The New York Power Authority has been given new authority to develop, own, and operate renewable energy generating projects, either alone or in collaboration with other entities, under a recently enacted state budget, NYPA said on May 3.
The new authority will allow NYPA to assist the state in meeting its clean energy targets, including producing 70% of the state’s electricity from renewable sources by 2030 and creating a zero-emission statewide electrical system by 2040.
In addition, NYPA will lead the state’s effort to decarbonize its electric grid by ceasing fossil fuel-based electricity production at its peaker power plants by 2030. NYPA will also develop action plans to decarbonize 15 of the highest emitting state facilities.
NYPA is formalizing internal task forces charged with advancing the key pillars of the new legislation: renewable development, a new Renewable Energy Access and Community Help program to benefit disadvantaged communities, labor training and NYPA peaker plant retirement. One action already underway is a review of the Power Authority’s own assets for renewable development.
“I have directed Power Authority leadership to immediately analyze all NYPA-owned land for potential renewable development opportunities,” said NYPA Acting President and CEO Justin Driscoll. “We will use every tool available to ensure that the Power Authority leads the effort to advance the Governor’s bold climate action priorities for the benefit of all New Yorkers.”
NYPA said it will now begin extensive work toward the publication of its first two-year strategic plan, outlining its strategies and proposed renewable projects, after collaboration with stakeholders and a public comment process that includes public hearings. The plan will be updated at least annually after public comment.
In addition, the Power Authority said it will develop and publish an action plan within the next two years to deliver upon its commitment to phase-out electricity production from its fossil fuel peaker power plants.
NYPA will also consider the appropriateness of using the plants and the sites for renewable generation, energy storage or electric grid support needs.
The law also empowers NYPA, in partnership with the Public Service Commission, to support disadvantaged communities with the new Renewable Energy Access and Community Help program.
The program will enable low-income and moderate-income electricity consumers to receive bill credits through the production of renewable energy products developed by or for NYPA in New York.
In addition, the enactment authorizes NYPA to contribute up to $25 million annually to the Department of Labor for workforce development in the renewable energy sector.
NYPA expects to be able access new and existing federal tax credits provided by the Inflation Reduction Act of 2022 to lower the costs of certain renewable energy projects that it would undertake under the enactment. The IRA tax credits, such as the investment tax credit and the production tax credit, are now directly payable to governmental and other non-taxable entities like NYPA.
NYPA also will leverage its energy service and engineering expertise to assist the 15 highest emitting state facilities by creating decarbonization action plans for the facilities.
“The action plans will accelerate the state’s progress toward a cleaner building sector, support the creation of high-quality jobs at future decarbonization projects—including thermal energy networks—and move the state closer to reaching its climate goals,” NYPA said.