Across New York, hundreds of miles of transmission lines are being upgraded and modernized to carry clean power to all corners of the state. The New York Power Authority (NYPA), owner and operator of one-third of the transmission system, is honored to be playing a critical role in strengthening the state’s power grid in support of our transition to a clean energy future. We’re looking forward to many new opportunities to utilize our expertise fully to build renewable energy and help the state reach our climate goals.
Gov. Hochul’s administration has made important progress in developing clean energy and transmission infrastructure. The governor’s conviction was most recently demonstrated by the landmark legislation enacted in the 2023-24 State Budget, which includes expanded authority for NYPA to develop, own and operate renewable energy generation to assist the state in meeting its clean energy targets, including producing 70% of the state’s electricity from renewable sources by 2030 and creating a zero-emission statewide electrical system by 2040.
This year’s budget included provisions that will leverage the Power Authority’s strengths, further advancing New York’s clean energy goals. They include:
- NYPA is launching the Decarbonization Leadership program, an initiative that includes developing energy and emissions profiles for 15 of the state’s largest carbon-emitting facilities and decarbonization action plans. They will be designed to guide state agencies on facility improvements to reduce carbon emissions. The future decarbonization projects will create clean energy jobs and will include innovative new technologies, such as thermal energy networks that connect multiple buildings to carbon-free energy sources.
- The Power Authority will lead the power generation sector by developing and publishing an action plan to deliver upon its commitment to phase-out electricity production from its fossil fuel peaker power plants in New York City. NYPA will consider the appropriateness of using the plants and the sites for renewable generation, energy storage or electrical grid support needs.
- We will commence a proceeding at the state Public Service Commission seeking to support disadvantaged communities with a new Renewable Energy Access and Community Help (REACH) program. REACH will enable low-income and moderate-income electricity consumers to receive bill credits through the production of renewable energy products developed by or for NYPA, making electricity more economical for more New Yorkers while helping to decarbonize the state’s electrical grid.
- We are directly supporting the renewable workforce of the future, in collaboration with the Department of Labor, through an annual contribution of up to $25 million for workforce development in the renewable energy sector.
The legislation represents a significant increase in NYPA’s role. In many ways, the new grant of authority builds on our 92-year-old mission of revolutionizing the state’s power grid for the benefit of all New Yorkers.
In our effort to reshape energy policy, it is essential that we gain a spectrum of perspectives on how we can best advance our bold climate action goals to ensure that everyone benefits from the new clean energy economy. To that end, we have created a conferral process and Power Authority team members are gathering input from state agencies and interested parties regarding progress to date on the implementation of New York’s renewable energy goals as outlined in the state’s nation-leading climate law, the Climate Leadership and Community Protection Act.
We are meeting with stakeholders, including climate and resiliency experts, labor organizations, and environmental justice and community organizations. We are listening closely as we identify new renewable energy generation projects that will help New York lead the country’s decarbonization journey.
The conferral process will result in a report by NYPA that includes an update on the state’s progress on its renewable energy goals, stakeholder feedback on that progress, information about the generation interconnection process, and other important issues. The report will inform our plan to identify projects and actions to help the state meet its clean energy targets.
NYPA is again forging the way forward to benefit all New Yorkers. We are carrying on a tradition of leadership that includes building the Niagara Power Project — which still supplies clean energy for the power grid six decades on — to more recently taking over the New York State canal system in 2017 to ensure a third century of operation and tourism.
And today we are operating a 20-megawatt utility-scale battery storage project in Northern New York, a first of its kind state-owned battery that will store wind and solar energy for optimal use.
As we look forward to the New York of the future — an emissions-free Empire State — the Power Authority is leading the way.
Driscoll is president and CEO of the New York Power Authority.