- New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo announced yesterday that state utility regulators approved a 10-year, $5 billion Clean Energy Fun which aims to accelerate growth of the state's clean energy economy, strengthen the grid and help meet a 50% renewables goal by 2030.
- The fund, which Cuomo said would attract and leverage third-party capital to the state, is also supposed to lower consumers' energy bills, according to Fortune. Both residential and business customers can expect lower energy costs this year, the governor said.
- Investment will take place in four major areas, the largest dubbed "Market Development." The New York State Energy Research and Development Authority will receive $2.7 billion to "stimulate consumer demand for clean energy alternatives, energy efficiency while helping to build clean energy supply chains to meet that growing customer demand."
- Nuclear generation may get a boost as well: As regulators develop a Clean Energy Standard, Cuomo has directed them to consider nuclear generation and to develop incentives to keep plants from retiring.
Cuomo's administration continues to push New York into a leadership position on grid evolution, and the announcement yesterday is designed to attract private investment in order to accelerate growth.
"This unparalleled $5 billion investment will leverage more than $29 billion in private sector funding and open the door to new clean energy opportunities for years to come," Cuomo said in a statement. "We are raising the bar when it comes to increasing the use of renewable energy and reducing harmful carbon emissions, and I am proud that the Empire State is continuing to set the example for the future."
NYSERDA will administer the fund, which is anticipated to result in more than $39 billion in customer bill savings over the next 10 years. In addition to those savings, Cuomo credited the Public Service Commission with taking actions to bring consumers lower costs of $1.5 billion over the next 10 years, including an immediate reduction of $91 million from 2016 electric and gas costs compared to 2015.
"We will build on the success of previous energy-development programs in a way that meets evolving customer and market needs and transition away from approaches that rely almost exclusively on ratepayer subsidies, which is unsustainable if we are to meet our ambitious goals in the long-run," said PSC Chair Audrey Zibelman.
The Clean Energy Fun will operate four major portfolios:
- Market Development ($2.7 billion): NYSERDA will look to bolster demand for clean energy and efficiency products, while helping to build supply chains. The agency is directed to spend at least $234.5 million on initiatives that benefit low-to-moderate income New Yorkers during the first three years of the fund;
- NY-Sun ($961 million): The initiative is designed to bolster growth of solar PV systems across the region, and the funding establishes a long-term commitmenr from the state. In addition to making solar energy more affordable and accessible, the initiative aims to drive the growth of the solar industry in New York, which currently employs more than 7,000 people.
- NY Green Bank ($782 million): Green Banks look to support clean energy project development and scale up existing programs. The fund will increase the NY Green Bank's total investment to $1 billion and will leverage an estimated $8 billion in private investment.
- Innovation and Research ($717 million): Cuomo said the Clean Energy Fund will help spur innovations through research and technology development that will drive clean-tech business growth and job creation while providing more energy choices to residential and business customers.
In addition, the PSC order approving the Clean Energy Fund also allocated $150 million for the development of new large-scale renewables projects this year and lends support to nuclear generation.
According to Cuomo's announcement, "as the Commission develops a Clean Energy Standard, it will create new incentives for large scale renewables and a new mechanism to prevent the premature retirement of safe, upstate nuclear power plants during this transition."
The PSC also ruled that the Clean Energy Standard should include non-emitting generation resources, like the nuclear power facilities in upstate New York. Entergy announced last year it would shutter the 838-MW James A. FitzPatrick nuclear plant either in 2016 or 2017, and Cuomo has said the state will use "every legal and regulatory avenue" in effort to save more than 600 jobs at the facility.