New York Public Service Commission Approves “50 by 2030” Clean Energy Standard

The New York Public Service Commission has approved the Clean Energy Standard (CES) for New York.  The CES will require 50% of the state’s electricity to come from renewable sources by 2030.  Under the CES, utilities and other energy suppliers will be required to obtain a certain number of Renewable Energy Credits each year, which will be used to help finance new renewable generation.  Governor Andrew Cuomo had directed the Department of Public Service Staff to develop and propose a CES on December 2, 2015.

In its August 1 order, the Commission noted the importance of “ensuring that markets are created that have the scale and scope to attract investment and reduce costs” in order to capture the value of clean energy. The Commission also emphasized the importance of maintaining a “modern, clean, and diverse” power system.

The CES particularly targets the preservation of existing nuclear generation.  As of April 2017, the CES requires utilities and energy suppliers to purchase Zero-Emissions Credits from nuclear plants, with the goal of “allow[ing] financially-struggling upstate nuclear power plants to remain in operation during New York’s transition to 50 percent renewables by 2030.”

The CES is estimated to add less than $2 per month to the average residential customer’s bill.  Representatives from the Natural Resources Defense Council, the Sierra Club, a host of unions (including the IBEW), and many others (including climate scientists and other environmental organizations) have praised the CES.

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