sustainability

The Climate Leadership and Community Protection Act

A path to electrical transformation

By STEPHEN STUART
Posted 7/15/20

NEW YORK STATE — The New York State Public Service Commission (PSC) released its first white paper on the Clean Energy Standard to Implement New York’s Climate Leadership and Community …

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sustainability

The Climate Leadership and Community Protection Act

A path to electrical transformation

Posted

NEW YORK STATE — The New York State Public Service Commission (PSC) released its first white paper on the Clean Energy Standard to Implement New York’s Climate Leadership and Community Protection Act (CLCPA) on June 18. The Clean Energy Standard (PSC Case 15-E-0302) evolved from New York State’s 2015 State Energy Plan, which set a goal to generate 50 percent of all electricity used in New York from renewable sources.

The CLCPA is the latest development toward reducing NYS greenhouse gas emissions attributed to electricity production. It increases the target goal to 70 percent renewable electricity by 2030, which will set NY on a rapid and irreversible path to achieve a carbon-free power sector by 2040.

The Climate Leadership and Community Protection Act (CLCPA), which went into effect January 1, represents the most ambitious and comprehensive climate and clean energy law in the nation; it requires NY to harness a power-generation sector that no longer emits greenhouse gases while providing electricity for a greater proportion of the overall economy.

According to the white paper, the strategies to meet the goals include development and deployment of six gigawatts (GW) of solar generation by 2025, three GW of energy storage by 2030 and minimum of nine GW of offshore wind by 2035. A watt is a measure of electrical energy used or produced over time. A gigawatt is a billion kilowatts. Home solar systems are designed to produce 4 to 25 KW averaged annually, depending on energy use.

In addition, the need to increase energy efficiency in buildings has been identified to enable the use of air-source and ground-source heating and cooling technology, assist citizens in the transition to electrically powered modes of transportation and work toward the electrification of certain industrial processes.

CLCPA has also built in protection for certain existing electric-procurement agreements, along with protective standards to assure that the rate-payers are not burdened with out-of-control costs of implementation.

CLCPA has also pledged to meet the needs of low- and moderate-income (LMI) households, granting them access to the renewable generation programs and finally addressing the environmental harm that disadvantaged communities often suffer from fossil fuel generation of electricity.

How does the CLCPA define a renewable energy system?

For purposes of the 2030 target, the CLCPA defines “renewable energy systems” as “systems that generate electricity or thermal energy through use of the following technologies: solar thermal, photovoltaics, on land and offshore wind, hydroelectric, geothermal electric, geothermal ground source heat, tidal energy, wave energy, ocean thermal and fuel cells that do not utilize a fossil fuel resource in the process of generating electricity.”

Measures for disadvantaged communities

The CLCPA directs the Climate Action Council, a 22-member committee preparing the climate change plan, to design the programs for achieving the 2030 and 2040 targets “in a manner to provide substantial benefits for disadvantaged communities... including low- to moderate-income consumers, at a reasonable cost while ensuring safe and reliable electric service.”

The CLCPA defines “disadvantaged communities” as “communities that bear burdens of negative public-health effects, environmental pollution, impacts of climate change, and possess certain socioeconomic criteria, or comprise high-concentrations of low- and moderate- income households.”

Ability to suspend program

The CLCPA provides the council with authority to “temporarily suspend or modify” the obligations created by the program if, after conducting a hearing, it finds that the program “impedes the provision of safe and adequate electric service, is likely to impair existing obligations and agreements” and/or is related to “a significant increase in arrears or service disconnections.”

For additional information, including easy-to-understand infographics, go to www.climate.ny.gov.

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