Governor Andrew M. Cuomo recently announced the single largest commitment to renewable energy by a state in U.S. history at $1.4 billion, which will advance 26 large-scale renewable energy projects across New York. The competitive awards, driven by the Governor’s Clean Energy Standard mandate, are expected to generate enough clean, renewable energy to power more than 430,000 homes and create over 3,000 short- and long-term well-paying jobs.
“Instead of protecting our waters from another oil spill, like the one that devastated the Gulf, this new federal plan only increases the chances of another disaster taking place,” Governor Cuomo said. “This is a total disregard for science, reality, and history, and their actions defy everything we know. We believe the future is a clean energy economy and New York is going to lead a counter-movement to what this administration is doing to the environment and illuminate the path forward.”
The Governor, joined by Vice President Al Gore, also announced that New York has formally requested an exclusion from the new five-year National Outer Continental Shelf Oil and Gas Leasing Program.
“Governor Cuomo is demonstrating outstanding leadership in helping to solve the climate crisis and building a sustainable future,” said Vice President Gore. “His vision and leadership stand in stark contrast to the Trump administration’s malignant mission to make us even more dependent on the dirty and destructive fossil fuels. Now more than ever, it’s up to all of us to step up and act on this urgent cause of our time. Governor Cuomo is showing how it can be done.”
The Outer Continental Shelf Oil and Gas program proposes to make over 90% of the total offshore acreage in the U.S. available to oil and gas drilling. This plan would open two areas of the North Atlantic coast adjacent to New York State for fossil fuel exploration. An exclusion from offshore drilling program was granted to Florida shortly after its launch on the grounds that the state relies heavily on tourism as one of the nation’s top ocean economies.
As the number three ocean economy in the nation, New York stands to lose nearly 320,000 jobs and billions of dollars generated through tourism and fishing industries should the exclusion not be granted. Overall, New York’s ocean economy generates $11 billion in wages and contributes $23 billion in gross domestic product.
In addition, offshore drilling endangers New York’s progressive efforts to move toward cleaner, smarter energy solutions, including the nation-leading $1.4 billion investment dedicated to renewable energy projects. The awarded projects are expected to generate enough clean, renewable energy to power more than 430,000 homes and reduce carbon emissions by more than 1.6 million metric tons, the equivalent to taking nearly 340,000 cars off the road.
“New York is leading the way by producing the nation’s first-ever utility-scale offshore wind farm and we want to continue our partnership with federal agencies to move this forward. Governor Cuomo’s forward-thinking leadership charts a course for a sustainable and responsible future, free from the real threats offshore gas and oil drilling poses to our coastal communities,” said New York Secretary of State Rossana Rosado.
Clean Climate Careers
These projects advance the Clean Climate Careers initiative announced by Governor Cuomo in June 2017. The Clean Climate Careers initiative focuses on accelerating renewable energy and energy efficiency to make New York home to 40,000 new, good-paying clean energy jobs by 2020. With this historic investment, New York State will support over 3,000 short and long-term, good quality jobs in construction, operation, and maintenance that are anticipated to pay the prevailing wage for the region.
During the competitive selection process, bonus points were awarded to renewable energy projects that demonstrated a commitment to the creation of good local jobs and the use of locally manufactured components and content. The rigorous, two-step review process also included non-price criteria to evaluate the applications. The criteria included scoring for the developer’s experience in constructing and financing renewable projects, the developer’s previous project development experience in New York, and the projects development status related to grid interconnection, permitting and site control.
Proposals were reviewed and scored by a technical committee of professional independent evaluators. The response by 30 developers proposing 88 projects provided NYSERDA with the opportunity to select the best and most cost-effective proposals.
In addition to the 22 utility-scale solar farms, other projects include three wind farms and one hydroelectric project. One of the wind farms features an energy storage component, marking the first time a large-scale renewable energy project has done so in New York State. Several projects will break ground as early as April 2018 and all projects are expected to be operational by 2022, adding over 1,380 megawatts of capacity and generating over 3,200,000 MWh annually.
These projects represent a significant step in advancing the Governor’s Clean Energy Standard to obtain 50% of New York’s electricity from renewable energy sources by 2030.
“It is exciting to see Governor Cuomo’s nation-leading clean energy policies drive on-the-ground wind and solar projects and real job creation,” said Anne Reynolds, Executive Director of the Alliance for Clean Energy New York. “These first contract awards under the new 50% Clean Energy Standard show that New York is serious about making progress towards the 50% by 2030 target.”
For a list of projects, read the full announcement here.
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