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New York's 'Reforming the Energy Vision' plan recognized as 2015 Harvard Ash Center Bright Idea

by jmaloni

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Mon, Mar 2nd 2015 10:05 am

New York's "Reforming the Energy Vision" plan has been recognized by the Ash Center for Democratic Governance and Innovation at Harvard University as part of its 2015 Bright Ideas program.

Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo's comprehensive Reforming the Energy Vision (REV plan) is a strategic approach to develop a clean, reliable and affordable energy system for all New Yorkers. The REV plan is one of 124 programs from all levels of government acknowledged by the Ash Center, part of Harvard's John F. Kennedy School of Government, as being at the forefront of innovative government action.

"When the state launched Reforming the Energy Vision last year, our goal was to jumpstart and accelerate private investment in the local clean energy economy to support job creation, community revitalization and the environment," said Richard Kauffman, chairman of energy and finance, office of Gov. Cuomo. "I'm thrilled the Ash Center has recognized New York's leadership in making government work more creatively and effectively for the people of New York."

The pioneering approach of Cuomo's REV plan includes regulatory changes to ensure the state's utilities use clean-energy solutions to provide their customers reliable and affordable power; a transition from ineffective public programs to more market-oriented strategies to attract new capital; and investment in energy efficiency and renewables across state agencies and authorities.

The plan encompasses statewide initiatives such as the nation's largest-of-its-kind NY Green Bank to transform clean-energy financing markets, the $1 billion NY-Sun Initiative to empower communities and schools to access the benefits of solar power, and the $40 million NY Prize community microgrid competition to inspire a new generation of local power.

 Gil Quiniones, New York Power Authority president and CEO, said, "Reforming the Energy Vision's groundbreaking initiatives will fundamentally transform the way energy is generated, distributed and used in New York State. Having our ideas recognized by the Ash Center is proof-positive we are making meaningful progress towards achieving our ambitious economic development and environmental goals."

"We are pleased to see the continued positive attention that Gov. Cuomo's REV initiative is rightfully receiving," Public Service Commission Chair Audrey Zibelman said. "By unleashing innovation, New York is pioneering a new statewide approach to give customers new opportunities for energy savings, local power generation and enhanced reliability to provide safe, clean and affordable electric service."

John B. Rhodes, president and CEO of New York State Energy Research and Development Authority, said, "Reforming the Energy Vision is a groundbreaking and innovative plan that will ensure New Yorkers have access to an energy system that is reliable, affordable, and ensures customer choice. The recognition bestowed by the Ash Center reaffirms that the state's efforts, under Gov. Cuomo, is spurring innovation and investment in the clean-energy economy and can be a model for other states."

For consideration as a Bright Idea, programs must currently be in operation, or in the process of launching and have sufficient operational resources, and must be administered by one or more governmental entities. Nonprofit, private-sector and union initiatives are eligible if operating in partnership with a governmental organization. Bright Ideas are showcased on the Ash Center's Government Innovators Network, an online platform for practitioners and policymakers to share innovative public policy solutions.

"The Bright Ideas program demonstrates that often seemingly intractable problems can be creatively and capably tackled by small groups of dedicated, civic-minded individuals," said Stephen Goldsmith, director of the innovations in government program at the Ash Center. "Making government work better doesn't always require massive reforms and huge budgets. Indeed, we are seeing that, in many ways, an emphasis on efficiency and adaptability can have further-reaching effects than large-scale reforms."

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