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New York PSC Approves New Clean Energy Standard

August 1, 2016

On Monday, August 1, the New York Public Service Commission (PSC) unanimously agreed to a bill that requires the state to obtain 50 percent of its power by renewable energy sources by 2030. After Governor Andrew Cuomo called on the PSC late in 2015 to commit to the ambitious 50 percent goal, thousands of New Yorkers supported the measure by making suggestions and participating in public hearings. The standard establishes New York as a leader in clean energy. Moreover, it is being hailed as a bold and necessary step toward environmentally friendly power. Under the mandate, 26.31 percent of power must come from renewable sources by next year. By 2021, that figure rises to 30.54 percent. In addition to the increasing presence of renewable energy power sources, the Clean Energy Standard entails an aggressive reduction of greenhouse gases (40 percent by 2030 from 1990 levels).

The mandate also assures $965 million in additional revenue over two years to three struggling upstate nuclear power plants: FitzPatrick, Ginna, and Nine Mile. The funds should boost the plants, which have had a tough time competing in a cheap market. Previously, Entergy Corp. announced it would close the FitzPatrick plant, but in July it reported that it was in talks with Exelon about a sale of the facility. Exelon agreed on the condition that the nuclear subsidies were approved. The bill also sets the stage for a long-term commitment to offshore wind projects, which could be crucial in hitting the 50 percent, 2030 requirement. The New York State Energy Research (NYSER) is expected to release blueprints that will develop a strategy for offshore wind projects.