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Grassroots Bulletin

July Newsletter

New York State Energy Plan is Released            


The newly released State Energy Plan [the Plan] sets New York on a path to having half of the state’s power needs generated by renewable energy sources by 2030. According to the Plan, the state will also focus on reducing greenhouse gas emissions by 40 percent from 1990 levels, also by 2030. The long-awaited plan will serve as a non-binding guide for energy policy for the next decade across the state, according to the New York State Energy & Research Development Authority (NYSERDA), which is responsible for assembling the plan.

While the Plan sets aggressive goals for renewable generation, New York already gets about a quarter of its generation from renewable sources, mainly hydropower plants located upstate. Some policy experts say doubling those numbers without the ability opportunities to increase hydro investment may prove challenging. Customers in Con Edison’s service territory have rapidly increased the amount of installed solar PV, by an additional 2,872 installations last year alone.  The megawatts associated with installed solar are generally much lower than typical generation from fossil-fuels or even nuclear power.

According to NYSERDA, the State Energy Plan is meant to work in conjunction with the Public Service Commission’s Reforming the Energy Vision (REV) initiative, which contemplates a new distribution system and market opportunities for renewable technologies. Many of the Plan’s initiatives are already in progress, including NY SUN, energy efficiency investments, green buildings, NY Prize (community microgrid competition), Charge NY (electric cars), and NY-BEST (battery and energy storage).

Con Edison’s Brooklyn/Queens Demand Management Program is highlighted in the Plan as a tangible example of the new approaches being promoted by the Plan, including managing demand by reducing consumption, improving efficiency of the grid, reducing greenhouse gases and potentially lowering costs to ratepayers.  A full copy of the 2015 New York State Energy Plan can be found here.      

Legislature Concludes Session 

The New York State Legislature officially adjourned on June 26th, more than a week after the session was originally scheduled to conclude. Governor Andrew Cuomo and the Legislature were able to reach important agreements on housing, education reform and other wide sweeping policy matters, marking the end of a turbulent session which was overshadowed by the indictments and resignations of long-time Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver and Senate Majority Leader Dean Skelos.

Several utility-related bills were considered during the final days of session, including legislation that would require state and local emergency plans to exempt utility workers from travel bans during extreme weather events that lead to the closure of certain roadways.

The Senate and Assembly Energy Committees separately advanced legislation that would have required utilities to report annually on natural gas leaks but the bill ultimately failed to pass either house. The Legislature also did not approve legislation that would require the Public Service Commission (PSC) to conduct a cost-benefit analysis of the state’s Reforming the Energy Vision (REV) initiative and the Energy Highway transmission investment program. REV had recently caught the attention of legislators, with many questioning whether the new regulatory proposal would lead to higher costs for customers.  The Senate held a hearing to examine the PSC’s REV plans in May.

The renewal of rent regulations was one item at the center of final negotiations.

Rent laws expired in mid-June for roughly a million New York City apartments but were extended by an additional four years, despite a push for stronger laws by many advocates, including New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio. 

The focus on education included a one-year extension of mayoral control of New York City’s schools, $250 million appropriated to private schools, adjustments to New York City’s charter school cap, and an agreement to study whether certain state tests were too tough per grade level students.

The final agreement also included NYSERDA funding to assist municipalities that will experience a tax revenue loss due the closure of fossil fuel generators. This issue was of concern to many localities in Western New York and Long Island.

Free Summer Arts Program for Kids on Governor's Island  

All summer long, the Children’s Museum of Arts will lead kids through hands-on art workshops on historic Governor’s Island. The program's goal is to ensure that New York City children and families from all backgrounds and economic levels have access to high-quality art programming and the outdoors.  Participants will create works that show the importance of nature and parks and how they fit into the environment.

Con Edison has been a sponsor of the Art Island Outpost for over twenty years. The combination of outdoor space, environmental exploration, and art ties directly back to the company’s strategic giving focus.  Through our sponsorship, families from all economic backgrounds with varying access to outdoor space can participate every weekend throughout the summer. 

Cost: FREE
Dates: Every Saturday and Sunday from May 23 – September 27 (including holiday Mondays, excluding July 4th)
Time: 11-3 PM
Ages: 1-15
Location: Governors Island, visit www.govisland.com for more information about getting there.  


Fresh Air Fund Summer Camp 

Join Con Edison and the Fresh Air Fund this summer as a camp counselor for a day. Every year the Fresh Air Fund hosts over 3,000 children attend five different Fresh Air camps in Fishkill, New York. Kids from inner-city neighborhoods get a fun summer experience on over 2,000 acres upstate. 

Camp counselors will spend the day with close to 200, 9-12 year old boys, participating in outdoor sports, as well as arts and crafts fun.  For more information or to sign-up as a volunteer, visit the volunteer website.     

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