Where to find the answer to the climate crisis: look no further than the State of New York with its ambitious program. The United States, individual states and many countries around the globe should follow New York State’s blueprint to address the climate crisis which is being implemented through an aggressive program lead by State government and the private sector.
In 2019 New York State enacted the Climate Leadership and Community Protection Act that set goals calling for a reduction in green house gas emissions with the development of 9000 megawatts of offshore wind, 6000 megawatts of solar generation and 3000 megawatts of energy storage. Many individuals at that time regarded these goals as being aspirational and would be very difficult to achieve. But now three years later there has been enormous progress.
The State has made substantial progress towards the goal of developing 9000 megawatts of offshore wind. It should be noted that one nuclear power plants is typically about 1000 megawatts so the 9000 megawatts represents the capacity of 9 nuclear plants. The wind turbines will be located in the Atlantic Ocean off Long Island. Offshore wind projects are proceeding through the process of leasing by the Federal government, authorizations from the State and construction. The fist project expected to be operational is South Fork Wind being developed by Orsted U.S. Offshore Wind and Eversource Energy. Orsted is a European offshore wind developer that has successfully pursued the offshore wind market in New York. The project will be about 130 megawatts and located 35 miles from Montauk Point off the eastern end of Long Island. The project is expected to begin operations in late 2023. Also in development are Sunrise Wind with about 880 megawatts located about 30 miles off the coast of Long Island and Empire Wind with about 816 megawatts located about 14 miles off Long Island.
Other offshore projects are in development in New York with the state’s current portfolio of 4300 megawatts. The NYS Energy Research and Development Authority (NYSERDA) is leading the State for contracting for these very ambitious projects. All proposed windfarms are subject to obtaining the necessary federal permits from the Bureau of Ocean Energy Management (BOEM).
In 2020, the State enacted a simplified siting process for large scale renewable energy projects and established the Office for Renewable Energy Siting that is expected to consolidate the environmental review of projects.
There has been some opposition from commercial fishermen and shore front residents concerned about transmission line landing location. The transmission lines will be buried and will not be visible.
Existing offshore projects in the United States are limited. At present, in New York State, there is a small 5 turbine operation and the other offshore wind facilities total 42 megawatts in the United States.
The State has an active solar development program with aggressive residential, commercial, community solar and utility scale projects with a 2021 installed capacity of over 600 megawatts, and growing. In particular, New York State has an aggressive community solar program with a development of 1000 megawatts and a pipeline with more than 700 community installations. Before 2018 New York saw little activity in community solar development.
There have been about 165,000 homes with rooftop solar, about 12,000 jobs in the solar industry and many projects benefitting disadvantaged communities. The State is aiming for 10,000 megawatts of installed solar capacity by 2030 and is on track to exceed the goal under the 2019 law of more than 6,000 megawatts.
New York’s goal of 3000 megawatts of energy storage by 2030 has been increased to 6000 megawatts which is regarded as essential to allow the benefit of solar and wind to be maximized given the uneven generation of electricity. The State has adopted terrific incentives including tax credits to promote the growth of energy storage. The State is also developing battery technology at Binghamton University.
The State’s plan to develop 6000 megawatts of energy storage by 2030 will promote the development of a clean energy future and ensure that the grid supplies a balanced demand for renewable energy. It will allow clean energy to be available when and where it is most needed.
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The November 2022 COP27 Conference of World Leaders is being held in Egypt and will be evaluating global progress towards a renewable energy future to address the climate crisis. World leaders should look to New York State’s renewable energy plans that are being implemented as a solution to the climate crisis.