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Energy Brief: New York Vows to Go Zero-Carbon Electricity by 2040

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Governor Andrew M. Cuomo wants to make New York “the most progressive state in the nation in moving to renewables.” To accomplish that, he has vowed to bring 100-percent carbon-free electricity to the state by 2040.

On December 17, 2018, Governor Andrew M. Cuomo pledged to make New York 100% carbon-electricity “free” by 2040 as part of the state’s Clean Energy Standard (CES) program. Dubbed the “Green New Deal”, the target, if achieved, can bring massive environmental and economic benefits to communities throughout the state, spurring unprecedented growth in the local job market and, of course, cleaner air.

Currently, New York produces 35% of its electricity from natural gas. The state’s electricity generation represents approximately 20%of its carbon emission profile. Nuclear power generation accounts for almost 33% of the total energy production share and so does renewable energy (hydro, wind and solar).

Do the math, and to accomplish the target of zero-carbon electricity, the state must work toward replacing the 376 gigawatt-hours of carbon electricity with carbon-free electricity in the next two decades.

It’s worth mentioning here that the “Green New Deal” isn’t really a legally binding target; it’s “merely” a goal set by Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo. In contrast, California is aiming for a mandatory target of 100-percent carbon-free electricity by 2045, which makes its program far more aggressive to New York.

Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo’s announcement in that respect can be lauded as a politically easy (and correct) move. However, this “very” lack of aggressiveness can also play against the clean energy goal, as it could very well turn out to be a lip service and empty rhetoric than an actual execution.

Therefore, it’s critical that the state government of New York, as well as the local communities, maintain sincerity in accomplishing the carbon-free electricity goal. It’s a test for everyone involved, and an opportunity to prove to the doubters that New York can indeed become the “most” progressive state when it comes to utilizing renewables for energy production.

Roll up your sleeves Yankees; we’ve got some work to do!

Larsen Engineers resources an experience of over 60 years in the engineering industry, priding itself as a leader in renewable energy, waste management and transportation and structural engineering projects. We are headquartered in Rochester, NY. Get in touch with us today to discuss your smart energy needs.

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