To realize the benefits of renewables and meet the 2030 emissions target, New York will need to achieve or surpass 50% renewable energy and hydroelectricity, as currently promised in its Clean Energy Standard, reaching 57% by 2030.
Percentage of Renewables in Energy Mix
The sources of electricity generation in New York have shifted significantly from 2001 to the present. Coal use declined from 16% to 2% and natural gas increased from 27% to 41%. This shift initially reduced greenhouse gas emissions by pushing out less-efficient coal plants, but the state’s increasing overreliance on natural gas will provide the state with few additional emissions benefits and increases risks of price volatility and supply disruption. Expanding renewable generation is a less risky alternative that provides stable costs, mitigates fuel price risk, and reduces emissions.
New York can increase land-based wind by 1,900 megawatts to reach the 2030 target.
Megawatts of Land-Based Wind
New York’s Clean Energy Standard provides overarching targets for developers and policymakers, and the state is also advancing renewable generation by issuing large-scale purchase bids, or long-term contracts, in the market. These contracts finance and construct large renewable projects like land-based wind farms that have significant capital costs and require upgrades to transmission infrastructure. Large-scale purchases of renewable energy reduce costs and can help to overcome financial barriers that could otherwise stifle development.
New York can also increase offshore wind by 2,400 megawatts to reach its emissions target.
Megawatts of Offshore Wind
Good wind speeds, shallow water, and proximity to population centers make offshore wind a promising grid-scale renewable resource in New York. Like Massachusetts and Rhode Island, New York is also pursuing offshore wind development to achieve renewable energy targets. With continuing commitments to offshore wind, New York could attract a large share of industry jobs and spur economic development.
Distributed solar, including rooftop, community, commercial, and municipal solar, can grow nearly 13,000 megawatts.
Megawatts of Distributed Solar
Unlike large-scale electricity generation that feeds into the transmission system, distributed generation (DG) provides energy directly to consumers and the local distribution grid. In addition to generating clean energy, clean DG resources like rooftop solar can make the electric grid more resilient and reduce the need for expensive grid infrastructure. On-site distributed generation can be a valuable resource that benefits the energy system, while empowering consumers to control their energy bills and receive payment for the local energy they produce.
Grid-scale solar can provide an additional 5,850 megawatts of solar in the state of New York.
Megawatts of Grid-Scale Solar
Solar photovoltaic (PV) projects can be grid-scale or built to provide energy to a single home. The technology can be installed in a variety of places and is therefore uniquely suited to provide distributed generation. Distributed solar projects bring special value by avoiding expensive infrastructure and providing local jobs. As a result, solar PV has been promoted across the region through dedicated programs that reflect this value, including the NY-SUN program in New York.
By adopting zero-emission vehicles (ZEVs) and improving mobility options, New York can reduce fossil fuel consumption for transportation by 23%, or more than 230 trillion BTU, by 2030.
Trillion BTU of Fossil Fuels Consumed
New York must embrace clean transportation technologies to build a cleaner and more efficient regional transportation system. By adopting these technologies, states can also reduce greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions significantly, as fossil fuels burned for transportation represent the largest share of the region’s GHG emissions. New policy measures can build on already growing consumer interest in zero-emission vehicles (ZEVs), primarily electric vehicles (EVs), to replace more conventional cars and trucks. At the same time, the states can invest in alternative mobility options to create vibrant communities and reduce the need to drive in both urban and rural areas.
New York can continue progress to electrify at least 20% of light cars and trucks by 2030.
Percentage of Cars Electrified
An electric vehicle (EV) emits less than half of the CO2 of a conventional vehicle, and EVs will produce even fewer emissions as technology improves and more electricity is produced by renewables. New York has committed, with other states, to put about 852,000 zero emission vehicles on the road by 2025. This commitment can be expanded and strengthened through an ambitious but achievable 2030 target: 20% of cars and light trucks electrified.
Deployment will require smarter electric rates that make EVs more attractive to drivers and consumer incentives to facilitate EV purchases, which would decline over time. Pricing transportation emissions will accelerate EV adoption while raising funds for rebates, electric vehicle charging infrastructure, transit, and other transportation sector investments.
Medium-Duty Electric Trucks
Converting an additional 2.5% of the medium duty fleet to electric vehicles will help New York meet its clean energy goals.
Percentage of Trucks Electrified
Beyond passenger cars and light trucks, medium-duty vehicles, such as buses and delivery trucks, can also be electrified. For example, at the end of 2015, FedEx had already placed nearly 1,200 electric vehicles in service in its global fleet.
By promoting the benefits of these vehicles, including reduced fuel and maintenance costs, the state can achieve greater adoption of commercially available electric alternatives in the medium-duty fleet.
Vehicle Miles Traveled
New York can counteract projected VMT growth (5% growth under current policies) to maintain flat VMT levels over the 15-year period from 2015 to 2030.
Percent Decrease in VMT Compared to the Baseline Scenario
Public transit, walking, biking, carpooling, and ride-hailing services can reduce the number of miles a car is driven. From rural to urban areas, improving access to these services and activities can create vibrant communities and reduce emissions.
