Andrew M. Cuomo, Governor | Richard A. Ball, Commissioner
Jessica A. Chittenden

February 25, 2008

Lieutenant Governor Paterson Announces Roadmap To Significantly Increase Renewable Energy Generation In New York

Recommendations include more solar energy, funding the state’s program to get 25 percent of our electricity from renewable energy, and new business incentives to attract renewable energy companies and create “green” jobs

Lieutenant Governor David A. Paterson, Chairman of the State’s Renewable Energy Task Force, today announced 16 Task Force recommendations as part of a roadmap to significantly increase renewable energy generation in New York. These first recommendations include more solar energy production funding the state’s program to get 25 percent of New York's electricity from renewable energy by 2013 and new business incentives targeted to attract renewable energy producers and expand the State’s “green collar” workforce.

“Increasing the State's supply of clean, renewable energy will stem the flow of dollars out of State to pay for imported energy and will create jobs here in New York,” said Governor Eliot Spitzer. “Our challenge is not a lack of renewable energy potential it is finding ways to effectively develop it and create economic opportunities in our own backyard. Thanks to Lieutenant Governor Paterson's Task Force, we now have a policy roadmap that will solidify New York's leadership in renewable energy development and environmental stewardship.”

“With the world’s climate changing and traditional dirty energy sources causing geopolitical instability, these recommendations will put New York on a path to become part of a global solution,” said Lieutenant Governor Paterson. “By empowering this Task Force, Governor Spitzer has confidently faced the future with a vision that inspires our imagination as we embrace new technology.”

In June 2007, Governor Spitzer asked Lieutenant Governor David A. Paterson to chair and convene the first meeting of the Renewable Energy Task Force. The Task Force was charged with identifying barriers to increased production of renewable energy, recommending policies and financial incentives to overcome those barriers, and identifying future market areas where additional research and development investment is necessary.

Significant recommendations of the Task Force’s First Report include:

(1) Developing eight times more solar photovoltaic energy generation in New York – over 100 megawatts by 2011.

(2) Increasing the renewable energy supply in New York State to meet 25 percent of electricity demand by 2013 – and fully funding the Renewable Portfolio Standard to make it happen.

(3) Developing new business incentives to attract renewable energy technology companies to New York in order to build industry clusters in solar, wind, biomass and other technical areas.

(4) Changing the law to allow and encourage New York companies to produce their own renewable energy “on site” and deliver excess power back to the energy grid – known as “net metering.”

(5) Developing and supporting a “green collar” workforce of skilled labor to support renewable energy technology companies by coordinating training programs, expanding and enhancing those programs as necessary, and making training opportunities available to residents of disadvantaged communities, minority- and women-owned companies, and other small businesses.

The Task Force set forth key data throughout the Report demonstrating that investment in renewable energy creates jobs and increases tax revenues. Some examples include:

• Up to 43,000 new jobs in New York could be created by the renewable energy production needed to meet the requirement that 25 percent of New York’s electricity come from renewable sources. See page 26 of the Task Force Report.

• Renewable energy and energy efficiency industries could create up to 40 million jobs and generate up to $4.5 trillion in revenue in the United States by 2030 – a four fold increase over current revenues. See page 25 of the Task Force Report.

• $1 billion in economic benefits are expected to result over the next 20 years from the roughly $500 million that New York has so far committed in renewable energy funding through the Renewable Portfolio Standard – a 100 percent return on investment not counting economic spillover, multiplier effects, and environmental quality-of-life gains from renewable energy production. See page 5 of the Task Force Report.

Please click here to review the report’s summary of recommendations and the full report.

Taking immediate action on the Task Force’s recommendations, Paul Tonko, President and CEO of the New York State Energy Research and Development Authority (NYSERDA), indicated at the end of the Task Force’s event that NYSERDA would immediately invest $4 million in green collar workforce initiatives, on top of the $2 million in this year’s Executive Budget, and would also establish a Wind Energy Research and Testing Center to develop new technologies and provide workforce training.

