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EXCLUSIVE: What is the HEAT Act? Advocates push for inclusion in state budget

The New York HEAT Act is again making its way through the state Legislature. The bill aims to phase out gas-line extension allowances and gives the Public Service Commission authority to keep utility companies in line with the state’s climate laws.

In previous years, the bill has gotten far, clearing the Senate chamber in 2023. Much of the bill is in Gov. Kathy Hochul’s 2025 budget proposal.

Anshul Gupta, policy and research director with New Yorkers for Clean Power, contends gas utilities are spreading misinformation about the bill.

“The most common one is that our electrical infrastructure, our electrical grid, cannot handle the load of shifting the heating, space and water heating, from gas to electricity,” Gupta said.

He noted this stems from a report showing the electrical grid could have trouble meeting summer peak loads. Though it’s more than able to handle the winter, downstate summer peak use is left to peaker plants. But these are slowly going away.

Gupta said in the next decade, New York’s winter peak isn’t expected to exceed the summer, and by then the electrical grid could handle that load.

Gupta believes building decarbonization and generating zero-emission electricity are other energy policies New York should be focusing on. The state has worked hard on its climate goals, but he’s uncertain if it can achieve them on time.

“Right now, it doesn’t look like we’re on track to meet those goals, and we need to double down on ensuring that we have enough offshore wind and transmission as well as onshore wind and solar generation in the pipeline,” Gupta continued.

He added these projects need to continue being built instead of lingering in development. But some offshore wind projects in New York were cancelled because the company’s contracts were negotiated before construction costs rose during the pandemic.

Now, some reports find that unless those issues are resolved, the state might not achieve its 2030 climate goals.

Categories: New York StateNews