New York to make power plants coal-free by 2020

New York State Governor Andrew Cuomo announced that his state intends to end all coal-fired power plants by 2020. The move is part of an overall strategy to reduce state-wide greenhouse gas emissions by 40 per cent by 2030.

New York Governor Andrew Cuomo calls coal ‘a relic of the past’. (Image credit: Tim Lenz via Flickr)

Governor Andrew Cuomo announced last week that that New York State Department of Environmental Conservation released proposed regulations to require all power plants in New York to meet new emissions limits for carbon dioxide (CO2), a potent greenhouse gas that contributes to climate change.

The regulations, a first in the nation approach to regulating carbon emissions, will achieve Cuomo’s goal of ending the use of coal in New York State power plants by 2020.

A relic of the past

“While Washington continues an open assault on our environment, New York is leading the charge with bold climate action to protect our future,” Governor Cuomo said.

“Coal is a relic of the past, and it’s time to step up, take action, and put an end to our need for fossil fuels and focus on cleaner, more green energy solutions for the survival of our planet and future generations.”

CO2 emission rate requirements

The proposed regulations will tighten the state’s CO2 Performance Standards for Major Electric Generating Facilities by establishing CO2 emission rate requirements for existing major electric generating facilities. This will ensure the state’s remaining coal fired power plants transition to cleaner, alternative sources of energy or shut down by 2020.

New York State is ready to help workers and communities transition to a clean energy future through the Governor’s Clean Climate Careers initiative and the Electric Generation Facility Cessation Mitigation Fund created to address the needs of the local communities affected by any closures, as well as a host of clean energy programs to support transitioning these plants away from coal.

DEC Commissioner Basil Seggos said: “Climate change demands real action, and that is exactly what we are doing here in New York with our new coal regulations. Through these regulations Governor Cuomo is solidifying his role as the nation’s leading environmental champion and helping all New Yorkers realize the economic potential of environmental funding and climate action.”

New York’s climate leadership

Last week’s announcement is another component of Cuomo’s comprehensive agenda to combat climate change by reducing greenhouse gas emissions and growing the clean energy economy.

The state is a climate leader in the U.S. with a long track record of climate accomplishments. For instance, it co-founded the bipartisan U.S. Climate Alliance to uphold the emissions reduction goals of the Paris Agreement on climate change at the state level. The U.S. Climate Alliance now includes 16 states and Puerto Rico and accounts for $9 trillion in GDP, enough to be the world’s third-largest economy.

Nation’s largest green bank

The state also created the nation’s largest green bank, NY Green Bank, which has driven $1.6 billion in public and private investment in clean energy projects across New York State since its launch in 2014. Based on this success, the Green Bank is now raising at least an additional $1 billion in private sector funds to “go national”.

What’s more, New York’s $5 billion Clean Energy Fund is jump-starting cleantech innovation, mobilizing private investment and helping eliminate market barriers to make clean energy scalable and affordable for all New Yorkers. It is also partnering with the labour community to help create 40,000 new well-paying clean energy jobs across the state by 2020.

“New York is a leader in the fight against climate change with significant investments to protect our environment,” said Lieutenant Governor Kathy Hochul. “We’re enhancing our infrastructure across the state and pursuing projects that promote cleaner and greener energy options for our communities and residents.”


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