President Tonko said: “Lieutenant Governor David Paterson's leadership on this vital issue to our economy and environment has been exceptional, and I am extremely pleased to be a part of his Renewable Energy Task Force to help develop and implement this important policy roadmap. Enhancing New York's renewable energy resources will spur energy independence, and serve as a critical foundation for economic growth and workforce expansion. As we move forward, we must continue to embrace the intellectual capacity that our State offers, and develop and support innovative technologies and alternative sources of energy that are in sync with our environmental and economic goals.”

Roger Kelley, President and CEO of the New York Power Authority, said: “I want to thank Governor Spitzer and Lieutenant Governor Paterson for the opportunity to participate in this process, to make New York a model for best practices for meeting ambitious renewable energy goals. New York State now has a comprehensive blueprint for expanding its use of renewable energy and alternative fuels for combating global warming, reducing dependence on foreign oil, and spurring job growth in new, clean energy industries. The Power Authority’s Niagara and St. Lawrence hydroelectric projects provide a solid head start. We expect to add to this through continued investment in such clean technologies as solar power and fuel cells, along with the purchase of wind power, as New York becomes a beacon for sustainable green power.”

Kevin Law, President and CEO of the Long Island Power Authority, said: “The Lieutenant Governor and my colleagues on the Task Force have provided a comprehensive set of recommendations that if financed and implemented throughout the State will decrease reliance on fossil fuels, improve air quality, increase our use of renewable energy sources, promote energy efficiency and conservation, and reduce energy demand. I look forward to working with the Governor and the Lieutenant Governor on this ambitious program that is good for our economy, our health and our environment.”

Pete Grannis, Commissioner of Environmental Conservation, said: “Clean energy is crucial on so many fronts: energy conservation, pollution reduction, combating climate change, and developing green businesses and jobs, just for starters. The Task Force’s recommendations will continue Governor Spitzer’s leadership on those issues. And, importantly, they will establish a roadmap to stimulate renewable energy development in a way that is real and tangible.”

Carol E. Murphy, Executive Director of the Alliance for Clean Energy New York, said: “I thank Governor Eliot Spitzer and Lieutenant Governor David A. Paterson for appointing me to this Task Force that has proven to be an invaluable forum for a diversity of energy expertise from all across New York State. We know that a commitment to clean and renewable energy means an investment in 21st century green jobs and a cleaner, safer and healthier future for New York State. The recommendations we deliver today are the consensus of experts that, if adopted, will be essential steps for improving the economy, the environment and public health.”

Dr. Cornelius Murphy, President of the SUNY College of Environmental Science and Forestry, said: “New York State and our nation are at a critical point relative to reducing our carbon footprint and preparing for a carbon constrained economy. The Lieutenant Governor’s leadership in leading the Renewable Energy Task Force and advancing its recommendations will help secure the quality of life and the economic security of everyone in New York State.”

Ashok Gupta, Air and Energy Program Director for the Natural Resources Defense Council, said: “The recommendations from Lieutenant Governor Paterson’s Renewable Energy Task Force, when combined with Governor Spitzer’s ‘15 by 15’ commitment on energy efficiency, represent a significant down payment towards achieving the global warming pollution reduction necessary for stabilization, and creating jobs in New York that come from investments in new clean, green technologies.”

Daniel Gundersen, Upstate Chairman of the Empire State Development Corporation (ESDC), said: “Support of the recommendations made today by the Renewable Energy Task Force is critical to the advancement of economic development initiatives in Upstate New York, as energy is a major cost to businesses. Using clean technology and renewable fuels is the future of doing business – particularly in the agricultural and manufacturing sectors – with the added benefit of supporting workforce development and emerging technologies in the State’s diverse regions so they can compete in the global market.”

