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New York’s Governor Andrew Cuomo has gained national media attention for his handling of the coronavirus pandemic. In many ways, he’s become a leader for many people across the nation during this time. And despite the pandemic, Solar Industry Magazine reported that “New York public authorities and agencies have passed legislation as part of the FY 2020-2021 state budget that will speed up the siting and construction of clean energy projects.”
Why This Matters: There’s been a lot of criticism that a recovery from the COVID-19 pandemic should be devoid of funding for renewable energy. But New York and Gov. Cuomo are showing that, in fact, investment in renewables is an important part of any recovery. Investing in a future that provides jobs, reduces emissions, and protects our planet isn’t just a nice thing to do, it’s a smart policy move. Congress should take note as they begin bargaining for Phase 4 of the coronavirus stimulus.
That more private sector investment will be attracted more quickly, by tailoring the state’s approval process to fit renewable energy projects.
The legislation also provides for reducing financial risk, helping to attract more private sector dollars that might otherwise go elsewhere.
Additionally, it incentivizes renewable energy projects that repurpose abandoned commercial sites, brownfields, landfills, former industrial sites, and other abandoned or underused sites.
The Response: New York is one of the largest state economies and can set an important example of how states should approach the development and expansion of renewable energy sources. This move was praised by the renewable energy industry and the NGO community alike.
Alicia Barton, president and CEO of the New York State Energy Research and Development Authority, praised the move, stating that,
“While Governor Cuomo and New York work tirelessly to defeat COVID-19, we must continue to move forward and confront our climate crisis in order to protect New Yorkers from the dangerous consequences of a changing climate.”
A federal judge in Washington, DC ruled yesterday that the Dakota Access Pipeline must shut down and empty all its oil until the government completes an environmental review of the pipeline’s impacts, giving the Standing Rock Sioux Tribe, whose reservation lies downstream, a huge victory. Similarly, late in the day, the Supreme Court refused to overturn the order of a district judge that shut down construction of parts of the Keystone XL pipeline so it is also blocked for now.
Why It Matters: The Dakota and Keystone XL news is greatly tempered by the fact that numerous other pipeline projects can go ahead despite their inadequate permit unless they are individually challenged in court and blocked.
Yesterday, Dominion Energy and its partner, Duke Energy, announced they were ending a 600-mile natural gas project that would have cost at least $8 billion to complete. As the Richmond Times-Dispatch wrote, Dominion and Duke canceled the construction of the Atlantic Coast Pipeline in the face of mounting regulatory uncertainty caused by a federal court […]
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