Governor Cuomo Announces Adoption of Final Regulations to Make New York Power Plants Coal-free by End of 2020

New York is First in Nation to Advance Regulatory Phase Out of Coal-Fired Power Plants

May 09, 2019

State Will Require All Power Plants to Meet Stringent CO2 Limits - See Adopted Regulations Here

Governor Andrew M. Cuomo today announced that New York State is building on its nation-leading actions to ensure cleaner air for New Yorkers and reduce climate-altering greenhouse gas emissions by banning coal-fired power plants. The Governor announced that the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation has adopted final regulations to require all power plants in New York to meet new emissions limits for carbon dioxide (CO2), a potent greenhouse gas that contributes to climate change. The regulations, a first-in-the-nation approach to regulating carbon emissions, will achieve the Governor's goal to end the use of coal in New York State power plants by the end of 2020.

"As our federal government continues to support the dying fossil fuel industry, deny climate change, and roll back environmental protections, New York is leading the nation with bold climate action to protect our planet and our communities," Governor Cuomo said. "With the adoption of these final regulations, we are taking yet another step toward a cleaner, greener, long-term energy solution to safeguard the environment for generations to come."

"These regulations will limit carbon dioxide emissions at power plants in New York, continuing our efforts to protect the environment," said Lieutenant Governor Kathy Hochul. "This requirement builds on our aggressive goals to advance clean energy and reduce greenhouse gases. We are committed to ensuring a cleaner coal-free environment for future generations as we work to combat climate change."

In addition, earlier this year New York released proposed regulations to restrict NOx emissions from peaking power plants. Coupled with the coal regulations adopted today, these proposed regulations will improve air quality and protect public health by placing new, stringent requirements on peak-use power plants.

Delivering on the Governor's 2016 State of the State pledge to go coal-free by 2020, and 2018 State of the State directive to DEC to develop the rules to fulfill it, the regulations will tighten the state's CO2 Performance Standards for Major Electric Generating Facilities by establishing CO2 emission rate requirements for existing major electric generating facilities. This will ensure the state's remaining coal fired power plants transition to cleaner, alternative sources of energy or shut down by 2020. The State stands ready to help workers and communities transition to a clean energy future through the Governor's Clean Climate Careers initiative created to address the needs of the local communities affected by any closures, as well as a host of clean energy programs to support transitioning these plants away from coal. The regulations were filed with the Secretary of State on May 9, 2019, and are fully effective on June 8, 2019.

In February, DEC released proposed regulations to substantially reduce NOx emissions from the "peaking" power plants operating on the hottest days with the most air pollution. These dirty, inefficient plants are also sources of carbon pollution. These regulations will reduce greenhouse gas emissions to help achieve 40 percent by 2030 and shift to 100 percent clean electricity by 2040. The proposed regulations are available at http://www.dec.ny.gov/regulations/116131.html.

DEC Commissioner Basil Seggos said, "While the federal government and the EPA continue to fail to protect our communities from the daily threat of air pollution and the growing threat of climate change, New York is leading the way to a cleaner, greener future. Instead of relying on the polluting fossil fuels of the past, New York is focused on the carbon-neutral energy of the future, as directed by Governor Cuomo. The regulations adopted today represent real action on climate change. By eliminating the burning of coal for electricity, New York is cementing our place in history as the nation's leading environmental champion and helping all our communities realize the economic potential of environmental funding and climate action."

Labor Commissioner Roberta Reardon said, "I commend Governor Cuomo's bold stance on supporting the clean energy industry. By making New York power plants coal-free by 2020, we're leading the way in an important transition - investing in clean energy sources and paving the way for new green jobs."

Alicia Barton, President and CEO, NYSERDA, said, "Governor Cuomo is unleashing New York's ability to invest in a clean energy transition that is critical to stemming the tide on climate change and driving an enormous economic development opportunity. The State's nation-leading goals have enabled us to grow renewable energy resources faster than anticipated, propelling the State toward a carbon-free power grid by 2040 and today's regulations build upon that momentum toward a carbon neutral economy that protects the health of our citizens and environment."

Senator Todd Kaminsky, Chair of the Senate Environmental Conservation Committee, said, "By reducing greenhouse gas emissions, we are paving the way for cleaner energy and air, while also combating climate change and creating good-paying jobs. I applaud Governor Cuomo and Commissioner Seggos for taking this bold step to protect our planet."

