Albany – As New York endured another day of crushing heat that strained the state’s electric grid and drove energy prices to astronomical levels, Assembly Energy Committee Chair Kevin Cahill (D-Ulster, Dutchess) called for the passage of the Solar Industry Development and Jobs Act of 2011 (A.5713), as a cost effective mechanism to drive down costs, increase system reliability and improve air quality. The legislation is a market-based approach that will accelerate investments in solar power throughout New York.
“New York has a huge untapped potential for solar energy, particularly during times like these when our energy costs are through the roof and we are forced to rely on inefficient, dirty power plants to meet our electricity needs,” said Assemblymember Cahill. “This innovative program is a cost effective solution that will allow us to produce clean, renewable power while creating new economic opportunities throughout the State.”
According to data obtained from the New York Independent System Operator, at 4:00 PM yesterday electricity on the day ahead market was trading at an average of $219 per megawatt hour. Prices on Long Island topped out at an astounding $636 per megawatt hour and New York City peaked at nearly $300 by 6:00 PM. Earlier this week the Departments of Environmental Conservation and Health issued an Air Quality Health Advisory due to an increase in harmful emissions.
“Passing the Solar Jobs Act will help New Yorkers avoid expensive investments in transmission and distribution systems and the costs associated with the environmental and public health problems caused by increased air pollution,” said Assemblymember Cahill. “Other states already have effective programs up and running, it is just common sense for New York to do the same.”
Once a leader in solar development, New York has fallen behind neighboring states like New Jersey. Despite tremendous in-state growth potential and a good solar resource, New York’s installed solar photovoltaic (PV) capacity currently represents less than 3% of the national share, or approximately 54 megawatts (MW). By comparison, New Jersey installed more than twice that amount of new solar in 2010 alone. To reverse this trend, the Solar Jobs Act provides an effective framework for long-term solar market growth and job creation in New York.
In its current form, the bill would:
- Develop 2,500 MW of solar PV by 2020;
- Create tens of thousands of new high quality jobs, from manufacturing and design to construction and operation;
- Generate a multi-billion dollar boost in wages and economic output that could be reinvested in New York’s economy;
- Deliver maximum solar benefits at minimum cost to New York electricity consumers; and
- Decrease the state’s production of harmful emissions by reducing the need for fossil fuel based electricity generation, especially at times of peak energy demand.
The New York Solar Jobs Act is supported by a broad coalition, including:
ACE NY, the American Lung Association in New York, Citizens Campaign for the Environment, Environmental Advocates of New York, Environment New York, New York Interfaith Power and Light, New York League of Conservation Voters, NRDC, Pace Climate and Energy Center, Physicians for Social Responsibility – New York Chapter, Renewable Energy Long Island, Solar Alliance, Solar One and the Vote Solar Initiative.
For more information about the Solar Jobs Act, visit: http://www.assembly.state.ny.us/leg/?bn=A.5713