In the era of Trump, Cuomo looks to continue clean energy push

While environmental advocates across the country are cringing at the thought of the damage climate change denier President Donald Trump can do, Gov. Andrew Cuomo has announced additional new initiatives to move New York towards green energy.

Last year, Cuomo announced the approval of his Clean Energy Standard, which will require 50 percent of the state’s electricity to come from renewable sources of energy by 2030. Under his administration, the state has taken some steps to disinvest from coal and other nonrenewable energy.

“While I remain concerned about the impact to ratepayers that the Clean Energy Standard would impose, I am pleased that many of my concerns have been addressed and I commend the hard work and dedication that the Department of Public Service has demonstrated to date,” state Senate Energy and Telecommunications Committee Chairman Joseph Griffo said in a statement. “I will continue to work with stakeholders and my colleagues to closely monitor the implementation of the new CES and to ensure that our electric transmission, as well as fuel source infrastructure, is up to the task as we move forward to a cleaner, more reliable and resilient energy future.”

Cuomo is building on his Clean Energy Standard goal by calling on the Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative – a group of nine states working collectively to reduce greenhouse gases – to slash emissions by an additional 30 percent below 2020 levels by 2030.

While Cuomo recently brokered an agreement to stop the closure of the James A. FitzPatrick Nuclear Power Plant, citing the need for high-paying jobs and carbon-free power in upstate New York, he announced in January the closure of the Indian Point nuclear power plant by 2021. Cuomo has long sought to close the plant for safety reasons due to the plant’s proximity to New York City. While some raised concerns about how to replace the lost power or questioned whether Cuomo could shut down the plant without legislative approval, others applauded the move.

This year, Cuomo proposed a 15-turbine wind farm in the waters between Long Island and Martha’s Vineyard. The Long Island Power Authority approved the project in January.

Cuomo also proposed spending $360 million to construct 11 projects investing in wind, solar, fuel cells and hydroelectric power.

To further lower greenhouse gases, Cuomo has proposed expanding the ChargeNY initiative by building 500 new workplace electric car charging stations and building 59 new charging stations along the New York state Thruway.

“New York has made unprecedented progress in reducing its carbon footprint, while making great strides in transforming the economy into one that is cleaner, greener, stronger and more sustainable than ever before,” Cuomo said. “The Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative has been an incredible success in reducing emissions throughout New York and the Northeast, while supporting thousands of jobs and billions of dollars of investments in green development projects. With this proposal, New York will lower the emissions cap even further and set the precedent for recognizing and taking action against climate change to support the future of communities across the globe.”

Cuomo’s latest proposals have been applauded by environmental groups, which had applied intense pressure on the governor to ban hydraulic fracturing in the state. Cuomo officially banned fracking in June 2015.


– Reducing greenhouse gases by an additional 30 percent below 2020 levels by 2030

– Closing the Indian Point nuclear power plant

– More electric car charging stations

– New investments worth $360 million in wind, solar and hydroelectric power

– Cuomo’s budget also includes $2 billion over five years for the Clean Water Infrastructure Act