On Wednesday, Governor Andrew Cuomo delivered his 2018 State of the State address, revealing new energy goals as New York heads into the fourth year of its Reforming the Energy Vision process.
The plan offers cash and sets capacity goals for two emerging industries, energy storage and offshore wind. Governor Cuomo wants to solicit 800 megawatts of offshore wind solicitations over the next two years, and 1,500 megawatts of energy storage projects by 2025.
While Europe has blossomed into an offshore powerhouse, the U.S. market hasn't yet taken off. Rhode Island’s 30-megawatt Block Island project is the only functioning U.S. offshore wind farm. Last month saw the official cancellation of Cape Wind -- the developer gave up after 15 years of legal battles.
Cuomo wants to make New York the next offshore wind frontier. In his 2017 State of the State address, the governor declared a goal of 2.4 gigawatts of wind by 2030. With two major solicitations scheduled for 2018 and 2019, there's now momentum behind the target.
“Throughout 2017, New York has been laying the groundwork for a major investment in offshore wind,” said Anne Reynolds, executive director of the Alliance for Clean Energy New York, in a statement. “A 2018 solicitation makes this real for New York.”
Cuomo is finally backing the state's storage target months after it passed in the legislature. In late November, the governor signed a bill that mandates that the Public Service Commission set an official 2030 storage goal. The Long Island Power Authority and the New York State Energy Research and Development Authority (NYSERDA) will carry out project deployments to meet it.
According to Ravi Manghani, GTM Research’s head of storage, Cuomo's call for 1,500 megawatts of storage capacity by 2025 offers clues about the final target. He calls it “a pre-emptive stake in the ground” from the governor’s office.
“More importantly, the proposal for the first time ties funding to storage, in the form of a $200 million investment from the NY Green Bank," said Manghani.
NYSERDA will also invest $60 million in pilot storage projects. Those projects should help improve the permitting, interconnecting and financing of projects. The announcement offers heartening news in a state that has struggled with regulatory barriers.
“These investments will be critical to jump-start the market and support robust and cost-effective project development,” reads the governor’s plan.
The new plan also called for the state to set a “comprehensive and far-reaching” energy efficiency target by April 20 (Earth Day), end the use of coal in state power plants by 2020, and to include peaker plants under 25 megawatts in greenhouse gas emissions reduction goals.
That last mandate will include a collaboration between NYSERDA and New York’s Environmental Justice and Just Transition Working Group to ensure marginalized communities impacted by peaker plant pollution will reap benefits from investments in emissions reductions. The governor also asked NYSERDA to set up zero-cost community solar subscriptions for 10,000 low-income residents.
Cuomo framed the directive in two ways: climate action and economic development.
"New Yorkers know too well the devastation caused by climate change, and in order to slow the effects of extreme weather and build our communities to be stronger and more resilient, we must make significant investments in renewable energy," said Governor Cuomo in a statement.
"With this proposal, New York is taking bold action to fight climate change and protect our environment, while supporting and growing 21st century jobs in these cutting-edge renewable industries."