NY Gov. Cuomo proposes Green New Deal with $1.5 billion in energy grants
Energize Weekly, January 23, 2019
New York Gov. Mario Cuomo has begun to roll out specifics of his proposed “Green New Deal,” including $1.5 billion in grants for large-scale renewable energy projects and a $70 million fund to help communities absorb tax losses from shuttered coal-fired power plants.
The programs were outlined in Cuomo’s State of the State address Jan. 15. In December, the governor had set the goal of net-zero carbon electricity by 2040 and other clean energy goals.
“Let’s take the next step on the Green New Deal, which tackles climate change and starts building the green economy for tomorrow,” Cuomo said in his speech. “We know it’s coming, let the economy be here.”
Cuomo called for a $1.5 billion program of competitive awards to spur 20 large-scale wind, solar and storage projects in upstate New York, with a target of adding 1,650 megawatts (MW) of capacity. The projects are expected to drive $4 billion in direct investment and create 2,600 short-term and long-term jobs.
Another proposal is to expand the “New York Green Bank.” The $1 billion investment fund was created in 2013 to speed clean energy deployment. Since then, it has committed $640 million to projects that has led to $1.75 billion in private investments in clean energy.
To expand the bank, the governor calls for developing as public-private partnership to facilitate raising third-party capital of $1 billion and a national expansion.
Cuomo also called for a $70 million property tax compensation fund to help local governments absorb the impact of closing coal-fired power plants.
“We have communities that are closing old, inefficient power plants,” the governor said in his speech. “It causes a problem because they lose the property taxes from those old plants. We want those old plants closed, we want more efficient plants, but let’s provide a fund that gives the communities the transition from the loss of that property tax revenue.”
Other elements of the Green Deal include boosting the state’s offshore wind target to 9 gigawatts (GW) by 2030 from 2.4 GW, installing 3 GW of energy storage by 2030 and deploying 6 GW of distributed solar by 2025.
In December, the New York Public Service Commission also approved the third phase in implementing the state’s Clean Energy Standard (CES), aimed at reducing greenhouse gas emissions by 40 percent by 2030 and 80 percent by 2050. The CES has a target of 50 percent renewable energy by 2030.