New York Governor David Paterson set some lofty goals for energy efficiency and renewable power in his first state of the state address yesterday, aiming to cut electricity use by 15 percent and raise the Renewable Portfolio Standard to 30 percent by 2015 in the Empire State.
Calling it the “45 by ’15″ plan, Paterson said the new targets will create 50,000 new jobs for New Yorkers, making him the latest in a growing list of politicians and groups touting the job creation potential of big cleantech projects. Earlier this week, the GridWise Alliance, a smart-grid industry group, said up to 280,000 new jobs could be created across the country from the deployment of a smart grid in the U.S. And in President-elect Barack Obama’s first weekly radio address of the new year, he pushed for a doubling of the country’s renewable energy production as part of a plan to add 3 million new jobs in the States.
In his speech, Paterson said energy has become too expensive, too unpredictable, and too damaging to the environment. “It is time to make New York more energy independent and more energy efficient, to develop our own sources of clean and renewable energy, and to build new statewide systems for energy generation, transmission, and distribution.”
Boosting the Renewable Portfolio Standard would put New York well ahead of California, a leader in environmental reforms in the country, which is targeting 33 percent by 2020. Today, New York produces about 21 percent of its electricity from renewables, including 19 percent from hydro. The current RPS goal for the state is 25 percent by 2013.
Paterson is also big on plug-in hybrid electric vehicles, announcing the creation of an upstate research consortium for hybrid electric batteries and energy storage technologies to be led by the New York State Energy Research and Development Authority.
The governor didn’t discuss the cost of all these new initiatives, but in his executive budget proposal released last month he asked for more money from utilities, potentially producing $651.6 million in additional revenue for the state, with some of that cash to be used to encourage energy conservation.
New York currently collects a 0.33 percent of utilities’ gross revenues to offset the cost of state energy services. Paterson’s budget would raise that figure to 1 percent permanently, with a 2 percent charge for the 2011-12 fiscal year.