Politics

Five New York energy goals to watch in 2017

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Closing Indian Point is just one of several big energy policy moves this year. Here’s a quick look at a few other priorities for the Cuomo administration:

Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative: In 2009 New York state joined RGGI, a cap-and-trade coalition of East Coast states aimed at reducing carbon emissions. Emissions have fallen below cap levels, which some experts attribute more to industry trends than RGGI. Gov. Andrew Cuomo, who calls RGGI “an incredible success,” now wants a cap reduction of 30 percent between 2020 and 2030, which will require approval from the other states.

Offshore wind: Last month, Cuomo called on the Long Island Power Authority to approve a 90-megawatt wind power project 30 miles off Long Island and within weeks LIPA followed through. The South Fork Wind Farm won’t be visible from the shore, avoiding the complaints that killed similar projects. State and federal permits will be required before the planned launch in 2022. Meanwhile, the Cuomo administration plans to finalize its Offshore Wind Master Plan later this year.

Electric vehicles: The governor also unveiled a proposal to install new charging stations for electric cars, including 500 at workplaces and 69 at rest stops along the state Thruway, which currently has charging stations at four rest stops along its 570-mile route. The governor also announced a $3 million plan to help municipalities buy electric vehicles. The moves could help New York close the gap on states like California that have charged ahead with electric cars.

Renewables study: The governor is directing the state Department of Environmental Conservation and the New York State Energy Research and Development Authority to study how the state could use 100 percent renewable energy. The state’s study comes after a 2013 report by Stanford, Cornell and the University of California, Davis, researchers who concluded it would be feasible to meet all of the state’s energy needs with renewable sources by 2030.

Codifying energy goals: Environmentalists have offered cautious praise for the governor’s goals – including another $360 million for renewable energy projects around the state – but some want the governor to go further. In the state budget, the NY Renews coalition is pushing for inclusion of the Climate and Community Protection Act, which would give Cuomo’s clean energy goals the force of law.

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