NY Governor Andrew Cuomo Unveils 2018 Climate Change Agenda


New York Governor Andrew Cuomo this week unveiled the 20th proposal of the 2018 State of the State: a comprehensive agenda to combat climate change by reducing greenhouse gas emissions and growing the clean energy economy.

Cuomo, as quoted on governor.ny.gov, said, “New Yorkers know too well the devastation caused by climate change, and in order to slow the effects of extreme weather and build our communities to be stronger and more resilient, we must make significant investments in renewable energy. With this proposal, New York is taking bold action to fight climate change and protect our environment, while supporting and growing 21st century jobs in these cutting-edge renewable industries.”

Highlights of the agenda include:

  • Expand Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative and Reduce Emissions Equitably From the Highest-Polluting, High Demand “Peaker” Power Plants
  • Issue Solicitations in 2018 and 2019 to Develop at Least 800 MW of Offshore Wind Projects and Foster Offshore Wind Industry and Workforce in New York State
  • $200 Million Investment to Meet Unprecedented Energy Storage Target of 1,500 Megawatts by 2025 In Order to Increase Transmission of Clean and Renewable Energy
  • Create the Zero Cost Solar for All Program for 10,000 Low-Income New Yorkers
  • Reconvene Scientific Advisory Committee on Climate Change Disbanded by the Federal Government
  • Governor Directs the Establishment of Energy Efficiency Target by Earth Day
  • Regulations to Close all Coal Plants to be Adopted


The new agenda will build on the governor’s mandate to generate 50% of the state’s electricity needs from renewable energy sources by 2030.

Offshore Wind Power and NYSERDA

According to the site, Governor Cuomo is calling for a procurement of at least 800 megawatts of offshore wind power between two solicitations to be issued in 2018 and 2019. These solicitations will be the first in a set schedule to reach the 2030 target, will create competition among developers to build some of the largest offshore wind projects in the United States, and will ensure that the resulting jobs and economic development benefits accrue across the state.

In addition, Governor Cuomo is directing NYSERDA to invest $15 million in clean energy workforce development and infrastructure advancement to train workers for jobs in the clean energy industry, including offshore wind construction, installation, operation, maintenance, design and associated infrastructure.

To attract private investment in port infrastructure and supply chain activities, Governor Cuomo is further directing NYSERDA to work with Empire State Development and other state agencies to determine the most promising public and private offshore wind port infrastructure investments. Governor Cuomo claims these new actions will jumpstart project development, drive job growth and industry investments, and secure New York’s status as the leader of emerging offshore wind industry in the U.S.

New Energy Efficiency Targets

While significant innovation and growth have been achieved in the renewable energy industry in New York, energy efficiency has not been on the same trajectory towards greater energy savings and greenhouse gas reductions like solar and wind. Creating a more energy efficient New York will require effort across the board to attract greater investment and innovation in energy efficiency.

To address this, Governor Cuomo is directing the New York Department of Public Service and NYSERDA to:

  • Engage stakeholders in the public and private sectors, and propose a comprehensive and far-reaching energy efficiency initiative by Earth Day, April 22, 2018;
  • Propose a new 2025 energy efficiency target achieved through cost effective implementation strategies and innovative approaches from both utilities and the Clean Energy Fund, which will accelerate progress towards the state’s ambitious climate and clean energy goals; and
  • Identify opportunities by which state facilities can lead by example.

In addition, NYSERDA will propose the establishment of appliance efficiency standards, with support for implementation from the Clean Energy Fund. This strategy is proven to achieve significant energy savings and is a function recently abdicated by the federal government. As co-chair of the U.S. Climate Alliance, New York State will work with its partners in other states to help scale state-level appliance efficiency. Working through the U.S. Climate Alliance and with other partners, New York State will provide certainty to manufacturers that appliance efficiency standards must be met across the United States.



Mark your calendars: The 3rd Annual Environmental Leader & Energy Manager Conference takes place May 15 – 17, 2018 in Denver. Learn more here.



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