Cuomo’s “Green New Deal” Draws Praise

Contracts for the first 800 megawatts of New York offshore wind power may be signed by June. Photo Credit: PTNorbert, Pixabay

Andrea Sears
Public News Service

ALBANY, N.Y. – Renewable-energy advocates are giving Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s “Green New Deal” high marks.

Cuomo outlined his legislative agenda for the first 100 days of 2019 on Monday, including a call for addressing climate change by achieving 100 percent carbon-free electricity by 2040. New York’s clean-energy standard currently calls for 50 percent renewable energy by 2030.

Joe Martens, director of the New York Offshore Wind Alliance, said that in the absence of federal leadership on climate change, the governor consistently has set the bar higher for the state.

“We think that’s exactly what New York has to do to lead the nation to get off of fossil fuels as rapidly as possible, and make the transfer to a clean-energy economy,” he said.

Last January, the New York state Energy Research and Development Authority released an Offshore Wind Master Plan to develop 2,400 megawatts of offshore wind power by 2030. Proposals for constructing the first 800 megawatts of offshore wind are due in February and contracts could be signed by June.

Martens said a second procurement process could begin right away.

“They’re very much on track for offshore wind,” he said, “and their procurement schedule for land-based renewables has been also very much on track.”

He noted that siting and construction of onshore wind farms has been slow, and the state is being urged to accelerate that process. However, some critics have said the governor has fallen far short of providing the funding needed to reach the goal of 50 percent renewables by 2030, let alone 100 percent a decade later.

Martens said he thinks a detailed plan should be the next step in the process.

“Hopefully, the administration in this 100 days is also going to spell out a plan so that we can accelerate renewables generally,” he said. “And now, having set this new goal, we’re confident that New York is actually going to get there and lead the nation.”

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