Governor Cuomo Announces New Energy Efficiency Target to Cut Greenhouse Gas Emissions and Combat Climate Change

New Energy Efficiency 2025 Target is Equivalent to Energy Used by 1.8 Million Homes

April 20, 2018

Governor Andrew M. Cuomo today announced an ambitious acceleration of energy efficiency in New York, including a comprehensive plan to achieve a new target for significant greenhouse gas emission reductions, decrease consumer energy costs and create job opportunities. Meeting the new energy efficiency target will deliver nearly one third of the greenhouse gas emissions reductions needed to meet New York's climate goal of 40 percent reduction by 2030. This announcement is part of the Governor's State of the State proposal to develop a milestone Earth Day energy efficiency target and comprehensive strategy.

"Energy efficiency is the most cost-effective way for New Yorkers to lower utility bills, curb harmful emissions and battle climate change," Governor Cuomo said. "As the federal government abdicates its responsibility to safeguard our environment, we must continue our bold action to reduce emissions and protect all New Yorkers, today and in the future, from the devastating effects of climate change."

"We're aggressively working to make New York more energy efficient with unprecedented goals to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and address climate change," Lieutenant Governor Kathy Hochul said. "The strategies to make our state cleaner and greener will result in high-tech jobs for New Yorkers with investments in workforce development. The focus on energy efficiency will not only enhance the environment and create new jobs, it will also lower energy costs for residents and boost the energy economy."

Statewide, New Yorkers pay about $35 billion annually for electricity and heating fuels, and buildings are responsible for 59 percent of statewide greenhouse gas emissions. The new 2025 energy efficiency target will cut emissions and energy costs by incentivizing building developers, commercial and institutional building owners, and residential households to pursue building improvements to reduce energy consumption by 185 trillion BTUs (British thermal units) below forecasted energy use in 2025, the equivalent to energy consumed by 1.8 million New York homes. Meeting the target will accelerate achievement of energy efficiency in the next 7 years by more than 40 percent over the current path. The new energy efficiency target will not only save substantial heating fuels but will set New York State on a path to achieve annual electric efficiency savings of 3 percent of investor-owned utility sales in 2025.

The initiative will support the growth of cost-effective private sector energy efficiency businesses and further Reforming the Energy Vision opportunities for third-parties to partner directly with utilities. These strategies will deliver benefits to New York consumers through new building retrofits, efficient appliances, and innovative technologies like heat pumps. New York's investor-owned utilities will also be called on to achieve significantly more in both scale and innovation through their energy efficiency activities. By accelerating innovation to deliver energy efficiency solutions, New York will cut emissions by cost-effectively reducing electricity and building fuel demand across the state. This initiative will support the Clean Energy Standard mandate to generate 50 percent of the state's electricity through renewable energy sources by 2030 and build on New York's national leadership on clean energy and climate change.

Energy efficiency is a significant part of New York State's clean energy economy, with more than 110,000 New Yorkers employed in energy efficiency-related jobs. The New York State Energy Research and Development Authority will commit an additional $36.5 million to train over 19,500 New Yorkers for clean energy jobs to support this rapidly growing industry.

Richard Kauffman, Chairman of Energy and Finance of New York State said, "Under Governor Cuomo's leadership, New York is taking tremendous strides to reduce the costs of clean energy, support private sector investment, grow the clean energy economy across the state, and create opportunities for new good jobs. All New Yorkers will benefit as the market delivers energy efficiency more cost-effectively, creating a healthier and safer environment in the process."

DEC Commissioner Basil Seggos said, "While the federal government continues to shrug off its responsibility to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and address the threat of our changing climate, New York is accelerating progress toward a cleaner and more resilient state. Governor Cuomo has demonstrated an unwavering commitment to protecting and enhancing our environment. Energy efficiency is an effective tool to battle climate change that will benefit New Yorkers by reducing our reliance on fossil fuels, saving consumers money on their energy bills, and protecting our natural resources."

State Labor Commissioner Roberta Reardon said, "The clean energy industry is where the jobs of the future will be created, and thanks to Governor Cuomo, New York is on the cutting edge. By investing in clean energy sources, New York is leading the way towards a greener and more prosperous future. In New York, we don't wait for others to lead, we act. Our State's economic growth is undeniable and the Governor understands that to maintain it, we must act boldly and that's exactly what this acceleration plan achieves."

Alicia Barton, President and CEO, NYSERDA said, "Today's efficiency target solidifies New York's leadership position in the global fight against climate change and memorializes Governor Cuomo's commitment to energy efficiency as a cornerstone of his clean energy agenda. This bold policy leadership coupled with NYSERDA's workforce training investments will inject greater momentum into the state's fast-growing clean energy sector, which already employs over 146,000 workers today and is serving as an engine for economic growth in every region of our state."

John Rhodes, Chair of the Public Service Commission said, "New York is committed to transitioning to clean energy, and we will ensure all customers - particularly those who are often left out of market transitions - see the benefits. The ambitious energy efficiency target announced by Governor Cuomo today helps ensure we meet our clean energy and climate objectives as intelligently and effectively as possible."

