Taking another step towards energy security, New York Governor Andrew M. Cuomo announced on Christmas Eve that an additional $250 million will be made available for renewable energy projects. Part of the governor’s Energy Highway Blueprint aimed at diversifying the state’s energy mix, funds for a broad variety of renewable energy projects such as biomass, biogas, solar and wind will be administered by the New York State Energy Research and Development Authority (NYSERDA) through the state’s Renewable Portfolio Standard (RPS).
Recipients of the RPS funds, which will be distributed competitively to private investors, are expected to be announced in the summer of 2013. In addition to loosening the state’s dependence on fossil fuels, the program provides clean energy jobs and economic development. “Over the next 20 years, the direct benefits from the projects currently within the RPS program are expected to approach $2.4 billion, and the effects on the broader economy are estimated at more than $4.9 billion,” the Governor’s office announced in a recent press release.
“The RPS program has allowed New York State to expand its clean-energy economy by attracting private investment in these medium and large renewable energy projects, which are creating jobs and providing environmental benefits for local communities,” said Francis J. Murray Jr., President and CEO, NYSERDA.
NYSERDA already has Main Tier contracts with 54 renewable energy generators, which should power as many as 650,000 homes each year. Existing plants include two biomass facilities, 10 landfill biogas operators, 25 hydroelectric plants and 17 wind farms. The RPS is good for business and stands to mitigate New York state’s carbon footprint as well.