NY energy czar: A new Renewable Portfolio Standard will happen

New York Energy Czar Richard Kauffman

Pictured above: New York energy czar Richard Kauffman.

This is a guest blog by Laura Lyman, the Director of Communications and Development at the Alliance for Clean Energy New York.

Last week the Alliance for Clean Energy New York (ACE NY), an AWEA regional partner, hosted its 8th Annual Fall Conference & Membership Meeting in Albany. In addition to ACE NY members and supporters, participants included a number of the state’s energy policymakers from agencies such as the New York State Energy Research and Development Authority (NYSERDA), New York Power Authority, the state Department of Environmental Conservation, Department of Public Service, and Office of the Attorney General.

A panel discussion on New York's Renewable Portfolio Standard (RPS) program featured a timely group of presentations as the state is now contemplating what a new standard will look like with respect to structure and target. Meanwhile, in a keynote address, New York energy czar Richard Kauffman definitively stated that there will be an RPS and that there will be a renewables target. The statement was welcome news and a very encouraging confirmation. ACE NY and other wind energy advocates will now seek to ensure that the state follows through with the commitment and that any new program parameters effectively support continued development of wind energy projects.

On the RPS panel discussion, presenter Jackson Morris, Director of Eastern Energy for the Natural Resources Defense Council, reaffirmed the environmental community’s call for a new RPS goal of 50 percent renewables by 2025, while Clint Plummer, Vice President of Development for Deepwater Wind, laid out principles for a new RPS based on experiences in New England. Kevin Lynch, Managing Director of External Affairs at Iberdrola Renewables, provided a valuable perspective from California and Bob Grace, President of Sustainable Energy Advantage, summarized options and design questions that New York will be facing. Panel moderator Anthony Belisto, Special Energy Policy Advisor to the New York Public Service Commission, summarized the discussion noting he “now had a lot of work to do.”

To kick off the program, John Williams, Director of Energy Analysis at NYSERDA, and Jared Snyder, Assistant Commissioner for Air Resources, Climate Change and Energy at the DEC, led a discussion on the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency's Clean Power Plan and its potential implications for clean energy development in New York. 

New York’s Reforming the Energy Vision (REV) initiative was also a major focus. Hon. Audrey Zibelman, Chair of the New York Public Service Commission, provided an update on the latest developments in the proceeding, which was followed by a panel of clean-tech experts discussing REV’s potential business opportunities. The Commission instituted REV earlier this year, taking on the ambitious task of radically redesigning New York’s energy markets to spur improvements in system efficiency, greater customer choice, and greater penetration of clean generation and energy efficiency technologies.

A presentation from Janet Joseph, Vice President for Technology and Strategic Planning at NYSERDA, allowed audience members to hear how NYSERDA’s role will be continuing to evolve as the state looks to reshape its energy policies and programs. Ms. Joseph also provided an overview of NYSERDA’s recently released Clean Energy Fund Proposal, which is a plan to bridge the gap between New York’s soon-to-expire renewable energy and energy efficiency programs and the REV utility overhaul.

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