The third-largest state economy in the United States will soon run obtain half of its electricity needs from renewable energy thanks to a new measure approved by the New York Public Service commission Monday.
The Empire State’s new Clean Energy Standard will diversify the state’s electricity by requiring utilities and other energy suppliers to procure over 26 percent of the state’s electricity mix with clean, reliable renewable energy resources, including solar and wind power, in 2017, and over 30 percent by 2021, rising to 50 percent by 2030. State officials say the 50 percent target will reduce greenhouse gas emissions by 40 percent by 2030 and attract billions of dollars in new private investment.
“We applaud New York for its bold leadership by targeting 50 percent renewable energy within the next 15 years,” said Tom Kiernan, CEO of the American Wind Energy Association (AWEA). “By diversifying the state’s electricity mix with zero-emission renewable electricity like wind power, New Yorkers will soon be able to breathe a little easier. The state’s economy also wins thanks to the billions of dollars in private investment needed to help grow new land-based and offshore wind farms in the state. The environmental and economic benefits made possible by this new policy is a win-win for New York.”
As the U.S. has increasingly generated more of its electricity from renewable energy, electricity rates across the U.S. have remained 5.5 percent lower than they were in 2009. While the new order is expected to cost less than $2 a month to the average residential customer’s bill according to state officials, a Clean Energy Standard White Paper Cost Study released before the Public Service Commission decision yesterday showed the 50 percent renewable energy target would result in a net benefit of $1.8 billion by 2023.
New York’s decision to aggressively ramp up the amount of clean, reliable electricity in obtains from renewables continues the rising trend of states choosing to aim their clean energy targets higher. New York is the fifth state to with a 50 percent or more target, joining Oregon, Hawaii, California, and Vermont.
29 states have renewable portfolio standards. All are designed with several goals in mind: diversify our electricity supply, spur local economic development, reduce pollution, and conserve scarce fresh water. Polls regularly show wide majorities of Republican, Democrat and Independent voters support continuing these successful policies and latest polling data shows as wind power grows, so does the support by US voters.
$3.4 billion dollars in capital investment has already been attracted to New York’s economy by growing wind energy and wind power supports up to 2,000 well-paying jobs.
81,000 acres of offshore area will be leased by the end of the year and there’s 39 GW of total offshore wind potential off New York’s coast. The state currently ranks 13th in the U.S. with 1,749 megawatts (MW) of total installed wind power capacity and, in 2015, wind energy supplied nearly three percent of the state’s electricity or enough for 362,000 New York homes. There’s enough electricity generated from wind energy in the state each year to avoid 336,000 cars’ worth of carbon emissions.