- Clean energy advocates are hoping to jumpstart New York's plan to supply 70% renewable electricity by 2030, and are calling on the Public Service Commission (PSC) to "immediately" launch a proceeding to implement the new requirement.
- More than a dozen groups, including the Alliance for Clean Energy New York (ACE NY) Sierra Club and Natural Resources Defense Council, on Tuesday submitted a roster of eight "principles" they say should guide the proceeding. They include the creation of new tiers of renewable energy credits (RECs), inclusion of offshore wind resources in the proceeding, and a final implementation order from the PSC by the end of 2020
- Lawmakers passed the the Climate Leadership and Community Protection Act (CLCPA) in June, setting New York on a path towards carbon neutrality by 2050. But advocates warn the clock is ticking on a carbon goal they say is one of the world's most ambitious.
New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo, D, first announced the 70-by-30 goal in January and six months later the target was signed into law. But the process to implement the new requirement "really hasn't started yet," according to ACE NY Executive Director Anne Reynolds.
"The PSC could have started a proceeding to implement that pledge but they haven't," Reynolds told Utility Dive. "They were probably waiting for the climate law to pass ... but they still haven't."
ACE-NY and 12 other groups have called on the commission to launch the implementation proceeding "immediately and [to] progress expeditiously."
"There are only 10 years available to achieve this aggressive goal, and due to the lag time (approximately four years) between approval of contracts and completion and operation of projects, the window to lock in new renewable generation sources that will contribute to this goal is even shorter," the groups wrote.
Lisa Dix, senior campaign manager for the Sierra Club, said the proceeding could launch in January following analysis by the New York State Energy Research and Development Authority (NYSERDA).
"It is really important we stay on that timeline so that New York is able to readjust its procurement schedule," Dix told Utility Dive.
A NYSERDA spokesman said the agency is not required to develop a proposal for meeting the state’s goal, but the CLCPA does require the PSC to establish, no later than June 30, 2021, a program to achieve the 70-by-30 goal.
A PSC official told Utility Dive the commission "will review the proposal and will decide next steps as appropriate."
Beyond expediency, the environmental groups did call for specific policy actions. One principle calls for the creation of a Tier 2 REC to support existing renewable resources, while another calls for regulators to include offshore wind resources in the scope of the implementation proceeding.
New York's REC program is open only to resources constructed since 2015 which means older generation will not qualify. That could result in those resources selling RECs into the New England ISO market, and New York would not get credit for the carbon-free generation.
"Existing renewables are anticipated to produce about 29% of total  load and some contracts will be up in the next five to 10 years," Dix said. "How do we keep those renewables here in New York?"
The groups also envision a new tier of RECs for offshore wind resources. The CLCPA includes a mandate of 9 GW of offshore wind by 2035, and advocates want to see that as an integral part of the implementation proceeding —though not at the expense of time.
"However, the Commission should ensure that ... the proceeding does not delay the next offshore wind solicitation, which NYSERDA has announced will occur before the end of 2020," the groups said in their filing.
If the proceeding takes longer than expected, they say the PSC "should develop a mechanism for considering and completing the authorization of the 9,000 MW offshore wind standard and procurement authorization separately."
Getting an order complete by the end of the year is an ambitious target, Reynolds conceded. But she believes it can be done because the state is committed to the goal. "By New York standards, we're not too late yet," she said.
Other states will be watching how New York develops its new renewables program, adding more pressure to meet the target, according to Dix.
"Over the long-run it's going to be a national model for how states are moving to 100% carbon free grids," Dix said. Others will be watching "what kinds of mechanisms New York can set up to make that happen ... so it is possible and reachable for all states to follow in the future."