The New York Solar Jobs Act of 2011, a bill that aims to bring huge environmental and economic benefits to New York, is set to be voted on in the State Assembly today. In New York politics, the Anthony Weiner scandal and the hotly debated Gay Marriage Bill have overshadowed the Solar Jobs Act recently, but the bill would bring major implications and benefits to the entire Empire State. The bill would create more than 22,000 jobs, and it has a set goal of increasing New York’s solar power production to 5,000 MW.
New York legislatures have until the end of today to vote on numerous bills, including the Solar Jobs Act. The bill is seen as an important piece of legislation, which has not been covered widely in the media. Activists are already rallying in support of the bill, and a digital billboard has been placed in Times Square to help spread awareness.
The Solar Jobs Act sets a goal of providing 5,000 MW of solar energy - enough to power 500,000 average households and equivalent to 3 percent of the state’s total electric load. Supporters also believe that the bill would add up to 22,000 solar jobs and about $20 billion in investments in the state. Over 50 NY-based businesses are also supporting the bill, including commercial giants like Wal-Mart, Staples, and GE.
As expected with any new legislation, not everyone is on board. Con Ed strongly opposes the bill, claiming that it would “cost customers of investor-owned utilities [a total of] $29 billion through 2039.” Opposition, however, comes in large part due to a clause in the bill that would require electricity suppliers to purchase 15-year solar renewable energy credit contracts.
Despite some opposition and a lack of media coverage, a majority of New Yorkers do seem to support the bill. A campaign has already been diligently spreading the word and encouraging New Yorkers to contact government officials to support the bill.
The Solar Jobs Act could bring an interesting transformation to the energy field in New York, and it has the potential of benefiting the economy, the environment, public health, and future generations. Given the sustainable state wide initiatives that are already in place, the bill might just have a chance to pass, adding yet another important piece of green legislation to our increasingly eco-friendly state.