NEW YORK STATE (September 21, 2014) – Governor Andrew M. Cuomo has designated the week of September 22-28 as Climate Week in order to encourage New Yorkers to think forward about the challenges of a changing climate, as well as to highlight the progress being made to prepare New York State for the new reality of extreme weather. After a number of major storms and weather events, New York has been among the first states to proactively research and implement climate initiatives such as clean energy technology and storm resiliency improvements. Administration officials will participate in a number of events throughout New York City over the course of the week to raise awareness of this initiative.
“The new reality of extreme weather means that we must re-imagine our state and nation to be cleaner and more resilient than ever before,” Governor Cuomo said. “New York has experienced firsthand the devastating effects of a changing climate, but today I am proud to say that we are building back better and stronger, and doing so with the next major storm in mind. As visitors from across the globe gather in New York City to discuss strategies to meet this unique challenge, I encourage all New Yorkers to join in by observing Climate Week and learning more about how they too can help protect our state and the environment."
Transformational Clean Energy Accomplishments
Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative: This year, New York joined partner states in the Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative to reduce the carbon emission cap by 45 percent. New York’s reinvestment of $400 million in the initiative’s auction proceeds is expected to reduce carbon pollution by 2.9 million tons, while promoting greater energy efficiency, ultimately providing $1.3 billion energy bill savings and creating thousands of jobs across the Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative partner states.
NY-Sun: This year, a commitment of $1 billion to NY-Sun was made to significantly expand the statewide deployment of solar power and to transform New York’s solar industry into a self-sustaining sector. NY-Sun has helped spur more than 300 megawatts of solar electric power across the state – more than in the entire previous decade.
NY Green Bank: In February, New York opened the $1 billion NY Green Bank, a state-sponsored, specialized financial entity working in partnership with the private sector to increase investments into New York’s clean energy markets to create a more efficient, reliable and sustainable energy system. The largest initiative of its kind in the nation, NY Green Bank represents an innovative business model that is increasing private investment while achieving clean energy outcomes that contribute to greater energy choices, reduced environmental impacts and more green energy advantages per public dollar spent for the benefit of all New Yorkers.
Charge NY: Since Charge NY was launched in 2013, 500 new public electric vehicle charging stations have been installed in New York, bringing the total number to 1,000 with a goal to develop and install 3,000 public electric vehicle charging stations by 2018. New York announced its participation in the Multi-State Zero-Emission Vehicles Action Plan to have 3.3 million zero-emission vehicles on U.S. roads by 2025.
BuildSmart NY: Since 2013, New York has achieved 5 percent energy savings in state facilities, leading to an estimated $25 million in cost savings and avoiding as much as 130,000 tons of greenhouse gas emissions. It is targeted to reduce energy consumption by 20 percent in State government facilities by 2020.
ClimAID: In 2014 the state updated its 2011 ClimAID report with refined projections for the seven regions based on additional and newer models, updated methods and science, and new emissions scenarios through 2100. (www.nyserda.ny.gov/ClimAID)
Reforming the Energy Vision: Launched in 2014, the groundbreaking Reforming the Energy Vision initiative will change the way electricity is distributed and used in New York, and will lead to regulatory changes that promote more efficient use of energy, deeper penetration of renewable energy resources such as wind and solar, and wider deployment of “distributed” energy resources. This initiative will create market-based, sustainable products and services that will drive an increasingly clean, reliable, affordable and consumer-oriented industry.
Clean Energy Fund: The Clean Energy Fund, which complements Reforming the Energy Vision, will help New York arrive at a modern energy system by growing the total investment in the clean energy economy, catalyzing new business opportunities and enabling markets for new products and services that customers value. The Fund will provide long-term funding certainty and flexibility by allocating funding among initiatives in direct response to market conditions and new innovations thereby transforming the State’s energy economy.
Renewable Heat NY: Launched in 2014, Renewable Heat NY is a $27 million initiative aimed at building a sustainable, high-efficiency, low-emissions wood heating sector in New York. The program will help develop more clean technology manufacturing based in New York, a skilled installer base, and sustainably harvested wood fuels from state forests—supporting economic development while preserving the environment.
Key Accomplishments to Prepare State for Impacts of Climate Change
Reimagining New York for a New Reality: Launched in 2013 and based in part on recommendations made by the Governor’s 2100 Commission, Reimagining New York for a New Reality is a $17 billion strategy to transform New York’s infrastructure, transportation networks, energy supply, coastal protection, weather warning system and emergency management to pave the way for a stronger and more resilient future. This includes using approximately $4.4 billion in flexible federal funding to enable homeowners, small businesses and entire communities to build back stronger and more resilient than before.
Shore Protection & Flood Mitigation: Since Superstorm Sandy, New York continues to support approximately $1.5 billion in coastal hazard reduction projects along New York’s Atlantic Ocean coast that are under design and development. This includes the completion of 10 separate coastal repair projects involving dune re-nourishment and the reconstruction of 146 acres of wave dampening marsh islands within Jamaica Bay. The state’s $66 million Hurricane Irene/Tropical Storm Lee Grant Program funded 207 flood mitigation and stream restoration projects across 23 counties.
NY Prize: A first-in-the nation $40 million competition, NY Prize engages communities in advancing plans for local power infrastructure to reduce costs, promote clean energy, reliability and resiliency by challenging New York communities, businesses, entrepreneurs, and electric utilities to design and implement community-based microgrids. Microgrids, which are able to fully separate from the larger electrical grid during extreme weather events and emergencies, provide vital public services and power to residential customers and critical operators such as hospitals, first responders and water treatment facilities.
PowerUp Long Island: Launched in August, PowerUp Long Island is a partnership between state energy agencies and local utilities to support further development and deployment of clean and renewable energy sources in the region. This new initiative, which brings a number of innovative clean-energy and energy-efficiency programs under one umbrella to service the Long Island area, is designed to advance the region’s significant progress in integrating clean energy.
Fuel NY: To prepare for future emergencies and severe weather events, New York State is implementing a 21st century fuel infrastructure protection strategy from the pipeline to the pump. Working to ensure that critical gas stations have back-up power capacity, the State launched two major Fuel NY initiatives this year to combat the risk of fuel shortages after major storms. The Portable Emergency Generator Program provides rental generators to gas stations in downstate areas for power back-up in case of an outage. In addition, the State Strategic Gasoline Reserve became operational and provides a reservoir of nearly 3 million gallons of fuel that can be used to meet emergency needs.
NY-Best: A consortium of more than 130 industry, academic and government partners, New York Battery and Energy Storage Technology promotes the growth of the energy storage industry in the state. Earlier this year, Governor Cuomo announced the opening of the NY Battery and Energy Storage Technology Test and Commercialization Center at Eastman Business Park in Rochester. The $23 million center provides unique testing and validation services needed to bring new battery and energy storage technologies to the commercial market.
Strengthened Oversight of Utilities: The 2013-14 State Budget included reforms to strengthen the Public Service Commission’s oversight and enforcement mechanisms of the major electric and gas utility companies. These reforms include a new utility ‘scorecard’ to hold utilities accountable for power restorations after a significant outage using a quantitative assessment of electric utility performance and an amended utility electric emergency plan designed for the prompt restoration of service in an emergency event involving widespread outages due to storms or other major events.