The 2023-24 enacted state budget provides the New York Power Authority (NYPA) with new authority to develop, own and operate renewable energy-generating projects – either alone or in collaboration with other entities – to assist the state in meeting its clean energy targets, including producing 70% of the state’s electricity from renewable sources by 2030 and creating a zero-emission statewide electrical system by 2040.
In addition, the enactment provides NYPA will lead the state’s effort to decarbonize its electric grid by ceasing fossil fuel-based electricity production at its peaker power plants by 2030. NYPA will also develop action plans to decarbonize 15 of the highest-emitting state facilities.
NYPA Acting President and CEO Justin E. Driscoll said, “With the support of Gov. Hochul and continued collaboration with the State Legislature, the entire Power Authority team and I are inspired and ready to execute on this expanded authority to develop renewable energy projects across a large spectrum, helping the state advance its bold Climate Leadership and Community Protection Act goals, enabling public entities and NYPA’s customers to achieve their sustainability goals, and providing support to disadvantaged communities across New York. We are proud of our legacy of achievement, and appreciate the confidence that the governor and the Legislature have placed in NYPA at this critical time in the energy transition. The Power Authority has a proud history of leveraging our experience, and in particular the expertise of the state’s unionized workforce, to address unique and complex challenges. We are well positioned to develop new renewable energy generation resources – in collaboration with our state partners, stakeholders and the private sector – to accelerate the state’s decarbonization journey while helping to prepare New York’s workforce for the clean energy transition with good-paying jobs.”
The Power Authority is formalizing internal taskforces charged with advancing the key pillars of the new legislation: renewable development, a new Renewable Energy Access and Community Help (REACH) program to benefit disadvantaged communities, labor training and NYPA peaker plant retirement. One action already underway is a review of the Power Authority’s own assets for renewable development.
“I have directed Power Authority leadership to immediately analyze all NYPA-owned land for potential renewable development opportunities,” Driscoll said. “We will use every tool available to ensure that the Power Authority leads the effort to advance the governor’s bold climate action priorities for the benefit of all New Yorkers.”
A press release stated, “NYPA will now begin extensive work toward the publication of its first two-year strategic plan, outlining its strategies and proposed renewable projects, after collaboration with stakeholders and a public comment process that includes public hearings. The plan will be updated at least annually after public comment.
“In addition, the Power Authority will lead the power generation sector by developing and publishing an action plan within the next two years to deliver upon its commitment to phase-out electricity production from its fossil fuel peaker power plants. NYPA will also consider the appropriateness of using the plants and the sites for renewable generation, energy storage or electric grid support needs.
“The law also empowers NYPA, in partnership with the Public Service Commission (PSC), to support disadvantaged communities with a new REACH program. REACH will enable low-income and moderate-income electricity consumers to receive bill credits through the production of renewable energy products developed by or for NYPA in New York, making electricity more economical for more New Yorkers while helping to decarbonize the state’s electric grid. In addition, the enactment authorizes NYPA to contribute up to $25 million annually to the Department of Labor for workforce development in the renewable energy sector.
“NYPA expects to be able access new and existing federal tax credits provided by the Inflation Reduction Act of 2022 to lower the costs of certain renewable energy projects that it would undertake under the enactment. The IRA tax credits, such as the investment tax credit and the production tax credit, are now directly payable to governmental and other non-taxable entities like NYPA.
“NYPA also will leverage its energy service and engineering expertise to assist the 15 highest-emitting state facilities by creating decarbonization action plans for the facilities. The action plans will accelerate the state’s progress toward a cleaner building sector, support the creation of high-quality jobs at future decarbonization projects – including thermal energy networks – and move the state closer to reaching its climate goals.”