Concentration of CO2 in the Atmosphere

NY Sets Energy Efficiency Target

to Cut Greenhouse Gas Emissions and Combat Climate Change

On April 20, 2018, New York Governor Andrew M. Cuomo announced an ambitious acceleration of energy efficiency in New York, including a comprehensive plan to achieve a new target for significant greenhouse gas emission reductions, decrease consumer energy costs and create job opportunities. Meeting the new energy efficiency target will deliver nearly one third of the greenhouse gas emissions reductions needed to meet New York’s climate goal of 40% reduction by 2030. This announcement is part of the Governor’s State of the State proposal to be developed from a milestone Earth Day energy efficiency target and comprehensive strategy.

“Energy efficiency is the most cost-effective way for New Yorkers to lower utility bills, curb harmful emissions and battle climate change,” Governor Cuomo said. “As the federal government abdicates its responsibility to safeguard our environment, we must continue our bold action to reduce emissions and protect all New Yorkers, today and in the future, from the devastating effects of climate change.”

“We’re aggressively working to make New York more energy efficient with unprecedented goals to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and address climate change,” Lieutenant Governor Kathy Hochul said. “The strategies to make our state cleaner and greener will result in high-tech jobs for New Yorkers with investments in workforce development. The focus on energy efficiency will not only enhance the environment and create new jobs, it will also lower energy costs for residents and boost the energy economy.”

Statewide, New Yorkers pay about $35 billion annually for electricity and heating fuels, and buildings are responsible for 59% of statewide greenhouse gas emissions. The new 2025 energy efficiency target will cut emissions and energy costs by incentivizing building developers, commercial and institutional building owners, and residential households to pursue building improvements to reduce energy consumption by 185 trillion BTUs (British thermal units) below forecasted energy use in 2025, the equivalent to energy consumed by 1.8 million New York homes. Meeting the target will accelerate achievement of energy efficiency in the next seven years by more than 40 percent over the current path. The new energy efficiency target will not only save substantial heating fuels but will set New York State on a path to achieve annual electric efficiency savings of 3% of investor-owned utility sales in 2025.

The initiative will support the growth of cost-effective private sector energy efficiency businesses and further Reforming the Energy Vision opportunities for third-parties to partner directly with utilities. These strategies will deliver benefits to New York consumers through new building retrofits, efficient appliances, and innovative technologies like heat pumps. New York’s investor-owned utilities will also be called on to achieve significantly more in both scale and innovation through their energy efficiency activities. By accelerating innovation to deliver energy efficiency solutions, New York will cut emissions by cost-effectively reducing electricity and building fuel demand across the state. This initiative will support the Clean Energy Standard mandate to generate 50% of the state’s electricity through renewable energy sources by 2030 and build on New York’s national leadership on clean energy and climate change.

Energy efficiency is a significant part of New York State’s clean energy economy, with more than 110,000 New Yorkers employed in energy efficiency-related jobs. The New York State Energy Research and Development Authority will commit an additional $36.5 million to train over 19,500 New Yorkers for clean energy jobs to support this rapidly growing industry.

As part of this new energy efficiency target and recognizing the critical importance to include the state’s most vulnerable residents, Governor Cuomo is also directing the Public Service Commission (PSC) to ensure that a substantial portion of the new energy efficiency activity be directly targeted to programs for low-to-moderate-income New Yorkers, which will complement the State’s existing progressive energy options for these New Yorkers. To implement this vision, individuals and organizations representing low to moderate income and environmental justice communities will be engaged and consulted to design impactful solutions, including the Governor’s Environmental Justice and Just Transition Work Group. The State will build on the initiatives underway in the Clean Energy Fund (CEF) by working with stakeholders and others to advance innovative net zero energy retrofit prototypes for affordable housing, facilitating the adoption of energy efficiency improvements under Medicaid as a component of healthy homes interventions, and advancing the market for zero energy modular homes.

The strategy for achieving the new energy efficiency target also requires that New York identify opportunities by which state facilities can lead by example. NYSERDA and the New York State Department of Public Service are proposing innovative strategies and tools to achieve the target, including energy benchmarking to measure progress, accelerated building codes with implementation support from the CEF, and investment in heat pumps to deliver low carbon solutions for heating and cooling. Advancing clean energy technologies that support beneficial electrification in heating, cooling, and hot water also helps improve the efficiency of the electric grid to the benefit of all customers. NYSERDA and the Department of Public Service (DPS) have engaged with over 60 public and private sector stakeholder organizations in developing a strategy for this innovative and ambitious initiative.

DPS and NYSERDA will be submitting a White Paper into the PSC energy efficiency proceeding to determine the mix of programs, policies and regulations that will be necessary to achieve the 2025 target while reducing consumer costs. The proceeding will assess the viability of various program and policy options to dramatically increase energy efficiency and advance an all-fuels approach to achieve energy savings that most benefit New Yorkers.

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