What impact does clean energy have?
The evidence is clear that we simply cannot afford to continue our current rate of climate pollution. The question of transitioning to clean energy cannot be an “if” but a “how.” If we do it right, we have the opportunity to not only keep our planet livable, but also bring down New Yorkers’ utility bills, equitably reduce pollution, preserve clean air and water, and create thousands of quality jobs by growing our wind, solar, hydropower, geothermal, electric vehicle, public transit and clean fuel economies in New York.
What role are you playing in promoting clean energy?
At the New York League of Conservation Voters, we advocate for policies that combat the climate crisis and expand clean energy, educate and empower citizens to be effective climate advocates, and hold elected officials accountable with valued endorsements and our annual environmental scorecard. Buildings, transportation and energy are the top sources of emissions in our state, so NYLCV is tackling these areas with concrete policy actions that will bring New York closer to its goals of 70% renewable energy by 2030 and 100% clean energy by 2040. This year, NYLCV helped pass the All Electric Buildings Act and the Planned Offshore Wind Transmission Act to further advance a thriving offshore wind energy program, and we advanced the NY HEAT Act and a Clean Fuel Standard in the Senate. We’re also strong advocates for congestion pricing in New York City because we can’t drive our way out of the climate crisis.
How well is New York doing in transitioning to clean energy?
NYSERDA and the Public Service Commission are doing a good job of moving New York toward its ambitious emissions reduction goals, but the dire state of the climate crisis means we are always playing a game of catch-up. Only about 30% of our energy currently comes from renewables. To cut emissions quickly and effectively, we must expedite the deployment of offshore wind, replace heating and cooling systems with thermal energy networks that reuse excess energy, implement a clean fuel standard to immediately reduce transportation emissions, and adopt direct sales of electric vehicles to make them more accessible without costing ratepayers.
What's one clean energy policy, either in place or proposed, that can move New York forward?
Transportation is one area where we must cut pollution faster. To do so, we need a clean fuel standard to build a robust EV charging network and incentivize low-carbon fuels like biofuels to power the combustion vehicles currently on our roads at little to no cost to consumers. It would go hand-in-hand with the Cap-and-Invest program the state is advancing. Simultaneously, we should adopt direct sales of electric vehicles to allow manufacturers to sell straight to consumers. In the 31 states where this policy already exists, it has proven instrumental in promoting widespread EV adoption at no cost to taxpayers.