In the wake of Hurricane Sandy, New York City officials are thinking more about clean energy and how to keep the city safe from the growing effects of climate change. In his recent State of the State address, governor Andrew Cuomo announced a billion-dollar “green bank” plan, a 10-year expansion to the state’s solar program, and a new cleantech czar to oversee these changes.
The NY Green Bank will leverage private capital and mitigate investment risk, catalyze market activity, and lower borrowing costs. This aims to bring down the prices for clean technology for consumers, and to provide long-term public and social benefits to the local economy.
The extension on the solar jobs program will provide more certainty to solar developers than current programs, and hopes to attract significant private investment in solar systems, develop a large solar industry in New York, create well-paying jobs, and improve the reliability of the electric grid, all while reducing air pollution.
It is encouraging to hear the governor discussing these plans in an official State of the State address, but as ThinkProgress mentions, outlining these priorities does not always indicate there is a plan for implementation. The appointment of Richard Karffman as energy czar, the former adviser to federal energy secretary Steven Chu, will likely help escalate the process and bring forward some realistic goals.
Image CC licensed by Johan Wieland