Assemblyman Steve Englebright, Chair of the Assembly Environmental Conservation Committee, said, "Coal is the fuel that powered the industrial revolution but it has led us to the brink of climate change catastrophe. The adoption of new regulations requiring power plants to meet stringent CO2 limits will help New York become coal-free as well as meet its clean energy goals and reduce harmful air pollution."

New York's Climate Leadership
Today's announcement is another component of the Governor's comprehensive agenda to combat climate change by reducing greenhouse gas emissions and growing the clean energy economy. Through the Governor's leadership, the 2018 Clean Energy Jobs and Climate Agenda is continuing its progress in slashing emissions from existing fossil fuel power plants and advancing clean energy technologies through unprecedented investments in offshore wind, solar, energy storage, and energy efficiency, while spurring market development and creating jobs across the state. The Governor's nation-leading track record of climate accomplishments includes:

  • Green New Deal: Announced in Governor Cuomo's 2019 State of the State address, the Green New Deal will require New York's power be 100 percent carbon-free by 2040, the most aggressive goal in the United States and five years ahead of a target recently adopted by California. The cornerstone of this new initiative is a significant increase of New York's successful Clean Energy Standard mandate from 50 percent to 70 percent renewable electricity by 2030.
  • United States Climate Alliance: Co-founded the bipartisan U.S. Climate Alliance to uphold the emissions reduction goals of the Paris Agreement on climate change at the state level. The U.S. Climate Alliance now includes 24 Governors representing over half the nation's population and accounts for $11 trillion in GDP, enough to be the world's third-largest economy.
  • Environmental Protection Fund: Since 2016, secured a record $300 million Environmental Protection Fund, supporting projects in every county to protect land, improve water and air quality, and fight climate change.
  • Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative (RGGI): Led the effort to reduce RGGI's carbon emission cap by 45 percent in 2014, and an additional cap reduction of at least 30 percent between 2020 and 2030 for this successful cap and trade program among northeast and mid-Atlantic states.
  • Reforming the Energy Vision: Established a comprehensive energy strategy to make the vision for a clean, resilient, and affordable energy system a reality, while actively spurring energy innovation, attracting new jobs, and improving consumer choice.
  • Clean Energy Standard: Created the most comprehensive and ambitious clean energy mandate in the state's history, requiring that 50 percent of electricity in New York come from renewable energy sources like wind and solar by 2030 with a significant increase to 70 percent renewable energy by 2030. The Clean Energy Standard is driving unprecedented investment in renewable energy. In the past two years alone, New York has awarded $2.9 billion in contracts to 46 large-scale wind and solar projects that will generate $7 billion in direct investment in the clean energy sector. New York recently issued its third solicitation seeking approximately 1.5 million megawatt-hours from large-scale renewable energy projects.
  • Clean Energy Fund: Established a $5 billion fund that is jump-starting clean-tech innovation, mobilizing private investment and helping eliminate market barriers to make clean energy scalable and affordable for all New Yorkers.
  • NY Green Bank: Created the nation's largest Green Bank, which has driven $1.6 billion in public and private investment in clean energy projects across New York State since its launch in 2014. Based on this success, the Governor has called for the NY Green Bank to raise at least an additional $1 billion in private sector funds to "go national."
  • NY-Sun: The NY-Sun solar program has helped foster 1,500 percent growth in solar power across New York State since 2011, leveraging $3.5 billion in private investment and fueling nearly 12,000 jobs across the state. New York State was ranked second nationally for distributed - total residential and small-commercial - solar installed in 2018.
  • Clean Climate Careers: Partnering with the labor community to help create 40,000 new good-paying clean energy jobs across the state by 2020.
  • Offshore Wind: Issued the nation's most comprehensive master plan for offshore wind in 2018, including an unprecedented commitment to develop up to 2.4 gigawatts of offshore wind power by 2030, enough to power 1.2 million New York households, which was nearly quadrupled to 9,000 megawatts by 2035 under New York's Green New Deal. The State received an unprecedented and historic response to its initial solicitation for approximately 800 megawatts or more of offshore wind and expects to make an award announcement in the spring of 2019.
  • Energy Storage: Established in the 2018 State of the State an energy storage target of 1,500 megawatts by 2025 and 3,000 megawatts by 2030 to help integrate renewable energy into the electric grid. Recently announced $280 million is available for energy storage projects as part of a $400 million investment to accelerate growth within the industry.
  • Energy Efficiency: Announced on Earth Day 2018 an ambitious new energy efficiency target to reduce energy consumption equivalent to 1.8 million New York households by 2025.

Media Inquiries