Pat Foye, Downstate Chairman ESDC, said: “Meeting our renewable energy generation goals is key to securing a successful economic future for the State of New York. The recommendations of the Renewable Energy Task Force provide the added benefit of supporting job growth in new and emerging technologies. By embracing clean, home-grown energy solutions, the State will create local jobs, lower consumer energy bills, reduce our dangerous dependence on oil, and improve air quality. ESDC not only supports these recommendations but is committed to helping the State achieve them.”

Fred Zalcman, Director of Regulatory Affairs of Eastern States at SunEdison, said: “We applaud the Spitzer-Paterson Administration for embracing the Task Force’s ambitious recommendation to boost New York’s solar energy capacity by eight-fold over the next four years, and for taking on the ultimate challenge of making solar energy cost-competitive with traditional supply within the next decade. We look forward to working with the Administration in the next phase of this Task Force process, and to creating a well-functioning, sizable and growing solar marketplace in New York.”

Kelly Bennett, Vice President of Sterling Planet and Chair of NYS Apollo Alliance, said: “This first report demonstrates that with bold and effective public policy, New Yorkers need not be subject to the false choice between job creation and a clean environment. In reality, one of the biggest beneficiaries of a clean and green New York is the economy. I am proud to have served on a Task Force that has put forth a comprehensive, five-part strategy for public leadership that promotes renewable energy, drives energy efficiency, reduces our dependence on imported energy, and creates good green collar jobs in the process.”

Patrick Hooker, Commissioner of Agriculture & Markets, said: “Renewable energy offers the promise of a myriad of environmental, economic and societal benefits to New York State, and the agricultural industry will play a significant role in delivering on that promise. The Renewable Energy Task Force recognizes the important contributions that our State’s agricultural community can provide and will help develop the framework necessary to reach our goals in becoming energy independent.”

Michael Corso, Director of Policy and Inter-Governmental Relations for the New York State Public Service Commission, said: “The recommendations of the Lt. Governor's Task Force provide a comprehensive strategy to advance the goals of reducing energy consumption through efficiency and promoting more renewable energy development in New York State. These recommendations are designed to lead to a more energy-secure future while reducing emissions that can have adverse impacts on New York's environment.”

Jeff Williams, Deputy Director of the Public Policy Division of the New York Farm Bureau, said: “The Road Map provides a strong course of action for expanding renewable energy production and energy efficiency for New York State residents and businesses. The Report’s recommendations are designed to promote increased energy independence and a cleaner environment, and spur a new generation of ‘green collar’ jobs that will invigorate our economy for years to come. New York’s agricultural and forestry industries will benefit from many of the recommendations put forth in the Lt. Governor’s Report.”

Jenifer Becker, Assistant Vice President of Clean Energy and Sustainability for the New York City Economic Development Corporation, said: “The Renewable Energy Task Force recommendations are critical steps to strengthen New York’s leadership role in renewable energy supply and technology. Their implementation will go a long way to achieve New York City's ambitious goal to reduce carbon emissions 30 percent by 2030 as outlined in Mayor Bloomberg’s PlaNYC, New York’s statewide ‘15 by 15’ target, and the creation of a strong New York green collar economy."

Nicola Coddington, Energy Conservation Coordinator of the Town of Greenburg, said: “I feel that the collaborative work of members representing a diversity of perspectives helped shape a set of recommendations that are balanced and strong. I'm hopeful that these recommendations have the potential to truly transform our State's economy and our shared environment.”

The Task Force

Comprised of 20 members, the Renewable Energy Task Force represents a diverse array of stakeholders in the renewable energy field, including the renewable energy and alternative fuel industries, environmental and agricultural communities, academia, public utilities, local and state government entities, and experts in energy policy, green building construction and economic development.

In September 2007, the Task Force held a public meeting at 7 World Trade Center to release its preliminary findings. The findings were based on recommendations developed by numerous Task Force subcommittees, and vetted using the following criteria: what would generate the most renewable energy, what would have the most environmental benefit, and what would least impact ratepayers, taxpayers and consumers financially.

The Task Force’s First Report has the consensus of all of its members. Its final report is due December 2008.

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