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New York State to Order that 50% of Power Consumed by New Yorkers be from Renewable Sources by 2030

The Order, part of New York's Reforming the Energy Vision (REV) Initiative, may prevent or delay the closure of upstate nuclear plants.

Reforming the Energy Vision (REV) Initiative:  The New York Times reports that Governor Cuomo will soon direct the New York State Public Service Commission (NYSPSC) to take concrete steps to codify the State’s goal of generating 50% of all of New York's energy from renewables by 2030.  Publicly, state officials have devoted much of their attention to harnessing more energy from solar, wind and hydro resources, but wind and solar offer only intermittent power.  Thus, according to the Times, the need to reduce greenhouse gas emissions in the years leading to 2030 may throw a life-line to the FitzPatrick and Ginna nuclear power plants in upstate New York.

This mandate would be a cornerstone of the goal to reduce greenhouse gas emissions under the State’s Reforming the Energy Vision (REV) Initiative announced by Governor Cuomo in 2014.  REV has a broad set of aggressive goals, including: 

  • Developing an integrated, more efficient energy network;

  • Making energy more affordable for New Yorkers;

  • 50% generation from renewables by 2030;

  • 40% reduction in greenhouse gas emissions by 2030 and 80% reduction by 2050;

  • 23% reduction in energy consumption in buildings by 2030;

  • Enhancing the resiliency of the energy system, in the wake of events like Superstorm Sandy.

State Energy Plan:  Several months ago, New York issued its new State Energy Plan. While prominently touting REV’s goals of enhancing renewable energy resources, the plan also recognizes the ongoing need for new, more efficient fossil fuel plants especially in New York City and on Long Island. In particular, the plan recognizes that facilities with dual-fuel capability (i.e., able to operate on natural gas and oil) are needed to protect against possible interruptions in natural gas supply. Thus, the State has not lost sight of its core obligation to ensure that New Yorkers enjoy access to safe and reliable electric service at just and reasonable rates. 

NYSERDA and NYSPSC Programs:  Several State agencies are taking steps to promote REV’s goals.  The New York State Energy Research and Development Authority (NYSERDA) has commenced several programs like the NY Prize program designed to encourage local communities to embrace distributed energy and the development of microgrids that, during widespread outages, could serve critical local facilities like hospitals, emergency response facilities (fire, ambulance, etc.), schools, and municipal buildings.  

The NYSPSC has commenced a proceeding regarding the REV program, Case No. 14-M-0101, that ultimately could transform New York’s energy system.  At the outset, the agency identified the following key questions:

  • What should be the role of the distribution utilities in enabling system wide efficiency and market-based deployment of distributed energy resources and load management?

  • What changes can and should be made in the current regulatory, tariff, and market design and incentive structures in New York to better align utility interests with achieving our energy policy objectives?

In subsequent issuances, the NYSPSC has recognized that fundamental changes may be required in how it regulates utilities if the REV’s objectives are to be achieved. 

We will provide additional insights into this NYSPSC proceeding and NYSERDA’s REV programs in the coming weeks and months.

© 2020 Beveridge & Diamond PC National Law Review, Volume V, Number 328

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About this Author

Stephen L. Gordon Environment & Land Use Attorney Beveridge & Diamond New York, NY
Principal

Steve’s practice includes providing legal services to local government, energy, real estate development, natural resource, manufacturing and waste management companies in all aspects of environment and land use law.

Representative matters during the past several years include numerous administrative and judicial proceedings relating to hazardous waste and sanitary landfill issues, environmental impact statements and public hearings for the siting of major electric generating facilities, large commercial and industrial real estate developments, major industrial waste disposal...

212-702-5410
John H. Paul Environmental & Energy Attorney Beveridge & Diamond New York, NY
Principal

John's practice focuses on environmental and energy law, project development, and environmental quality review of project proposals.

He assists clients in permitting, regulatory compliance, and enforcement matters involving waste management and disposal, hazardous wastes, bulk storage, wastewater, and air emissions. He advises clients with regard to remediation of contaminated properties and brownfield development, particularly on properties involving multiple ownership interests and complicated histories. He also advises and represents property owners and developers with regard to laws governing the development and use of waterfront and wetland properties.

John works with project development teams in planning, permitting, contracting, and transactions in support of large-scale development. This work has included energy and transmission projects on brownfields and municipally-owned properties, as well as submarine and wetland installations. Environmental impact review is a fundamental part of this work, and John helps clients manage the process to streamline review in support of reliable and defensible agency approvals.

John’s litigation practice includes federal and state class action defense, cost recovery, enforcement defense, and defense of citizen suits on behalf of site owners and operators, municipalities, and past owners of contaminated properties.

While at Pace University School of Law, John was awarded the White Plains Bar Association's Environmental Law Scholar Award. He served as Managing Editor of the Pace Environmental Law Review for 2002-2003. Before entering law school, John served in the U.S. Peace Corps in the Republic of Moldova, where he was an Associate Professor of English at the Moldovan state university.

212-702-5456
Michael G. Murphy Energy & Land Use Attorney Beveridge & Diamond New York, NY
Principal

Michael provides concrete, pragmatic advice that helps clients solve problems and achieve their goals in matters involving energy, land use, permitting, compliance, contracts, and litigation.

He worked for several years in construction before earning his undergraduate degree in Environmental Science and making a decision to enter the practice of environmental law. Today, he follows a similar non-traditional path in advising his clients—eschewing cookie-cutter approaches. He dives into the factual and legal issues, learning what is unique about his client, and tailors his advice to...

212-702-5436