Blogs > Clean Energy > Win: Governor Cuomo Delivers Big Energy Efficiency Changes (and battery storage)

Win: Governor Cuomo Delivers Big Energy Efficiency Changes (and battery storage)

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Earlier this year, Riverkeeper and our partners asked you to urge Governor Cuomo to “go bigger” on the cheapest and most readily available resource for reducing our energy use: energy efficiency. 8,000 New Yorkers joined us in urging the state to increase its commitment to energy efficiency, which can reduce NYS energy use by an amount equal to approximately 1.8 million homes — while creating nearly 50,000 jobs. Prior to Earth Day 2018, you urged the Governor to adopt a nation-leading ramp up to annual electricity demand reduction standard of three percent by 2025.

Then, on Earth Day, the Governor announced that he was ready to adopt the standard to reach a three percent annual demand reduction by 2025, promising big increases in measures designed to promote energy-saving windows, appliances, lighting, heating and cooling systems, housing insulation and more. However, the detailed plan as to how to translate targets into actual policy prescriptions was not provided.

Now, we have the governor’s full plan to set a nation-leading standard that will ramp up immediately to reduce New York’s energy demand each year by three percent in 2025 and it is indeed what we were hoping for.

Last week, the Public Service Commission announced a roadmap for the state to ramp up to 3 percent in annual savings in the demand for electricity, by the year 2025, as compared to what energy demand would have been without efficiency gains. The order requires utilities to ramp up their investments for energy efficiency for 2019-2020 and gives them 90 days to report on how they will achieve greater levels of efficiency between 2021-2025.

Additionally, the new goal to adopt 5 Btu of energy efficient heat pumps goes right to the heart of addressing energy use from heating and cooling systems, reducing the reliance on electricity and gas. Finally, an important aspect to make all of this work is the ability of utilities to recover their costs for spending to reach energy efficiency targets and most importantly, stretch the time horizon for recovery over long periods of time to minimize potential impacts to energy bills.

In addition to moving forward on energy efficiency, the state adopted new targets for battery storage. The state announced an interim goal of installing 1,500 MW of battery storage by 2025 with a goal of 3000 MW by 2030. The 2025 interim goal would store enough power for approximately 1.2 million homes. Storing energy in batteries is a critical technology for unlocking the potential of clean energy now. Batteries help soak up renewable energy when it is prevalent and can release that energy when demand is highest, say a hot day when air conditioners are running across the state.

Expanding battery technology and energy efficiency is vital to transitioning the state’s electricity system and achieving the Governor’s new goal of taking New York State 100 percent carbon neutral by 2040. The Governor’s recent announcement is a bold step forward but we encourage the Governor to continue to push ahead with policies on climate and energy that meet the scale of the crisis.

PS — For more information see this great blog from NRDC’s Jackson Morris.

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