Cuomo Sets Renewable Agenda

Last month, Gov. Cuomo’s State of the State Address spoke boldly about renewable energy and other environmental initiatives. One major proposal is the creation of a $1 billion Green Bank for investment in clean energy. Renewable energy projects in New York City tend to have higher price tags than elsewhere in the state, just as a cost of doing business, so any additional help such systems can get will be welcome. However, if the Green Bank will be partially funded by the Renewable Portfolio Standards and System Benefit Charge, it is likely the City will contribute more than it gets back.

Cuomo also allocated an additional $150 million to the NY-Sun Initiative annually for the next 10 years. Initially, this program was limited to New York City, Westchester and the Lower Hudson Valley, but subsequent funding was made available throughout the state.

Considering the power issues in the wake of Hurricane Sandy, Cuomo proposed decreasing the reliance on a central grid and adding local power sources from renewables, natural gas and energy storage. If another superstorm hits, these are all good things for New York City.

One particularly dramatic recommendation is the elimination of the Long Island Power Authority as a result of its failure to adequately deal with problems arising from Hurricane Sandy. While this will obviously raise many issues, I can’t help but wonder what it means for the future of the Long Island-New York City Offshore Wind Project, of which LIPA was a partner.

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