This week, the New York League of Conservation Voters released its 2012 Environmental Progress Report for the New York legislature, ranking this particular session a “B” overall. However, when it came to clean energy, NYLVC gave the legislature a “C.”
The biggest letdown came from the failure to pass the New York Solar Industry Development and Jobs Act, which is currently stalled in committee in both the Assembly and the Senate. Proponents of the bill say it will create 22,000 jobs and generate $20 billion in economic activity, but it’s unclear how much of that will happen in New York City. Also, each retail electric supplier would be required to increase solar power to 2.5 percent of its sales by 2025. While the city would benefit from more of its energy coming from PV, it doesn’t necessarily mean those solar sources would be located in the five boroughs.
One area where the legislature earned an “A” from the NYLCV was the passage of a law to allow residents to get tax credits for leased PV systems. The unique conditions in New York City where most people rent apartments in large buildings rather than own individual homes may not be that conducive to the lease model. On the other hand, upfront costs are one of the biggest inhibitors for solar in this city as elsewhere, so any effort to alleviate the financial burden to consumers is likely to be a positive step.
NYLCV also have an “A” for legislation that provides for the creation of a renewable energy credit certification and tracking system, which, among other things, will allow consumers to purchase certificates from green energy providers. Once again, for those living in New York City, it’s unlikely that those green energy providers are located within city limits.