New York regulators chart course to reach 50% renewables by 2030
- New York's Public Service Commission this week issued a white paper that inks a 15-year plan for the state to reach 50% renewables, setting tiers for existing and new generation in the Clean Energy Standard, directing investor-owned utilities to participate, and using a mix of renewable and clean energy credits to back nuclear energy.
- Gov. Andrew Cuomo (D) in November issued the 50% standard, hoping among other things to press utilities to find more value in keeping baseload nuclear generation operating, which is considered zero-carbon.
- The governor has been fighting to save Entergy's James A. FitzPatrick Nuclear Power Plant from closure, and the mandate could also help extend the life of the Robert E. Ginna nuclear facility.
- The white paper also calls for a firm set of requirements for both clean energy and renewable energy tiers through 2020, with targets through 2030 to be developed in an implementation plan.
New York is moving ahead with a set of aggressive environmental and emissions goals, setting itself on a path to source 50% of its energy from carbon-free sources by 2030.
Staff, in the white paper, said the plan "provides a foundation for policy and program design considerations and recommendations for New York's future approach to support [large scale renewables] as well as behind-the-meter renewable resources."
The state's 2015 energy plan calls for a slate of aggressive goals in addition to the renewable standard, including: a 40% reduction in greenhouse gas emissions from 1990 levels and 600 trillion Btu in energy efficiency gains, which equates to a 23% reduction from 2012 in energy consumption in buildings. New York also wants to decrease emissions 80% by 2050, but staff called that a "longer-term goal."
Meeting goals, staff said, would require "concerted action across a range of issues."
Staff said the plan will create competitive markets with capital deployed by third parties, both on the wholesale grid and behind-the-meter. "This will be necessary to achieve capital and operating efficiencies throughout the electric system," the white paper said. "These qualities are the hallmarks of and the essential elements for a well-designed competitive market."
The plan will also promote development of new market models that "encourage and incent individual consumers to accelerate and exceed the State's goals and support innovation throughout the sector."
The plan also calls for competitive long-term procurements by the New York State Energy Research and Development Authority and utilities, as needed, for specific tiers to support project financing. State regulators will perform assessments every three years, under the plan.
It is the second white paper offered up by PSC staff in recent weeks. In January, staff issued a white paper on the new Clean Energy Standard proposed for the state, calling for utilities to purchase power from several struggling upstate nuclear facilities while also boosting renewables and energy efficiency.
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