Increased efficiency and electric heat pumps can reduce fossil fuels consumed in buildings nearly 24%, or by 226 trillion BTU, by 2030.
Trillion BTU Fossil Fuels Consumed
To advance the clean energy future, buildings in New York must be powered and heated by cleaner energy sources while at the same time becoming more efficient. Continued investment in energy efficiency will save money and avoid unnecessary energy waste. When efficiency is combined with clean heating technologies, a deep emissions reduction pathway emerges. The buildings of tomorrow will reflect a much more integrated and interactive energy system that produces and consumes electricity in ways that result in a cleaner and more efficient grid.
To meet the 2030 target, New York can convert 11% of oil, gas, and propane heating systems in homes and businesses to heat pumps.
Percentage of Heating Systems Converted
Heat pumps are a form of efficient electric heating for residential and commercial buildings. They extract heat from either outside air or the ground and move it into a building. An air conditioner is a type of heat pump that moves heat from inside a building to the outside to cool it; heat pumps simply reverse this process during the heating season and can now efficiently function even in cold New York winters.
Heat Pumps for Water Heating
New York needs to replace 10% of fossil-fueled water heaters with heat pumps by 2030.
Percentage of Water Heaters Converted
Making hot water is the second greatest use of energy in homes after space heating. Heat pumps can increase water heating efficiency as much or even more than space heating efficiency.
The state of New York should adopt policies that assign an appropriate value to the emissions savings gained from replacing fossil fuel hot water systems with cleaner alternatives.
New York must decrease electric consumption 33% by 2030 to reduce emissions from electricity generation and offset additional demand from EVs and heat pumps.
Percent Reduction in Electricity Consumption
New York has begun efforts to promote energy efficiency, but the state must do much more to embrace this essential resource. Energy efficiency works hand in hand with coordinated improvements in our energy system: by reducing overall demand for energy, energy efficiency allows renewable energy resources to ramp up and offsets increased electricity demand from new technologies.
New York must show a sustained commitment to energy efficiency in order to reduce energy consumption and minimize costs.
Natural Gas Efficiency
By 2030, natural gas savings can increase to at least 21% through weatherization in New York.
Percent Increase in Natural Gas Savings
New York also has an opportunity to reduce energy costs and emissions by investing in energy efficiency measures that reduce the use of heating fuels like natural gas, propane, and fuel oil. Weatherizing buildings, replacing outdated equipment, and improving industrial processes can all reduce the amount of fossil fuels consumed in buildings.
New York needs to capture all cost-effective efficiency and find sustainable funding mechanisms for fuel oil and propane efficiency through economy-wide carbon pricing or a different mechanism.
Updated rules, planning processes, and financial incentives can enable the adoption of technologies critical to meet 2030 and longer term emissions reduction targets.
The New York Public Service Commission has taken several steps to update old rules and encourage strategic use of clean energy resources. This includes steps towards advanced metering functionality and significant reforms to electric rate design and the methods for compensating distributed energy resources (DER) for the value these resources provide to the grid. New York has also approved initial reforms to the utility business model that reward the utility for finding lower cost, DER solutions instead of building more infrastructure.
Combined with ambitious goals for clean energy and reductions in climate pollution, New York is far along the road to setting the policies needed to attain a 45% reduction in emissions by 2030, but attention to expanding clean energy market penetration is needed as New York implements these large scale reforms.
The modern energy grid must be highly efficient and resilient, produce less pollution, and rely increasingly on distributed energy resources and sophisticated load management practices.
The traditional energy grid system has been structured around one-way power flow from power plants traveling over transmission and distribution lines to homes and businesses. In the new system, power will flow in multiple directions with greater consumer engagement and third party participation. As the energy grid evolves and distributed energy resources become more prevalent, utilities will increasingly take on the role of coordinators of the energy market, rather than functioning purely as energy providers and infrastructure developers.
Utility regulators must adopt new rules that allow the utilities to recover costs and earn comparable returns on local energy solutions.
Traditionally, utilities earn money by making a regulated rate of return on approved capital investments. This system gives utilities incentives to build or upgrade traditional infrastructure projects. These outdated utility financial incentives inhibit the transition to a clean energy future, increase consumer costs, and hinder investment in new technologies. While New York’s energy needs can increasingly be met by local energy resources and smart energy management, utilities often earn far less—or nothing at all—by choosing lower-cost, clean energy solutions.
Without changes to the way they are regulated and rewarded, utilities will continue to advocate for infrastructure over local energy resources. Instead of earning revenue primarily for building new infrastructure, utilities should be rewarded for achieving energy efficiency and clean energy goals, minimizing the cost of the grid, and providing choices, opportunities, and control to consumers.
Demand Response and Active Load Management
New York can increase Demand Response and Active Load Management to cover 2,800 megawatts of electricity load by 2030.
Megawatts of DR and ALM
New York can adopt 2,000 MW of new battery storage to meet 2030 goals.
Megawatts of Battery Storage
Batteries and other types of energy storage can store power when demand for energy is low and release it when demand is high. For example, storage can retain solar energy produced mid-day and release it after the sun goes down. Electric vehicles have the potential to contribute to both active load management, through smart coordinated charging, and storage, by releasing power from their batteries to the grid when it is economical to do so.
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