Energy Committee Update
January 9, 2013

Staff Contact: Darren Suarez

State of the State

The State of State provides a packed energy itinerary that includes creating a $1B Green Bank, extending the NY-Sun Solar program, providing incentives for the public plug in electric vehicle charging stations, creating a cabinet level energy czar. In response in-part to Super Storm Sandy the Governor is recommending decreasing the RGGI CO2 cap, hardening the electric system, develop smart micro-grids, establishing time of use rates for residential customers. Additionally, the Governor is recommending increasing the oversight and authority of the PSC.  

Create a $1 Billion Green Bank to Leverage Public Dollars with a Private Sector Match to Spur the Clean Tech Economy

Governor Cuomo proposes to create a $1 billion NY Green Bank to leverage public dollars with a private-sector match to spur the clean economy.

The proposal is similar to a Connecticut Green Bank which established the newly constituted Clean Energy Finance and Investment Authority (CEFIA).

The new entity will function like an investment bank or fund that can leverage its capital to provide low-cost financing to clean projects that a commercial bank wouldn’t likely touch. To this end, the bank will be funded by a surcharge on residential and commercial electricity bills, which was previously paid into the state’s Clean Energy Fund, amounting to $30 million a year. CEFIA will also administer the $18 million Green Loan Guaranty Fund. The total $50 million investment by the bank will enable Connecticut to leverage limited state resources with much larger amounts of private capital, and in this way will catalyze a self-sustaining flow of low-cost capital for innovative clean energy deployment projects, whether it be large-scale rooftop solar plants or commercial building retrofits or even high-voltage lines.  

The NY Green Bank is intended to overcome a number of obstacles and uncertainties in the clean energy sector, including unstable federal funding and policy, uncoordinated action and disparate one-time subsidies at the state level, a lack of appropriate financial instruments, and apprehension in the investor community. To fund the Bank, a portion of Energy Efficiency Portfolio Standards, Renewable Portfolio Standards, and/or System Benefit Charge funds will be leveraged to attract private investment, and the State will support new borrowing by the Green Bank to support loans for energy efficiency improvements.

Extend the NY-Sun Solar Jobs Program

This year, Governor Cuomo proposes to extend the NY-Sun program, continuing through 2023 the existing annual funding levels established under the program. The program will be funded at $150 million annually for ten years.

Create the Charge NY Plan

The Governor’s has proposed to spend $50 million spent over five years, including funding from the New York Power Authority (NYPA), NYSERDA, and tax credits to create a statewide network of 3,000 public and workplace charging stations, and funding primarily from investor-owned utilities for incentives for PEV deployment.

Create a Cabinet-Level Energy Czar

Governor Cuomo has asked Richard Kauffman to join his Cabinet as Chairman for Energy Policy and Finance for New York State. As a senior advisor to the nation’s Secretary of Energy Steven Chu, Mr. Kauffman has been one of the country’s leading experts in private sector investment in clean energy. One of his first responsibilities will be to develop the Governor’s newly proposed NY Green Bank


Governor Cuomo has committed to work with the other states in RGGI to set the emissions cap at a level below current levels. Additional revenue from reducing the cap will provide a $100 to 150 million to invest in repowering existing inefficient power plants to reduce carbon emissions and assisting communities that lose a big part of their tax base when coal-fired power plants are retired. Additionally, a portion of those auction proceeds will be dedicated to strengthening the natural infrastructure, to better prepare New York for the storm events like Sandy.

Increase Alternative Local Renewable Power Sources

Governor Cuomo supports the deployment of smart grids as a means to minimize the impacts of future natural disasters on consumers, by helping to enable individual premises and microgrid “islanding” to provide power to pockets of consumers when central power plants or portions of the transmission and distribution system are inoperable.

Additionally, the SOS expressed support for time of use energy rates. The Governor has stated that utilities should charge prices that vary by time-of-use, reflecting the actual cost of energy production in real-time, coupled with advanced metering, the system efficiency will increase by reducing peak demand, to reduce the need to build costly infrastructure to meet peak demand.

Harden our Fuel Delivery System

The Governor proposes that gas stations in strategic locations be required to have back-up power capacity because it is essential to maintaining the ability to distribute fuel during a power outage. Additionally, the State will establish a Strategic Fuel Reserve to protect New York during a fuel shortage or prolonged disruption to the supply chain. Access to a reserve of fuel could provide a way to relieve short-term problems during major weather events or provide supplemental volume in the event of critical supply disruptions, ensuring that first responders and residents alike can access gasoline.

Harden our Utilities

The Governor has proposed that the Public Service Commission must require the utilities to submit plans for the following critical actions:

Natural gas utilities will be required to accelerate pipeline replacement programs in flood prone areas and to evaluate their infrastructure and prepare plans for strengthening critical systems. Utilities will also be required to install remotely operate natural gas control valves to limit the impact of any disruptions.

Put Enforcement Teeth into the PSC to Improve Oversight and Regulation of State’s Utilities

The SOS stated “Based upon a review of the Public Service Law, PSC rules and regulations, past PSC orders, and interviews with New York State Department of Public Service (DPS) personnel, the Moreland Commission found that (i) the PSC does not adequately utilize its existing statutory authority to full effect; and (ii) its existing statutory enforcement authority is inadequate and should be strengthened and updated.”

Among the recommendations that will be adopted are the following:

The Governor has proposed the privatization of LIPA, which would entail the disposition of LIPA’s assets to a qualified Investor-Owned Utility (IOU) that would serve as the sole utility manager and operator to the existing LIPA service area.