According to the Alliance for Clean Energy New York (ACE NY), Assembly member Michael Cusick, D-Staten Island, chair of the New York State Assembly Energy Committee, is introducing a bill that directs the Public Service Commission to establish an obligation for all electricity suppliers – including utilities and competitive retail electricity suppliers – to procure renewable energy credits (RECs) from renewable generators built before 2015.
This second tier of the Clean Energy Standard (CES), often referred to as CES Tier 2, would support existing renewables.
Senator Kevin Parker, Chair of the Senate Energy and Telecommunications Committee, is carrying companion legislation in the Senate (S.23).
“Support for currently operating renewable energy projects has been a missing piece in New York’s ambitious Clean Energy Standard.” said Anne Reynolds, Executive Director of the Alliance for Clean Energy New York (ACE NY), “This bill addresses this issue by requiring electricity suppliers to buy renewable energy credits – RECs – from existing sustainable biomass, hydropower, and wind power projects.”
In 2016, 24% of the State’s electric load was supplied by renewable resources, all while supporting over 22,000 jobs in the renewable generating sector. Should these existing resources fall out of operation, New York State will lose valuable jobs. By ensuring that the utilities are responsible for procuring renewable energy from existing facilities, this bill would help to keep those facilities in operation.
In addition, this bill would help New York get to 50% by retaining existing clean attributes in-state. Currently, New York does not allow existing generators to participate in state procurements, but RPS programs in neighboring states do. This has created the imminent threat of losing some of our baseline clean energy generation to out-of-state customers, which this bill is intended to remedy. If an existing renewable project is unable to sell RECs in New York, it is likely to cease operations, defer investment in New York, or export to states in adjacent control areas.
New York should take immediate action to prevent these outcomes, so projects’ economic benefits continue, and the state is able to count the electricity toward its renewable energy goals.
New York State is in direct competition with Connecticut, Massachusetts and other New England states in terms of attracting and maintaining renewable power and/or its attributes. This competition is no longer just theoretical; renewable energy RFPs have been issued in Massachusetts and Connecticut and New York-sited renewable resources are participating in these external markets in growing numbers.
“With the Launch of the Green New Deal during his State of the State Address, Governor Cuomo mentioned the mandate of 100% clean power by 2040 – the fastest in the nation. We must do everything in our power to support Renewable Energy Credits (RECs) by creating Tier 2 of the Clean Energy Standard,” Senator Kevin Parker stated. “As the prime sponsor of this important legislation in the Senate, I look forward to working with Assembly member Cusick to help shepherd this bill to the Governor’s desk.”
In one example, the 22-MW ReEnergy Lyonsdale biomass-to-electricity plant, which also provided steam to an adjacent paper mill, terminated operations in December 2017 when its REC contract expired. The Lyonsdale facility directly employed 22 individuals, with an annual payroll of approximately $2 million, and supported more than 100 direct and indirect jobs, many of them loggers harvesting fuel. When fully operational, the facility made $6.6 million in annual fuel purchases from local loggers and mills, providing a year-round market for 250,000 tons of low-valued wood by-products.
“We applaud Senator Parker and Assembly member Cusick for recognizing the value that New York’s existing renewable energy resources bring to our state and local communities,” said Marco Talamo, Regional Vice President, Brookfield Renewables. “As New York leads the way towards a 100% renewable future, we should recognize that we are not starting from nothing. New York is home to dozens of clean, renewable, generating resources, that already serve as a solid foundation for these admirable goals and we stand ready to power New York responsibly for decades to come.