New York State Adopts One Of The Most Aggressive Climate Plan’s In The Country

On December 19, 2022, the New York State Climate Action Council (CAC) approved a Final Scoping Plan (FSP) that contains its recommendations on how the state should achieve the various greenhouse gas (GHG) reduction targets contained in the Climate Leadership and Community Protection Act (CLCPA).

The massive 445 page document comes after three years of work by the Council. The PPA’s sister association, Empire State Energy Association (ESEA), is in the process of reviewing the plan and formulating strategies to engage in the regulatory and legislative efforts that will occur in 2023 to implement the Plan’s recommendations.

For the past several years, ESEA have provided input and analysis as the CAC has worked towards producing the FSP, and while ESEA have significant concerns regarding many of these recommendations, the policies set forth in the FSP were not surprising.

            Under the CLCPA, the Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) is required to promulgate regulations to ensure compliance with the Act’s statewide emission reduction limits.

The statutory deadline is the end of 2023 which, given the monumental and massive requirements of the FSP, is an extremely limited time.

In addition, it is likely that other agencies will need to promulgate regulations and the legislature will need to pass legislation to address all the various aspects of the FSP.

            The FSP includes the following policies making this one of the most aggressive climate plans in the country–

— Electrification of Buildings: The FSP recommends that all new construction in the state emit zero emissions commencing in 2025. This is interpreted by most to mean that all new construction must only use electricity as a heat source. The FSP also requires any fossil fuel-burning appliance at the end of its useful life to be replaced with zero emission equipment starting in 2030.

— Transportation: The FSP contains a recommendation that the state adopt a Clean Fuel Standard (CFS) for transportation fuels similar to the one in existence in California. While the main push for the CFS is to attempt to electrify the transportation sector as much as possible, it enables biomass-based renewable liquid fuels to participate in fueling the transportation sector.

— Cap and Invest: A cap-and-invest program would impose a price on emissions from regulated entities, such as the suppliers of fossil fuels (transportation fuels, heating fuels, and utilities). The price is determined based on the available supply of and demand for emission allowances, rather than by the state. Regulated entities would be required to purchase emission allowances, usually at an auction, to match their emissions. The State would use proceeds from the auction for a variety of purposes consistent with the CLCPA, including investing in clean energy, undertaking emission reduction strategies identified in the FSP, and meeting the Climate Act’s requirements for investment in Disadvantaged Communities.

ESEA is continuing to conduct analysis and review of the CAC and FSP. There are several overarching themes of which energy stakeholders should be aware of.

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