NY Clean Energy Standard to require 50% renewables by 2030

By Erin Voegele | August 03, 2016

The New York State Public Service Commission recently approved New York’s Clean Energy Standard, which will require 50 percent of the state’s electricity to come from renewable energy sources by 2030. In the initial phase of the program, utilities and other energy suppliers will be required to procure and phase in renewable power resources starting with 26.31 percent of the state’s electricity load in 2017, increasing to 30.54 percent in 2021.

"New York has taken bold action to become a national leader in the clean energy economy and is taking concrete, cost-effective steps today to safeguard this state’s environment for decades to come," said New York Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo. "This Clean Energy Standard shows you can generate the power necessary for supporting the modern economy while combatting climate change. Make no mistake, this is a very real threat that continues to grow by the day and I urge all other states to join us in this fight for our very future."

Information released by the governor’s office indicates the standard will be enforced by requiring utilities and other energy suppliers to obtain a targeted number of Renewable Energy Credits each year. These credits will be paid to renewable energy developers to help finance new renewable energy sources that will be added to the electric grid.

Documents published by the PSC explain that the CES is divided into a Renewable Energy Standard and a Zero-Emissions Credit requirement. Tier 1 of the program requires load serving entities (LSEs) to serve their retail customers by procuring new renewable resources through the procurement of qualified RECs. The percentage of LSE total load is 0.6 percent in 2017, 1.1 percent in 2018, 2 percent in 2019, 3.4 percent in 2020, and 4.8 percent in 2021. Incrementally larger percentages will be set by the PSC through a triennial review process for years 2022 through 2030. According to the PSC, the statewide procurement of new large-scale renewable generation expected to result from Tier 1 during the period of 2017 to 2021 is nearly 9.35 million MWh, or approximately 1.87 million MWh per year. The PSC said this is more than two times the level of large-scale renewable generation that was procured through Renewable Portfolio Standard solicitations during the period of 2011 to 2015, which averaged 788,600 MWh per year.

Within its order adopting the CES, the PSC states “resources eligible to provide Tier 1 compliance will mirror the eligibility rules currently used for the Main Tier of the RPS, with the exception that the former 30 MW limit on low-impact run-of-river hydroelectric facilities is eliminated. The eligible resource categories will include biogas, biomass, liquid biofuels, fuel cells, hydroelectric, solar, tidal/ocean, and wind.” Additional information on the eligibility of specific biomass resources is available in Appendix A of the order.

Tier 2 consists of a maintenance program as existed under the RPS, while Tier 3 of the CES concerns the state’s nuclear facilities. The order notes that “eligibility for the new Tier 2 is limited to run-of-river hydroelectric facilities of 5 MW or less; wind facilities; and biomass direct combustion facilities that were in commercial operation any time prior to January 1, 2003, and were originally included in New York’s baseline of renewable resources calculated when the RPS program was first adopted.”

A full copy of the order adopting the CES can be downloaded from the PSC’s website.