New York is spending $1 billion to help residents conserve energy — and lower their bills



  • As people shelter-in-place due to the ongoing pandemic, utility bills are rising as the summer heat intensifies 
  • The New York State Energy Research and Development Authority and the state’s investor-owned utilities are working to provide clean and energy-efficient solutions to more than 350,000 low-to-moderate income households 
  • These services would include increasing insulation, efficient cooling and heating, education, and community support programs
  • An investment of $1 billion for programs will run through 2025 for energy efficiency in affordable multifamily buildings, increased energy efficiency access to low-income homeowners and renters, and capacity building with community-based organizations
  • The energy efficiency improvements help filter out air pollution, provide long term solutions to rising bills, and will ultimately help New York reach its net-zero greenhouse gas emissions reductions by 2050

The Climate Center’s Climate-Safe California Platform advocates for a formal California State commitment by 2022 to 80% below 1990 levels of greenhouse gas emissions and net negative emissions by 2030, including the phase-out of fossil fuels and a transition to clean energy

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New York awards offshore wind contracts in bid to reduce emissions

by Ivan Penn, NY Times

New York State, which last month passed an ambitious law to reduce the emissions that cause climate change, said Thursday that it had reached an agreement for two large offshore wind projects.

The wind projects, to be built off the coast of Long Island, represent a big step forward for a technology that has been slow to take off in the United States because of local opposition and high costs. Experts have said offshore turbines, which are used extensively in Northern Europe, hold great promise because the wind tends to be stronger and more consistent offshore than on land.

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New York rejects a natural gas pipeline, and federal regulators say that’s OK

by Phil Mckenna, InsideClimate News

In a setback for the fossil fuel industry, federal energy regulators rejected a petition from the Constitution Pipeline Company to overturn New York State’s denial of a water permit for a proposed natural gas pipeline. Without the permit, the pipeline can’t be built.

In a decision on Jan. 11, the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) denied the request from the company to revive the proposed 125-mile Constitution Pipeline from the Marcellus Shale in Pennsylvania to Upstate New York.

The decision comes during one of the largest expansions of natural gas infrastructure in U.S. history, a buildout that critics say is driven more by the financial interests of gas and electric companies than market demand.

Officials with New York’s Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) rejected the water quality permit for the pipeline in April 2016 stating, in part, that it failed to meet the state’s water quality standards. Constitution challenged the decision on the grounds that the state agency did not act within a reasonable time.

The federal commission, in rejecting the company’s challenge, wrote: “The record does not show that New York DEC in any instance failed to act on an application that was before it for more than the outer time limit of one year.”

The company first filed for a water quality permit with New York DEC in August 2013, then withdrew and resubmitted its application in 2014 and again in 2015 at the DEC’s request.

“States and project sponsors that engage in repeated withdrawal and refiling of applications for water quality certifications are acting, in many cases, contrary to the public interest and to the spirit of the Clean Water Act by failing to provide reasonably expeditious state decisions,” the federal commission wrote. “Even so, we do not conclude that the practice violates the letter of the statute.”

In September, FERC overruled New York’s decision to deny a water quality permit for a different natural gas pipeline. In that case, the federal commission—whose makeup has since changed, with two new members appointed by President Donald Trump—ruled that the state, which took nearly two years to make a decision, had not acted in a reasonable amount of time.

New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo praised FERC’s latest decision.

“No corporation should be allowed to endanger our natural resources, and the Constitution Pipeline represented a threat to our water quality and our environment,” Cuomo said in a statement. “I commend the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission for ruling in favor of New York’s efforts to prevent this project from moving forward.”
Williams Companies, one of the companies behind the pipeline project, said it will appeal FERC’s decision.

“We are planning to seek rehearing and, if necessary, appeal of this decision in order to continue to develop this much-needed infrastructure project,” Chris Stockton, a spokesman for the company said in a statement. The companies behind the Constitution Pipeline had also sued over the water permit, but a federal appeals court panel sided with the state in August.