilities and closing all coal-fired power plants in the state.

Martens says the governor's commitment to deploy 1,500 megawatts of energy storage capacity by 2025 is another big step forward. As everyone knows, there are times when the wind doesn't blow and the sun doesn't shine.

"Having the ability to call on storage facilities to provide power when renewables are not generating energy is a critical component to this transformation to more and more renewables," he adds.

New York's Clean Energy Standard calls for getting 50 percent of the state's electricity from renewable sources by the year 2030.

The governor also said the state will work to make sure that everyone can benefit from the advantages of renewable energy. As Martens notes, the initial investment for localized infrastructure can be a barrier to participation.

"It's a very solid commitment to provide community solar for 10,000 low-income New Yorkers, and I think the environmental justice community has been extremely happy with this announcement," he says.

Cuomo has also issued a directive for the state to establish new energy-efficiency targets by this year's Earth Day, in April.

Andrea Sears, Public News Service - NY