Image: Office of Governor Andrew M. Cuomo
On Wednesday, January 13th, Governor Andrew M. Cuomo announced New York State’s plan for an ambitious $26 billion green energy initiative to build renewable energy projects throughout the state. “Nature is telling us, ‘do something, or I will,’” Governor Cuomo said. “The time to act is now, and New York is proud to be a leader in clean energy initiatives.”
In the third part of his annual State of the State address, Governor Cuomo described this green energy-focused investment plan as a post-COVID opportunity for economic growth that will enable New Yorkers to reach our climate goals, which include the achievement of 70% renewable energy use by 2030 and carbon-free electricity generation by 2040 (Strategic Outlook for 2020-2023, NYSERDA).
Cuomo laid out the components of his plan*:
To meet these goals, solar and on- and off-shore wind projects will be constructed throughout the state, and are said to “create nearly 11,000 jobs in Upstate NY alone.” Most notably, these off-shore wind and land-based renewable projects will:
For those of us interested in seeing substantial action from our elected representatives regarding the climate, this is an incredibly exciting time as the Governor discussed transmission projects to break up the congestion in the energy grid, and battery storage projects that will allow for storage of renewable energy to meet the energy needs of 1.2 million NY homes. The state plans to invest $20 million in a new Offshore Wind Training Institute, which will train 2,500 workers in the field of renewable energy, including solar, wind, and geothermal energy. Additionally, the Governor made note of the environmental injustice regarding communities of color. These communities have historically had weaker access to renewable sources of energy, which leads to disproportionately high rates of adverse health effects, increasingly evident during the current pandemic. It is clear that communities of color are in mind for the expansion of green job opportunities and green technology adoption.
As the Governor noted, “the evolution to green energy will involve replacing home heating and cooling systems in approximately 130,000 buildings with heat pumps and geothermal heating.” This goal is taken seriously by HeatSmart Tompkins. Our mission is to provide renewable energy education and outreach to our local community. Our volunteer-led team has been fighting against fossil fuels since the advent of our program in 2015. Governor Cuomo’s announcement of this green energy investment plan is another large step for New Yorkers towards our climate goals, with the support of our elected officials. This is something to be celebrated as hope for a better future. HeatSmart Tompkins fully supports the stance that “we must replace fossil fuel plants with clean power…. and now is the time to do it.”
While we are proud to see our representatives putting their words into action, let’s not forget that this is the result of decades of advocacy for the adoption of clean energy across New York State, by New Yorkers. Involvement by our neighbors and communities in adoption of clean energy is crucial for progress to be made. Below are some options you have to make a difference for your home, community, and planet now.