New York's Climate Leadership and Community Protection Act — among some of the most ambitious clean-power legislation passed in the U.S. to date — is projected to drive more than $115 billion in new resource investment in the state by 2040, according to a new report.
As the state transitions from gas-dominated energy generation, solar and wind power will make up 39% of New York's energy capacity by 2030, and 83% by 2040, according to the forecast released by the consulting firm Energy Ventures Analysis.
The forecast assumes New York will meet the law's targets of 70% renewable energy by 2030 and 100% carbon-free electricity by 2040, which state leaders have conceded are aggressive.
New York, the nation's third-largest economy, is trying to prove that legislation inspired in part by the Green New Deal concept can drive state investment and job growth along with helping mitigate climate change.
Its new requirements come into place as states like California, Colorado, Nevada, New Mexico and Washington have also committed to reducing carbon emissions and moving toward greater renewable energy mixes. Cities and states are leading on climate policy amid federal inaction.
Governor Andrew Cuomo, D, initially expressed concern about setting forth goals that the state might not be able to meet, but after the legislation passed he called it "the most aggressive climate change program in the United States of America, period." Critics like Gavin Donohue, president of the Independent Power Producers of New York, have said that while the state's bill had "some laudable goals," there were not "a lot of details on how to get there."
To meet the law's energy requirements, Energy Ventures Analysis' models predict that investments in battery storage and offshore wind will have to ramp up fairly quickly over the next five years, while onshore wind investment would need to be large and fairly constant. Its modeling indicates that solar investment in New York would not likely take off until the 2030s, although community opposition to wind farms might incentivize developers to choose solar over onshore wind sooner than projected.
To arrive at a projection of $115 billion in utility-scale investment, Energy Venture Analysis used long-term scenario modeling that began with base price assumptions from its coal, natural gas, environmental and renewable groups. The firm also relied on inputs into the model from its power team on variables like electricity demand, capital costs for new market entrants, and future operations and maintenance cost changes due to environmental retrofitting.
Among the biggest outstanding questions will be how quickly and effectively New York actually moves toward the law's targets.