Governor Cuomo Announces Additional $2 Billion in Utility Energy Efficiency and Building Electrification Initiatives to Combat Climate Change

16 Jan 2020

Governor Andrew M. Cuomo announced an additional $2 billion in energy efficiency and building electrification initiatives to combat climate change. The New York State Public Service Commission has approved an ambitious set of energy efficiency and electric heat pump targets to dramatically reduce energy consumption in New York. The new targets for investor-owned utilities will bring nearly $2 billion in market-enabling investments to help transform the way New York residents and businesses heat and cool their homes and offices and move towards cleaner and healthier buildings and communities throughout the state. Together with the New York State Energy Research and Development Authority, the New York Power Authority, the Long Island Power Authority and a previous PSC order on efficiency, New York State is now investing over $6.8 billion in energy efficiency and clean heat investments from 2020 through 2025. This historic investment supports New York's Green New Deal strategy and nation-leading mandate to reduce greenhouse gas emissions throughout the state by 85 percent by 2050 and achieve economy-wide carbon neutrality.

"Climate change is a real and growing threat to New York's environment and economy and to the health of our people, and we're already experiencing the negative impacts in the form of increased weather related emergencies," Governor Cuomo said. "This historic investment shows we are aggressively pursuing clean energy alternatives to reduce our reliance on fossil fuels, growing jobs in clean energy industries and protecting our environment for current and future generations."

With this additional commitment, New York State is now investing more than $6.8 billion through 2025 to deploy clean heat and energy efficiency technologies in buildings to reduce emissions and combat climate change. Under NYSERDA's Clean Energy Fund, $1.2 billion will be devoted to energy efficiency measures and heat pumps. Additionally, by 2025, NYPA will spend $1.5 billion in energy efficiency initiatives for their state-wide municipal and state agency customers. On Long Island, LIPA will devote $500 million for their residential and business customers. This Commission order will direct nearly $2 billion in additional utility energy efficiency and electrification actions: $893 million for electric energy efficiency; $553 million for gas energy efficiency; and $454 million for heat pumps through 2025. Additionally, the Commission re-authorized funding to support existing levels of utility energy efficiency activities through 2025 totaling $1.3 billion, meaning that today's decision will result in a new total of over $3 billion in investor-owned utility investments for energy efficiency and building electrification through 2025, helping New Yorkers across the state to advance cleaner buildings and healthier communities.

The order is also expected to boost the number of energy efficiency jobs across the state as the largest segment of New York's clean energy economy. In 2018, over 123,000 New Yorkers were employed in the energy efficiency sector. With this new investment, job growth and economic opportunity in energy efficiency is expected to further accelerate over the next five years, making New York State a leading market for sustainable building technology. 

The new energy efficiency and electrification programs authorized will also contribute substantially toward meeting New York's clean energy goals. These targets, combined with other State initiatives, will result in a three percent reduction in annual electric usage and a 1.3 percent reduction in annual gas usage by 2025. This utility investment is a cornerstone of New York's energy efficiency strategy and will result in substantial progress toward New York's energy savings goal.

Energy efficiency improvements and innovative heating systems like heat pumps reduce energy use and save consumers money on their total energy bills.  When integrated into New York's energy systems and infrastructure, energy efficiency provides long-term benefits by lowering baseload and peak demand and reducing the need for additional energy generation - including fossil fuels -- and transmission lines, lowering the overall cost of the system benefiting consumers.

To improve access, scale and services to the most vulnerable New Yorkers, $289 million in additional funding will be dedicated for Low-Moderate Income energy efficiency programs. In addition to this increase, the Commission has also directed NYSERDA to commit an additional $30 million for LMI-related heat pump initiatives. This incremental funding is additive to existing LMI energy efficiency efforts and the nearly $250 million annually provided through utility bill credits through the statewide Affordability Program which is targeted at limiting the energy burden to no more than six percent of a household's income. This dedicated funding and investments provides the most vulnerable New Yorkers not only with access to energy efficiency and home heating clean technologies, but new opportunities to participate in the clean energy transition and manage their energy bills. 

Additionally, New York's electric utilities and NYSERDA are directed to jointly develop a consistent statewide heat pump program framework to be administered by the utilities in their service territories and combined with LIPA sets a minimum target of 4.6 TBtu for savings from heat pump installations across the state. 

The Commission's decision demonstrates the necessity of a comprehensive approach to scaling energy efficiency and building electrification through the collaborative efforts of the investor-owned utilities, NYSERDA, NYPA and LIPA.

Governor of NY |