Below are G.E.T.’s top picks from NY-GEO’s weekly “Just-In” Newsletter. Just In! features three fresh news item summaries on the NY-GEO home page every Monday. NY-GEO members get the full newsletter, which includes an advanced look at the website articles, plus event listings and job openings and several bonus article summaries with links, usually on the Saturday before website publication.
Rivera Co-Sponsors NYS Geothermal Tax Credit Bill – Jon Rivera, a Buffalo area Democrat, has stepped forward as Assembly sponsor to A07943/S3864 – a 25% tax credit for geothermal heat pump installations. This credit would bring parity for geothermal with the 25% tax credit solar has enjoyed in New York State for many years. The Legislature had twice passed earlier versions of this bill, in 2015 and 2016, but the Governor vetoed it each time noting that New York was still fleshing out its policy on decarbonizing the heating sector. In subsequent years Governor Cuomo has shown strong leadership on Building Electrification through the New Efficiency: New York Initiative with its first-in-the-nation mandates for energy savings through heat pump installations.
The reintroduction of the geo tax credit comes at an excellent time. The Energy Efficiency & Housing Task Force has just given its recommendations to the State’s Climate Action Council (CAC) and has not identified an abundance of the financial resources necessary to transition the heating sector from fossil fuels to heat pumps. Acting PSC Chair John Howard has recently cautioned that ratepayers will be able to shoulder only so much of the costs of climate action. In that context a tax credit would be a valuable addition to the incentive toolbox. In addition, CAC Advisory Panels have identified the grid impact of electrifying the heating and transportation sectors together as a potential problem where peak winter electricity demand could put too much stress on the grid. Geothermal heat pumps significantly reduce this stress because they use the heat stored underground to maintain high-efficiency through cold spells. Parties interested in helping Assembly Member Rivera and Senate Sponsor Tim Kennedy to pass A07943/S3864 should drop an email to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Panels Send Recommendations for Scoping Plan to Achieve Greenhouse Gas Emissions Reductions – New York On Track to Achieve Electricity System Goals of 70 Percent Renewable by 2030, Zero Emission Electricity by 2040, Sunset on Fossil Gas Heating is Recommended – 2021 05 10 – “New York State’s Climate Action Council Co-Chairs, Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) Commissioner Basil Seggos and New York State Energy Research and Development Authority (NYSERDA) President and CEO Doreen Harris, today announced the Climate Action Council (CAC) has reached a critical milestone in the State’s work to achieve the goals of New York’s nation-leading climate law, the Climate Leadership and Community Protection Act (Climate Act). The Climate Action Council’s seven advisory panels, Transportation, Agriculture and Forestry, Land Use and Local Government, Power Generation, Energy Efficiency and Housing, Energy Intensive and Trade Exposed Industries, and Waste have – along with the Just Transition Working Group – submitted their recommendations for the CAC to …to significantly reduce greenhouse gas emissions, ramp up renewable energy development, and put the State on the path to carbon neutrality economy-wide by 2050.
The…Council…will now…develop a draft Scoping Plan that will be released for public comment and the subject of six public hearings in 2022. The recommendations from the advisory panels, comprised of experts from across the State, will now be advanced into an integration analysis process, which will provide a cost-benefit assessment of the suite of strategies under consideration, accounting for the emissions reductions, job impacts, and health impacts of attaining the goals identified in the Climate Act. As required under the Climate Act, the final Scoping Plan will be posted online and delivered to the Governor and the Legislature in 2023, and DEC will release regulations to realize the emissions reductions from the plan’s strategies in 2024. Over the past 15 months, the CAC has met 10 times and the seven advisory panels have met a total of 78 times.” See the full press release on the DEC website here.”
The Panel recommendations included numerous provisions designed to deliver on the Climate Act’s requirement that 35-40% of the efficiency, renewable energy, and jobs program benefits accrue to disadvantaged communities identified by the Climate Justice Working Group. More will need to be done in the Integration Analysis to make good on this promise.
Of particular interest to geothermal stakeholders, the Energy Efficiency and Housing Advisory Panel forwarded recommendations to sunset the use of fossil fuels in New York’s buildings, starting with single family new-builds in 2025. Many forward looking municipalities across the country have banned fossil fuels in new buildings, but this may be the first time a state has actively considered this step! Below are excerpts from the slides related to the fossil fuel sunset proposals:
The “Stranded Asset Dilemma” Clarified along with its Inequitable Implications for Ratepayers – Stranded assets can be a complex concept, but one with enormous consequences for the future of clean energy. The elimination of gas for space and hot water heating poses important challenges that that need to be addressed without delay. NY-GEO member Bob Wyman provides an understandable explanation of these challenges in his recently filed testimony for the Central Hudson Gas and Electric rate case. Thanks to Bob for his tireless support of our industry and thanks to NY-GEO Director of Operations JR Rath for this tip.
Biden Plan Analysis Echo’s NY’s Climate Council Building Electrification Recommendations – An April 2021 Study from Energy Innovations titled A 1.5°C NDC for Climate Leadership by the United States has reported “Building sector emissions primarily come from burning gas and oil in buildings, which makes transitioning to all-electric buildings the key to decarbonizing. The 1.5°C Scenario includes a sales standard requiring all newly sold building equipment to run on electricity by 2030 and all new buildings to be fully electric by 2025.” (From Sage Welch at the National Building Electrification Network and Sunstone Strategies)