Letter State Budget

The Climate Leadership and Community Protection Act (CLCPA)

A Letter to the Governor

February 07, 2020

Dear Governor Cuomo:

We are aligned organizations made up of environmental, real estate, energy and civic organizations who have come together for the common purpose of advocating for a clean, renewable electric grid. We write to thank you for your leadership in moving forward the nation’s most aggressive plan to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and protect our environment and communities from the effects of climate change. We share your urgency for the transition to a renewable electric grid and pledge our support and assistance to get there.

Thanks to your dedication to this issue, the Climate Leadership and Community Protection Act (CLCPA) is now law in New York. Among other provisions, CLCPA requires that New York State have a net-zero carbon economy by 2050, including 70% renewable energy by 2030 and decarbonization of the electric sector by 2040. At the same time, New York City has also implemented aggressive greenhouse gas emissions reduction legislation focused on the building sector. Consistent with the state goals, New York City law calls for a 40 percent reduction in emissions from buildings over 25,000 square feet by 2030 and an 80 percent reduction by 2050 from 2005 levels.

Combined, these two laws will result in a significant increase in electricity use in the years ahead. For this reason, achieving the objectives of these two laws will require significant investments to our state’s energy systems. As you have led the way to rebuild airports, bridges, roads, and rail and subway systems, tackling the infrastructure challenges of the green economy means generating the renewable energy needed to meet a growing electrical demand, combined with improvements to the transmission and local distribution networks needed to reliably and affordably bring green power to consumers. This is especially needed in New York City given current transmission bottlenecks and local laws demanding parallel emissions reductions.

With this challenge in mind, our organizations have recently come together to offer our support to you in this effort. Together, we believe the following issues are essential to cost-effectively achieving the decarbonization of the electric sector, ensuring the reliability and effectiveness of the electric grid, protecting consumers and low-income communities, and achieving emissions reductions from the building sector:

  • Continue to advance the energy efficiency of buildings to lower electrical demand.
  • Rapidly deploy significantly more renewable power, while we protect existing carbon-free generation such as hydro power and bring planned renewable resources online.
  • Modernize, optimize, and build-out the transmission system so that renewable energy quickly reaches the areas of heaviest use.
  • Upgrade local distribution networks to ensure customers receive reliable power.
  • Enable widespread use of energy storage combined with a focus on energy efficiency to ensure reliability, control costs, and manage demand.

Your administration has already laid the groundwork for success thanks to initiatives including Reforming the Energy Vision, developing a Clean Energy Standard, launching the development of offshore wind, and adopting New Efficiency New York.

We pledge our collective expertise to work with you to build on these efforts and develop policies that continue New York’s leadership on this important, forward-looking infrastructure challenge. We would like to meet with you at your earliest convenience to discuss how our organizations can help to advance a carbon-free electrical grid.

Sincerely,

Andrew S. Rein
President
Citizens Budget Commission

James Whelan
President
Real Estate Board of New York

Ann Reynolds
Executive Director
The Alliance for Clean Energy NY

Thomas K. Wright
President & CEO
Regional Plan Association

Diane Sweeney
Executive Director
NY Energy Consumers Council

John Mandyck
Chief Executive OFficer
Urban Green Council

Julie Tighe
President
NY League of Conservation Voters