September 6, 2013
by Becky Hammer
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New York’s Plan for Post-Sandy Wastewater Infrastructure Projects Doesn’t Go Far Enough to Promote Resilience

Becky Hammer, Project Attorney, Water Program, Washington, DC
New York State is currently considering public input on its draft plan for how the state will spend $340 million on disaster resilience for wastewater infrastructure that was… Continue reading

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July 9, 2013
by Samantha Wilt
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New York State moving towards greater sustainability

Samantha Wilt, Energy Policy Analyst, New York
Every region of the state of New York now has a plan to reduce energy use, expand renewable energy, reduce greenhouse gas emissions, improve water and air quality, protect open space, reduc… Continue reading

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April 23, 2013
by Pierre Bull
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NY State Senate Passes Major Solar Energy Bill Extending Cuomo’s NY-Sun Initiative

Pierre Bull, Policy Analyst, Air & Energy, New York City

The New York State Senate today passed legislation to extend Governor Cuomo’s NY-Sun Initiative through 2023 and solidify the state’s long-term commitment to solar energy. Today’s bipartisan vote for the New York Solar Bill (S.2522) indicates growing support among lawmakers for delivering comprehensive solar policy to Governor Cuomo’s desk this legislative session.

Here’s what Governor Cuomo had to say about extending the NY-Sun Initiative back in his January 2013 State of the State Address:

The long-term commitment to solar energy represented by NY-Sun will make New York State a leader nationally in solar development.

Hear hear!

About the New York Solar Bill (NY-Sun Act)

The New York Solar Bill (NY-Sun Act) would build on the success of the NY-Sun Initiative, a public-private partnership designed to drive growth in the state’s solar industry and lower solar costs for homes, businesses, schools and other energy users. As a press release from Cuomo’s office puts it:

Program certainty is critical to developers in attracting significant private sector investment in solar photovoltaic systems. Therefore, expanding the NY-Sun program will support the growth of the solar industry across the state by providing stable and dependable funding of $150 million per year for the next ten years. By funding NY-Sun for the next decade, the state is enabling the sustainable development of a robust solar power industry in New York, creating well-paying skilled jobs, improving the reliability of the electric grid and reducing air pollution.

Sponsored by Senator George Maziarz (R-C, Newfane) and Assemblyman Steve Englebright (D- Setauket), the bill is expected to deliver the following benefits:

  • Build at least 2,200 megawatts (MW) of solar, according to our own estimates; that is enough clean, reliable electricity to power 400,000 New York homes. (New York currently ranks 12th in the country for total installed solar capacity.) 
  • Create thousands of new local jobs in New York. (3,300 New Yorkers are employed in the state’s growing solar industry.)
  • Save New Yorkers billions by reducing the need to fire up our (and out-of-state imports) of the dirtiest and most expensive fossil power plants.
  • Spur millions of dollars of investment in the state’s growing clean energy economy. 

The NY-Sun Initiative Performance To-Date

Since the NY-Sun Program’s successful launch over a year ago, which this new bill will build upon, the amount of solar in New York has tripled, surpassing the interim goal of the program (which was to double solar in New York from 2011 to 2012). A total of 190 MW of customer-sited solar capacity—enough to power over 34,000 homes—has either been installed or was under development at the end of last year thanks to this program.

The chart below from NYSERDA’s annual performance review of the New York Renewables Portfolio Standard (RPS) shows more detail on just how much solar is coming online.

NY-Sun Program performance chart

Table 8. New York State Customer-Sited PV Capacity Additions in 2012 [MW]

And now fast forward just a mere 120 days, and the state is on track to meeting Governor Cuomo’s latest solar goal, this time to “quadruple the 2011 [megawatt-based amount of] installations in 2013.” In just the first four months of the year, at least an additional 50 megawatts are now contracted to be built in New York State.

Given the promise for the solar industry in the state—along with the economic and climate change-combating benefits that come with it—it’s no surprise that the NY-Sun Act has support from a coalition of businesses, trade associations and environmental groups.

Sunny days are indeed ahead for New York with the NY-Sun Act. Onto the Assembly!

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March 18, 2013
by Lizzie Horvitz
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For Electric Cars, NYC Turns a New (Nissan) Leaf

Lizzie Horvitz, Urban Program Assistant, New York

With spring just around the corner, tree foliage isn’t the only place leaves are emerging. Shortly, we’ll be seeing a lot more Electric Leafs (you know–like the Nissan one)… Continue reading

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January 9, 2013
by Pierre Bull
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Governor Cuomo: Let’s enable a robust and sustainable solar industry to develop in New York State

Pierre Bull, Policy Analyst, Air & Energy, New York City
Governor Andrew Cuomo today called for a major expansion of his NY-Sun Initiative in his 2013 State of the State address. First announced in his State of the State last Janua… Continue reading

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January 9, 2013
by Kit Kennedy
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Roadmap to New Clean Energy and Climate Initiatives in Governor Cuomo’s 2013 State of the State

Kit Kennedy, Counsel, Air and Energy Program, New York
This afternoon Governor Cuomo announced a bold set of expanded clean tech, clean energy and climate mitigation initiatives in response to Superstorm Sandy as one of the cornerstones… Continue reading

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November 29, 2012
by Frances Beinecke
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Sandy Reveals the Steep Cost of Delaying Climate Action

Frances Beinecke, President of NRDC, New York City
Jennifer Pinkowski was terrified when her parents and brother decided to stay in their Jersey Shore home during Hurricane Sandy. Writing in NRDC’s OnEarth magazine, Pinkowski desc… Continue reading

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July 2, 2012
by Frances Beinecke
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New York Must Finish Its Study of Fracking’s Dangers Before Any Decisions Are Made

Frances Beinecke, President of NRDC, New York City
According to a recently leaked report, New York officials may allow fracking for natural gas in designated communities across the state. As reported, the plan would permit fracking in p… Continue reading

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June 18, 2012
by Pierre Bull
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New York Solar Reaches a Critical Juncture

Pierre Bull, Policy Analyst, Air & Energy, New York City
The time is now to put New York on the path to a cleaner energy future.  A clear ‘supermajority’ – 8 out of 10 New Yorkers – strongly support the grow… Continue reading

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January 23, 2012
by Samantha Wilt
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New York’s Regional Economic Development Councils: Planning for Smart Growth

Samantha Wilt, Energy Policy Analyst, New York
The Governor’s 2012-2013 Executive Budget, released last week, included a second round of funding ($200 million) for Regional Economic Development Council (REDC) projects. The REDC pr… Continue reading

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July 11, 2011
by Kate Sinding
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Revised draft environmental review from NYS shows promise, but also serious gaps to be filled

Kate Sinding, Senior Attorney, New York City Last Friday, Governor Cuomo’s Department of Environmental Conservation released its as-yet-incomplete revised draft environmental review on proposed new fracking (the so-called “Preliminary Revis… Continue reading

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April 15, 2011
by Richard Schrader
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NRDC’s Legislative Priorities for New York in 2011: Fracking, Solar & More

Richard Schrader, New York Legislative Director, New York Now that Governor Cuomo and the New York State Legislature have worked out an on-time new budget (an event as likely to happen as a spate of alien abductions in the Legislative Office Building) … Continue reading

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