- The New York State Department of Public Service and the New York State Energy Research and Development Authority (NYSERDA) published a white paper on June 18 introducing an expanded clean energy standard and laying out a framework for how the state will reach 70% renewable energy by 2030.
- That will mean substantial retirements of fossil-fuel generation in New York City, according to the paper. The plan identifies annual procurement targets for the Tier 1 large-scale renewable energy program and estimates the state will need to procure 42,858 GWh of green energy production in the next decade.
- While New York's Climate Leadership and Community Protection Act set one of the nation's most aggressive clean energy plans, experts say the state is well-positioned to meet its goals. The required increase in renewable generation is "an uptick, not an order of magnitude," Anne Reynolds, executive director of the Alliance for Clean Energy NY, told Utility Dive.
New York will need to overcome challenges in reaching its 70% renewable energy goal, including moving significant quantities of green power into New York City where almost all existing generation is fossil fuel. But experts say the state is on the right path and the goal is achievable.
"It's challenging but certainly feasible," said Reynolds. "The challenge for New York is to find a place to put these projects where there is good transmission."
In April, New York lawmakers authorized a new Office of Renewable Energy Siting, and took steps to accelerate transmission investment to move carbon-free electricity to load centers.
"One issue has been getting these projects built quickly. That's been a problem," Natural Resources Defense Council Senior Renewable Energy Advocate Cullen Howe told Utility Dive. The new office "tries to address that issue from the siting perspective."
But the more aggressive procurements laid out in the white paper are "not dramatic," said Howe. "It's not a doubling, but definitely faster, with more procurement every year."
NYSERDA estimates statewide load in 2030 will be 151,678 GWh of wholesale energy. That means an estimated 106,174 GWh of renewable electricity must be operating to meet the 70% goal.
With 63,317 GWh already either in operation, under contract or separately determined by statute, NYSERDA said 42,858 GWh of incremental renewable energy must be deployed through the state's Offshore Wind and Renewable Energy Standard collectively.
The white paper proposes procurement targets for offshore wind renewable energy credits in order to secure 9 GW of offshore wind by 2035, and proposes the creation of a Tier 4 large-scale renewable program under the clean energy standard to value environmental attributes associated with renewable energy deliveries into New York City.
New York's clean energy standard is currently divided into three tiers, laying out incentives for different types of emissions-free generation.
"A central challenge in achieving the 70 by 30 target will be increasing the penetration of renewable energy consumed in the downstate region of the state," the white paper notes. While New York's upstate region is supplied by 88% zero-emission resources, downstate areas consume about two-thirds of statewide load and are supplied by 69% fossil fuel-fired generation.
"For New York City, this disparity is even more stark," the white paper warns. The city accounts for about a third of the state's energy use, and nearly all of the roughly 22,500 GWh of electricity generated within New York City (Zone J) last year was from fossil fuel-fired generation.
"Without displacing a substantial portion of the fossil fuel-fired generation currently operating within Zone J, the
statewide 70 by 30 target will be difficult to achieve," the paper says. "The location of fossil-fueled generation of this magnitude in the most densely populated area of the state only accentuates the need for change."
New York's Tier 1 program for new land-based renewable generation has mostly resulted in upstate renewables development. The proposed Tier 4 would give financial support for renewable energy delivered into New York City and would be procured through a separate process than the procurement of offshore wind attributes.
The white paper also proposes a methodology for extending Tier 1 renewable energy eligibility to renewable energy facilities that undergo repowering, and invites comment on how baseline generation from New York Power Authority's hydroelectric resources should be used by NYPA as a self-supply option under NYSERDA’s proposed Competitive Tier 2 program.
After the 60-day comment period on the white paper, the New York Public Service Commission will make a final determination on program design and implementation.
"I would say the state is looking at this in the right way," said Howe. Though he cautioned that some aspects are out of New York's hands, such as the offshore wind target.
"We're going to need more leasing areas, but that's under the control of the federal government," said Howe. "If we're getting to 9 GW, we're going to have to have more leasing areas."