- New York will cease burning coal for power generation by 2020, shuttering its three remaining plans, Gov. Andrew Cuomo (D) announced this week in his State of the State address.
- The plan will help meet the state's goal of reducing carbon dioxide emissions by 40% from the power sector by 2030.
- To address the economic impact of shuttering the plants on communities and workers, Cuomo said the state will use a $19 million mitigation fund to help offset financial losses.
New York will phase out coal burning power plants in the next five years, but it's not clear if the proposal is controversial or even difficult. The state only has three plants remaining, and they produce less than 4% of the state's demand. One of those is already slated to close this year.
"We will help the few remaining coal plants transition but we must clean our air and protect our health and that must be our first priority," Cuomo said in his address. The move will help New York meet broader energy goals of reducing power emissions by 40% in the next 15 years.
The Sierra Club called it a "historic step" along the way to another of the state's goals: 50% renewable energy by 2030.
Cuomo "has shifted New York’s focus from the energy of the past to the energy of the future," said Sierra Club's Lisa Dix, the state's senior representative for the Beyond Coal campaign. "His commitment to end coal, and invest in New York communities and jobs will build New York into an economic powerhouse, and an international leader, fueled by renewable energy.”
A ban on coal generation in New York doesn't necessarily mean that customers in the state won't be consuming power generated from the resource, Bloomberg reports. Because New York is a part of a regional grid where power is bought and sold on wholesale markets, power companies in the state may still import coal power from other jurisdictions.