Rhea Suh, President of the Natural Resources Defense Council said, "This is what climate leadership looks like. Governor Cuomo's plan catapults New York into the forefront of energy efficiency - the cheapest, cleanest and quickest way to avoid the power plant pollution causing climate change and threatening our health. This dramatic increase in energy savings will lower utility bills for all New Yorkers, create thousands of new jobs, and clean our air. At a time when national climate leadership is sadly lacking, Governor Cuomo is an inspiring example of how states can step up and lead in the greatest fight of our lives. We have much more to do, but this landmark decision marks a key turning point. By establishing an ambitious and nation-leading energy-saving target, the Governor has shown strong environmental leadership yet again."

Anne Reynolds, Executive Director of the Alliance for Clean Energy New York said, "This new commitment to energy efficiency is excellent news for an industry that already employs 110,000 New Yorkers, and now will employ more. Efficiency is extremely valuable to the environment, to utility customers, and to a clean and resilient grid. Our industry looks forward to capturing that value and to installing energy efficiency measures in homes and businesses all across New York. We look forward to working with the utilities, the state and all stakeholders to ensure Governor Cuomo's exciting goals yield real and timely results."

Rory Christian, New York Director of Clean Energy, Environmental Defense Fund said, "On top of cutting costs and creating healthier communities, energy efficiency will play a valuable role in helping New York meet its ambitious climate goals. Today's announcement sends a clear signal to the market that the state is committed to energy efficiency, which will go hand in hand with strengthening grid modernization and renewable energy efforts and sends a clear signal to the market that New York's commitment to act on climate is here to stay."

David Hepinstall, Executive Director of the Association for Energy Affordability said, "We are pleased Governor Cuomo has embraced energy efficiency as a key component of his clean energy and climate vision. Establishing energy efficiency targets for the utilities is a necessary first step in valuing efficiency as an energy resource. We look forward to working with the utilities and the State of New York to meet the targets through the inclusion of multifamily buildings where a large portion of low income New Yorkers reside, and where efficiency can help create safe and affordable housing."

Greg Lancette, President, Central-Northern NY Building Trades said, "The trades of Central and Northern NY, representing 5,500 working families, look forward to continued efforts of Governor Cuomo to promote energy efficiency through the use of technology and clean energy investments. We look forward to partnering with NYSERDA to create and enhance the skill sets of thousands of works in the clean energy economy."

William M. Lynn, Business Manager and Financial Secretary, I.U.O.E. Local 30 said, "IUOE Local 30 members power and maintain facilities in New York. Governor Cuomo is leading the national effort to create a clean energy economy that benefits our environment and establishes new paths to the middle class for working people. A fair, clean energy economy means unions must be partners and have a seat at the table with government and business which is exactly what is happening under Governor Cuomo's leadership. This initiative is a substantial investment in new training for workers in our industry and will provide important opportunities for our members. We want to thank Governor Cuomo for his continued commitment to union members throughout New York State."

As part of this new energy efficiency target and recognizing the critical importance to include the state's most vulnerable residents, Governor Cuomo is also directing the Public Service Commission (PSC) to ensure that a substantial portion of the new energy efficiency activity be directly targeted to programs for low to moderate income New Yorkers, which will complement the State's existing progressive energy options for these New Yorkers. To implement this vision, individuals and organizations representing low to moderate income and environmental justice communities will be engaged and consulted to design impactful solutions, including the Governor's Environmental Justice and Just Transition Work Group. The State will build on the initiatives underway in the CEF by working with stakeholders and others to advance innovative net zero energy retrofit prototypes for affordable housing, facilitating the adoption of energy efficiency improvements under Medicaid as a component of healthy homes interventions, and advancing the market for zero energy modular homes.

The strategy for achieving the new energy efficiency target also requires that New York identify opportunities by which state facilities can lead by example. NYSERDA and the New York State Department of Public Service are proposing innovative strategies and tools to achieve the target, including energy benchmarking to measure progress, accelerated building codes with implementation support from the Clean Energy Fund, and investment in heat pumps to deliver low carbon solutions for heating and cooling. Advancing clean energy technologies that support beneficial electrification in heating, cooling, and hot water also helps improve the efficiency of the electric grid to the benefit of all customers. NYSERDA and DPS have engaged with over 60 public and private sector stakeholder organizations in developing a strategy for this innovative and ambitious initiative.

Following this announcement, DPS and NYSERDA are submitting a White Paper into the PSC energy efficiency proceeding to determine the mix of programs, policies and regulations that will be necessary to achieve the 2025 target while reducing consumer costs. The proceeding will assess the viability of various program and policy options to dramatically increase energy efficiency and advance an all-fuels approach to achieve energy savings that most benefit New Yorkers.

Reforming the Energy Vision

Reforming the Energy Vision is Governor Andrew M. Cuomo's strategy to lead on climate change and grow New York's economy. REV is building a cleaner, more resilient and affordable energy system for all New Yorkers by stimulating investment in clean technologies like solar, wind, and energy efficiency and requiring 50 percent of the state's electricity needs from renewable energy by 2030. Already, REV has driven growth of more than 1,000 percent in the statewide solar market, improved energy affordability for 1.65 million low-income customers, and created thousands of jobs in manufacturing, engineering, and other clean tech sectors. REV is ensuring New York reduces statewide greenhouse gas emissions 40 percent by 2030 and achieves the internationally recognized target of reducing emissions 80 percent by 2050. To learn more about REV, including the Governor's $5 billion investment in clean energy technology and innovation, visit rev.ny.gov, and follow us on Twitter, Facebook, and LinkedIn.

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