New York Adopts Landmark Renewable Energy Requirement; Renewables Commitment Is Second Largest in the Nation

Renewable Energy Requirement Will Help New Yorkers Breathe Easier, Reduce Global Warming, Pollution and Protect Consumers Against Natural Gas Price Spikes, Says NRDC

NEW YORK (September 22, 2004) -- The New York State Public Service Commission today adopted a requirement that 24 percent of the state's electricity come from renewable resources by 2013. The renewable energy requirement is known as a renewable portfolio standard or RPS. The Commission stated that it will look to voluntary retail "green marketing" programs to provide an additional one percent of renewable energy, with the overall goal that 25 percent of the state's electricity come from renewable resources by 2013.

"This is a huge boost for renewable energy in New York and the United States," said Katherine Kennedy, Senior Attorney with the Natural Resources Defense Council ("NRDC"), which led the effort to adopt the RPS in New York. "New York's RPS, if implemented properly, will produce more renewable energy and public health benefits than any other State outside of California. Kudos to Governor Pataki for his continuing leadership on clean energy and clean air."

Today's decision defines renewable energy as wind, fuel cell, solar, biomass, landfill gas and tidal power. The Commission excluded power from garbage incineration facilities because of incineration's documented threats to public health and the environment. "We're pleased that the Governor and the Public Service Commission Chairman William Flynn had the courage to stand up to the powerful incineration lobby. They based their decision to exclude incineration on strong science and protecting the public health of New Yorkers," said Kennedy.

Almost two years ago Gov. George E. Pataki stated in his January 2003 State of the State address that he was "directing the Public Service Commission to implement a Renewable Portfolio Standard --a program which will guarantee that within the next 10 years at least 25 percent of the electricity bought in New York will come from renewable energy resources like solar power, wind power, or fuel cells." In 2013, New York's existing large hydro projects will provide a renewable energy baseline of about 17.5 percent of electricity sales.

"Renewable energy is a wise investment for New York," said Nathanael Greene, an NRDC senior economist. "In contrast to dirty, outdated fossil fuel-burning power plants, the renewable portfolio standard will create local jobs, stabilize electricity and natural gas prices, and help New Yorkers avoid spending our hard earned cash on imported fossil fuels."

Focusing only on electricity costs, the cumulative net present value of the renewable portfolio standard from 2006 to 2013 is estimated to cost between $158 million to $328 million (based on current fuel costs). Residential customer electric bill will drop or go up slightly, depending on circumstances. The Department of Public Service expects bill impacts to range from a 1.2 percent drop to a 1.8 percent increase. This means that if a consumer's monthly electric bill is $50, the bill will either decrease or increase by only about 75 cents to a dollar.