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New York to pass 'one of the most aggressive clean energy mandates in the country'

2019-06-28

New York is poised to pass its own version of the Green New Deal with a climate bill that would more than triple the state’s solar capacity and aggressively promote development of wind farms off the state’s coast.

The legislation calls for boosting the amount of solar power in New York to 6 gigawatts by 2025, from about 1.7 gigawatts currently. It would also have 9 gigawatts of offshore wind generation installed by 2035. None of the state’s power currently comes from offshore wind.

The bill codifies New York’s goal of getting all of its electricity from emission-free sources by 2040. Achieving that would put the state ahead of even progressive California, which has set of target of 100% clean power by 2045, and other states that have set clean-energy standards. New York is also looking to cut economy-wide emissions 85% by 2050. Governor Andrew Cuomo called the bill “the most aggressive in the country” during remarks on the radio program The Capitol Pressroom on WNYC.

“It’s definitely the most progressive bill that we’ve seen anywhere,’’ Miles Farmer, a senior attorney at the Natural Resources Defense Council, said in an interview.

The measure would give New York’s regulators a blueprint that may lead to stricter pollution limits for power plants and incentives to phase out oil and natural gas from home heating systems. Industry groups have raised concerns about the potentially higher costs for manufacturing.

The Green New Deal is the name adopted for a climate-change agenda by Democrats led by Representative Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez of New York and Senator Ed Markey of Massachusetts in a bid to dramatically shift the U.S. away from fossil fuels and other sources of the emissions that cause global warming.

“This legislation mandates enough local solar to power 1 million households by 2025,” Sean Gallagher, vice president of state affairs for the Solar Energy Industries Association, said in a statement. ‘This legislation also establishes one of the most aggressive clean energy mandates in the country.”

If the bill is approved, New York would join a chorus of cities and states setting 100% clean power targets. Puerto Rico passed legislation in April to source all of its electricity from renewable energy sources by 2050. California, Hawaii and New Mexico have made similar legislative pledges.

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