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New York’s sprawling climate and energy plan advances: What happens next?

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  • Josh Durso 

A state panel led by energy industry officials and experts approved a final plan for reaching New York’s climate goals. While many advocates celebrated the outcome, which was years in the making, Upstate Republicans bashed it.

The plan outlines how New York will reach its energy goals and end the use of fossil fuels.

There are a few important benchmarks along the way. For example, reaching 70% renewable electricity by 2030. The state must reach 100% zero-emissions electricity by 2040. A decade after that the expectation is that the state will be zero net emissions across the board.

Major overhauls to current and future infrastructure will be needed. For example, in the coming decades homes and commercial buildings will electrified with heat pumps. Vehicles and farm equipment will be moved to electric.

“I applaud my colleagues on the Climate Action Council, and members of the various advisory panels and working groups, for their tireless work over the past three years to develop this Scoping Plan to serve as a framework to achieve our ambitious climate targets under the nation-leading Climate Act,” Basil Seggos said. “This Plan serves as a bold, monumental achievement not just for New York State, but for the nation and the world, which centers on equity and climate justice across all sectors, building opportunities for all, and ensuring we have a workforce that can transition as seamlessly as possible in our new clean energy economy. Our work is just beginning, and we are leading the way to a cleaner, greener, and brighter future.”

NYSERDA President and CEO Doreen M. Harris, who led the Climate Action Council, said New York worked hard to lay the ground work that allowed it get where it is now.

DiSanto Propane (Billboard)

“New York State laid the groundwork for change with its nation-leading climate law, and through the diligent and thoughtful work of the Climate Action Council, along with input from the public in every corner of the state, we now have an action plan to follow to ensure we meet these critical goals,” Harris said. “Today is certainly a day to celebrate, but this also marks the beginning of more significant work to come as we forge the path ahead and lead by example on how to transition an economy based on the conventional energy practices of yesterday to the thriving green economy of tomorrow.”

Meanwhile, Republicans like State Senator Tom O’Mara blasted the outcome.

“Governor Hochul’s ambition to impose far-reaching clean energy mandates on all New Yorkers keeps moving forward, yet her unwillingness to explain how much it will cost or how the state intends to pay for it remains shocking. Consumers have no idea what’s coming. The Climate Action Council’s plan has never been accompanied by any cost-benefit analysis of the impact of these actions on energy affordability, reliability, or sustainability,” O’Mara said. “I have joined legislative colleagues and many others over the past three years to sound the alarm, particularly over how these irrational and unsustainable mandates will come at great costs and consequences. Far too many New Yorkers remain in the dark about these potential costs and consequences, largely because Governor Hochul and her clean energy czars either don’t truly know or really don’t want to shine any light on it.”

Sen. O’Mara says the state is dreadfully unprepared for meeting the goals laid out in the plan.

“The plan will require a total electric grid generation capacity of 111 gigawatts (GW) including 95GW of new, not currently existing generation. It further calls for 27GW of dispatchable zero emissions generation, none of which exists today, nor does the technology, nor does the plan even define what zero emissions generation can be. To put this massive generation capacity buildout in perspective, since 1999, New York State has only added 12.9GW of new generation capacity,” Sen. O’Mara continued. ““Many of us in the Senate and Assembly Republican conferences have steadfastly highlighted the plan’s extreme efforts to eliminate reliable, affordable sources of energy that are vital for the citizens and communities we represent. We have also fully encouraged New York’s past efforts to increase cleaner and renewable power, efforts that have been astoundingly successful. New York State is already a national and worldwide leader accounting for just 0.4% of global carbon emissions.”

The Council approved the Scoping Plan following the release of the Draft Scoping Plan on Dec. 30, 2021, and a robust public comment period that included 11 public hearings across the State and more than 35,000 written comments. This feedback and other information on the plan’s development can be found on the New York State Climate Act website,, along with an Executive Summary and additional resources. The Council’s seven Advisory Panels, along with the Climate Justice Working Group (CJWG) and Just Transition Working Group (JTWG), also submitted recommendations for consideration in the development of the Scoping Plan. The contributions from these groups are included in appendices to the Scoping Plan. As required under the Climate Act, the Council will update the Scoping Plan every five years to ensure the plan continues to meet the State’s aggressive climate targets.