New York has increased its use of renewables faster than many states in the U.S., efforts which have launched the eastern region to the top of climate contributions following COP21. Cutting dependency on fossil fuels and adopting renewable energy practices such as wind and solar, New York is becoming a beacon of climate leadership. These efforts are a largely due to local level leadership, without which, these practices might not have been implemented.
Following the Supreme Court stall of the Clean Energy Plan, longtime climate advocates increased efforts, sidestepping costly coal production for wind energy which will also create a plethora of new jobs in the area. Irene Weiser, a New York councilwoman, shared, "The commission's decision today shows that Governor Andrew Cuomo and his administration are serious about meeting the State's ambitious climate goals while protecting the ratepayers of New York." Climate leadership is alive and well in New York.
Mary Anne Hitt | Huffington Post Green
New York is rocketing to the forefront of clean energy and climate leadership. In January, Governor Cuomo pledged to move New York off coal for good, an announcement that came after years of advocacy and hard work by leaders at all levels across the state.
This isn't just a victory for New Yorkers. Governor Cuomo has set a new standard for climate leadership. And mark my words – if grassroots advocates keep the pressure on, this will be the first of many such acts of leadership we will see in 2016 to keep the US moving forward on clean energy and climate. Even as the Clean Power Plan, stalled by the Supreme Court, makes its way through the legal process, New York concrete, historic step forward should reassure everyone that the US will continue to make progress toward our Paris climate commitment.
In New York, the real-world changes on the ground are already unfolding. Just this week, facing pressure from communities in and around Lansing, home to one of the state's four remaining coal plants, the New York Public Service Commissionchose a electricity transmission upgrade plan instead of approving a costly proposed plan to co-fire the Cayuga coal plant to burn both coal and gas.
"The PSC took a major step today to protect ratepayers, ensure reliable electricity, all while protecting our environment," said, Irene Weiser, councilwoman in the Caroline, New York. "The commission's decision today shows that Governor Andrew Cuomo and his administration are serious about meeting the State's ambitious climate goals, while protecting the ratepayers of New York."
This comes on the heels of Governor Cuomo's January commitment to a full phase out the state's coal-fired power fleet by 2020. At that time he also doubled down on his promise to rapidly usher in a new energy economy fueled by renewable energy, requiring that 50 percent of the state's power from renewables by 2030.
New York's Beyond Coal activists should be proud of their work over the past few months and years. They've helped push and persuade the Governor and his administration to take these bold steps to end coal's dirty legacy in New York once and for all, while also ensuring that communities and workers are provided with a just and fair transition away from coal to a renewable energy economy. And they've kept power prices affordable for New York families and businesses.