By - Jim Vess

New York State moves forward with big programs on renewable energy and EVs

Energize Weekly, July 29, 2020

New York State announced two big clean energy initiatives in July – the largest in the nation solicitation for 4 gigawatts (GW) of renewable generation and a plan to build 110,000 electric vehicle (EV) charging stations.

The New York Public Service Commission approved a plan on July 16 to allow six electric utilities in the state to raise up to $701 million through customer rates to finance an EV charging-station infrastructure program.

The Make-Ready program will cover 90 percent of eligible costs, and the commission estimates that over the next decade, the program will stimulate a total of $1.5 billion in investment. The commission is requiring that $206 million of the EV revenue “directly benefit environmental justice and low- or moderate-income communities.”

The plan calls for 110,000 charging stations, including 2,750 DC (direct current) fast chargers, which can recharge an EV battery to 80 percent of full capacity in 20 to 30 minutes.

New York is one of the 10 states that are members of the Multi-State Zero Emissions Vehicle Memorandum of Understanding (MOU), which has a goal of collectively putting 3.3 million zero emission vehicles (ZEVs) on the roads by 2025.

New York’s share of the MOU is to have approximately 850,000 ZEVs registered in the state by 2025.

The action by the New York commission puts the state behind only California, which is also a signatory of the MOU, in charging station investment.

The California Public Utilities Commission (CPUC) has already authorized more than $1 billion in customer rates for EV infrastructure since 2016, and utilities have filed requests for another $1 billion for future EV infrastructure.

The utilities in the state are required to file 10-year plans for ZEV development with the CPUC in 2021. There are currently more than 18,000 charging stations in the state and a nation-leading 665,000 EVs on California roads. The state has a goal of five million ZEVs by 2030.

On July 21, New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo announced the country’s largest ever combined clean energy generation solicitation, seeking bids for 2.5 GW of offshore wind power and 1.5 GW of onshore renewable generating capacity.

“During one of the most challenging years New York has ever faced, we remain laser-focused on implementing our nation-leading climate plan and growing our clean energy economy, not only to bring significant economic benefits and jobs to the state, but to quickly attack climate change at its source by reducing our emissions,” Cuomo said in a statement.

A 2019 offshore wind solicitation led to 1.7 GW of project awards. The state has a goal of 9 GW of offshore generation by 2035.

The 1.5 GW in onshore renewable generation, the largest coordinated solicitation for land-based, large-scale renewable energy projects, will be divided between the New York State Energy Research and Development Authority (NYSERDA) and the New York Power Authority (NYPA).

“As these major solar and wind projects, some with an option for storage, come online we will reduce emissions, harness our abundance of natural resources, and boost economic development in all regions of our state setting the example for others,” Gil C. Quiniones, NYPA president and CEO, said in a statement.

The offshore call for bids also includes $400 million in public and private funding for investments at up to 11 New York ports to stage, construct and manufacture key components for wind farm projects.

“Amid the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, the solicitations, combined with a competitive multi-port funding opportunity are expected to spur approximately $7 billion in direct investments and to create approximately 4,500 good-paying short- and long-term jobs,” according to the Cuomo administration.

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