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NY Announces Plans for Green Energy Program

Thursday, January 21, 2021

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Last week, New York Governor Andrew M. Cuomo delivered his 2021 State of the State address, outlining several proposals focused on creating the largest offshore wind program in the nation and a green energy transmission superhighway.

"Our planet is in crisis. By every metric it is clear: Sea levels are rising; ice caps are shrinking. California is burning, the Arctic is melting and deserts are flooding." Cuomo said. "We are proposing the largest wind programs in the nation and advancing our green manufacturing capacity and the jobs that go with it.”

Offshore Wind Facilities

In his address, “Reimagine | Rebuild | Renew,” Cuomo highlighted what is envisioned to be the largest offshore wind program in the United States. Made up of two offshore wind farms, the program is projected to yield a combined 2,490 megawatts of carbon-free energy.

The program is projected to bring in $8.9 billion in investments and create more than 5,200 jobs. Heading the project, Cuomo reported that the state had already contracted Equinor Wind US LLC, who is committed to manufacturing wind turbine components within the state.

As part of the offshore agreement—which will place the two offshore wind farms more than 20 miles off the shore of Long Island—Equinor will also be revitalizing the South Brooklyn Marine Terminal and the Port of Albany into large-scale offshore wind working industrial facilities.

“The U.S. East Coast is one of the most attractive growth markets for offshore wind in the world," Equinor CEO Anders Opedal said in a statement, adding that the projects will "play a major role in the state's ambitions of becoming a global offshore wind hub.”

While the state confirms it has already secured commitments from Equinor and other companies to manufacture wind turbine components and build the nation's largest offshore wind program, Cuomo also outlined upgrades to create five dedicated port facilities, including:

  • The nation's first offshore wind tower-manufacturing facility to be built at the Port of Albany;
  • An offshore wind turbine staging facility and operations and maintenance hub to be established at the South Brooklyn Marine Terminal;
  • Increasing the use of the Port of Coeymans for cutting-edge turbine foundation manufacturing; and
  • Buttressing the ongoing operations and maintenance out of Port Jefferson and Port of Montauk Harbor in Long Island.

According to Cuomo, the projects will leverage almost $3 of private funding for every $1 of public funding, for a combined $644 million investment. The ports plan to yield 2,600 short- and long-term jobs in the offshore wind industry.

Once the wind farms are completed, more than half of New York’s electricity will come from renewable sources, putting the state ahead of schedule toward reaching its goal of 70% renewable energy by 2030.

Energy Transmission Superhighway

Over the course of 2021, the state of New York is planning to construct a $2 billion, 250-mile-long green energy superhighway. According to Cuomo’s address, “Last year, New Yorkers' utility bills reflected approximately $1 billion in unnecessary 'congestion costs' because of bottlenecks on our antiquated transmission grid.”

Already, the state has begun construction on the New York Power Authority's 86-mile Smart Path project from Massena to Croghan, with additional construction planned for several key projects in Western New York, Mid-Hudson and the Capital Region.

Cuomo reported that the new energy superhighway plans to be optimized by state-of-the-art battery storage facilities, so that the state can store renewable energy to be used when needed. On the same day that he delivered the Reimagine | Rebuild | Renew plan, the state issued a Request for Proposals for transmission arteries to bring up to 1,500 MW of renewable energy from Upstate and Canada to New York City.

However, the RFP suggests that this quantity may increase if the state receives proposals that are “sufficiently compelling.”

Current and planned investments are expected to result in more than 1,000 jobs and $5 billion of public and private sector investment. The state is planning on reaching a decision on the project during the third quarter of this year.

Solar Investments, Storage & Workforce

Also outlined in the address are plans to invest in public-private partnerships for renewable energy projects, battery storage projects and worker training programs.

This year, New York is planning to contract 24 large-scale renewable energy generation projects, bringing the state’s total clean energy build-out to nearly 100 projects. Combined, the 24 projects—23 solar farms and one hydroelectric facility—will produce a capacity of 2,200 MW, generate more than $2.9 billion in investments, and will create 3,400 jobs across 16 counties.

On the topic of energy storage, Cuomo reported that the New York Power Authority had already begun construction on a large-scale, 20-megawatt battery storage project. Located in Northern New York, the project is projected to be one of the largest storage projects in the state’s portfolio of roughly 1,000 MW of contracted storage projects.

In concluding his agenda for 2021, Cuomo also touched on the state’s $20 million investment in a new Offshore Wind Training Institute based at SUNY Stony Brook and Farmingdale State College. The institute plans to train at least 2,500 residents for jobs in both wind and renewable energy.

The state also plans to invest $700 million in building electrification solutions for approximately 130,000 buildings in the state, including a variety of heat pump technologies, and the training of 14,000 workers for the new heat pump markets. Approximately 25% of the workers trained will be from disadvantaged communities or priority populations. 

“Green energy is a pressing moral imperative and a prime economic opportunity,” said Cuomo. “New York can and will be the nation's leader for renewable energy innovation and production, all while securing jobs of the future for New Yorkers. Our entire green energy program will create a total 12,400 megawatts of green energy to power 6 million homes, directly create more than 50,000 jobs, and spur $29 billion in private investment all across the state.”

Sustainability History

The transition to green energy has been a multi-year endeavor for New York. Starting in April 2019, New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio introduced what’s was billed as the city’s “Green New Deal,” a $14 billion plan that is aiming to reduce the city’s greenhouse emissions by 30% by 2030.

The plan was outlined in a report titled “OneNYC 2050: Building a Strong and Fair City,” and looks at numbers from 2005 and described several initiatives that will reduce emissions by various percentage points from those numbers.

Following the 2005 baseline, this plan is slated to cut in the following ways:

  • 10%: Mandating that all large, existing buildings implement retrofits to be more efficient and lower emissions;
  • 6%: Reducing emissions by including more renewable energy, expanded energy efficiency in buildings and reduced reliance on fossil fuel vehicles;
  • 5%: Pursuing a deal to power 100% of city operations with clean electricity sources like Canadian hydropower; and
  • 2%: Cleaning up vehicle fleet and implementing congestion pricing.

There are also two major parts of the initiative that impact the building and construction industry. Those include:

  • Requiring buildings cut their emissions. With the passage of the building mandates law, New York City is the first city in the world to require all large existing buildings of 25,000 square feet or more—of which there are 50,000 citywide—to make efficiency upgrades that lower their energy usage and emissions or face steep penalties, according to the report.
  • Banning new inefficient glass-walled buildings. The city will no longer allow all-glass facades in new construction unless they meet strict performance guidelines, making inefficient glass-heavy building designs a thing of the past.

Around the same time of the Green New Deal reveal, the city council also approved a package of bills and resolutions intended for radical energy efficient improvements.

The Climate Mobilization Act requires that all new residential and commercial buildings in the city have green roofs made up of either plants, solar panels or small wind turbines—or a combination of all three.

   

Tagged categories: Coalition for American Solar Manufacturing; Government; Green building; Green Infrastructure; Greenhouse gas; NA; North America; Program/Project Management; Solar energy; Wind Farm; Wind Towers

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