Elected Officials, Local Leaders, Others Urge Gov. Cuomo to Commit to Renewable Energy

For Immediate Release

Contact: 
Emily Pomilio, Sierra Club, (480) 286-0401, Emily.pomilio@sierraclub.org
Dan Sherrell, Sierra Club, (732) 589-2412, dan.sherrell@sierraclub.org

Elected Officials, Local Leaders, Others Urge Gov. Cuomo to Commit to Renewable Energy

Advocates call for offshore wind to be included in State’s new Clean Energy Standard

WASHINGTON - State Senator Brad Hoylman, Actor James Cromwell and noted Arab Spring musician, Emel Mathlouthi, joined over 250 community leaders and residents at a Clean Energy Standard (CES) public hearing in New York City today. They called on Governor Cuomo to make an enforceable commitment to renewable energy that includes large-scale offshore wind power. Today’s hearing marks the last of the state’s 12 CES hearings, which are slated to determine the future of renewable energy in New York and could help Governor Cuomo’s reach his 2015 commitment to source 50 percent of the state’s power from renewable energy by 2030.

"The climate crisis is insanity. The solutions are within reach, but the institutional will to confront our addiction to fossil fuels is woefully lacking,” James Crowmwell said. “A popular movement is rising, demanding fossil fuels be kept in the ground while we transition to renewable and sustainable energy. What is at stake is our children’s future."

With Germany sourcing almost 100 percent of its energy from renewables for the first time in history earlier this month, Governor Cuomo has the chance to lead the renewable transformation in the United States and offshore wind presents a golden opportunity to demonstrate this leadership. A large-scale, long-term commitment would power millions of homes and create thousands of new jobs for New Yorkers, all while making deep cuts in the state’s climate pollution.

"The Clean Energy Standard is a bold step forward in the transformation of New York’s energy infrastructure,” State Senator Brad Hoylman said. “As we confront the growing threat of climate change, however, we need to ensure we’re utilizing all the renewable energy resources at our disposal. Large-scale offshore wind, with the potential to power more than 11 million homes and create thousands of well-paying jobs, will be essential in achieving CES' goal of 50 percent renewable energy production by 2030. I’m grateful to Governor Cuomo and PSC Chair Zibelman for this groundbreaking initiative and look forward to working with them and my colleagues in the legislature to build a cleaner, stronger and more sustainable future for New York."

In December 2015, Governor Cuomo directed New York’s Public Service Commission (PSC) to create a Clean Energy Standard requiring New York to power 50 percent of the electric sector with renewable energy by 2030, moving the state closer to its goal of reducing climate pollution 40 percent by 2030. In early 2016, the PSC put forward the first proposal for the Clean Energy Standard with a goal of finalizing it by mid-year.  A commitment to offshore wind in the new Standard could transform Long Island and New York City into a regional clean energy hub –supercharging New York’s economy bringing high-paying, local jobs and manufacturing opportunities to the community while ensuring reliable, affordable energy production.

“We can power New York with renewable sources, and Governor Cuomo needs to seize the opportunity. Offshore wind has the potential to electrify millions of homes while creating thousands of new jobs for New Yorkers,” Dan Sherrell, Organizing Representative for the Sierra Club’s Beyond Coal Campaign said. “While the CES can help the Governor work toward his target of sourcing 50 percent of New York’s energy from renewables by 2030, he won’t be able to reach it without committing to a large-scale offshore wind program.”

An offshore wind tier would help launch an entirely new industry, with the capacity to power millions of homes, foster locational diversity for renewable energy development, produce millions of dollars in economic investments and spur new economic development and manufacturing opportunities statewide. In addition to jump starting an offshore wind industry, the Clean Energy Standard should also prioritize in-state local renewables. Increased solar, onshore wind and offshore wind will give New York the opportunity to become a regional incubator for a growing industry, all while making deep cuts in the state’s climate pollution.

Beyond establishing an enforceable yearly target for renewable energy growth with an offshore wind tier, the groups also asked Governor Cuomo and the Commission to create enforceable energy efficiency goals for utilities that require at least two percent annual energy savings be achieved. Neighboring states have already surpassed this amount of annual energy savings and have seen significant reductions in consumer’s electricity costs. Along with an enforceable renewable energy and offshore wind mandate, an energy efficiency target will help ensure the state achieves the larger goal of securing 50 percent of our electricity from renewables while saving money for citizens across the state.

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The Sierra Club is the oldest and largest grassroots environmental organization in the United States. It was founded on May 28, 1892 in San Francisco, California by the well-known conservationist and preservationist John Muir, who became its first president. The Sierra Club has hundreds of thousands of members in chapters located throughout the US, and is affiliated with Sierra Club Canada.

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