On January 15, Governor Cuomo of New York announced his bold plans for the “Green New Deal,” (not to be confused with the recent proposal of the same name made by congresswoman Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez) as a response to pressure from progressives concerned about rapid climate change.
This comes on the heels of the “Renewing the Energy Vision (REV)” proposal made by Cuomo in 2016 aiming to enact major changes to New York’s energy usage. The REV proposed a switch to 50% renewable energy statewide by 2030, a 20% cut to energy usage in state buildings by 2020, an investment of $1 billion in clean energy technology and projects, a commitment to producing 2400 MW of wind energy, 3000 MW of solar, and 1500 MW of energy storage. The proposal also outlined plans to create new jobs and support cleaner transportation. This bold plan was met with enthusiasm from progressives and clean energy advocates alike.
In his 2019 Justice Agenda, Governor Cuomo called for even more aggressive steps to be taken towards clean energy reform, stating his goal for 100% carbon-free electricity across the state by 2040, an unprecedented increase from his 2016 REV proposal.
This new plan is ambitious but, if pursued, would ensure a more sustainable future for New York. The key points include an increase to 70% renewable energy by 2030, another $1 billion towards clean energy technology and projects, and a whopping $250 million commitment to electric vehicle infrastructure. There are plans to strengthen building energy codes and appliance efficiency standards, develop a “Net-Zero Roadmap” to bring us closer to statewide carbon neutrality in buildings, and ensure state agency facilities uphold strong sustainability and energy efficiency standards. The projected energy from the REV will increase dramatically with New York’s offshore wind target quadrupling to 9000 MW, energy storage doubling to 3000 MW, and solar projections also doubling to 6000 MW. Finally, the Green New Deal proposes to expand the Clean Energy Communities program that incentivizes communities to buy and produce clean energy, as well as increasing funding for workforce development.
“Amidst the Trump administration’s assault on the environment and in order to continue New York’s progress in the fight against climate change, Governor Cuomo is announcing New York’s Green New Deal, a nation leading clean energy and jobs agenda that will put the state on a path to carbon neutrality across all sectors of New York’s economy,” Cuomo’s press briefing stated.
This new proposal was met with both shock and dissent from conservatives concerned with the effect it would have on the economy. However, it is more likely that the Green New Deal would jump start the economy with many new jobs, especially with state funding for clean energy education. An ambitious and bold proposal in its own right, it offers the chance for a sustainable future in the face of climate change. Although there are those who may argue against it, a possibility at a brighter future speaks for itself.
Jenna is a 21-year-old climate change activist and passionate clean energy supporter. She is excited to be writing for Green Energy Times and encourages all young adults to become more involved in activism.