Assemblyman Kevin Cahill (D-Ulster / Dutchess), Chair of the Assembly Energy Committee, announced that legislation (A.5877-B / S.2501-B) to re-establish in statute a state energy board charged with crafting a comprehensive state energy plan for New York has now passed both the Assembly and Senate. The new State Energy Plan will provide for the oversight and guidance to ensure the success of the initiatives sparked by the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act.
"Now, more than ever, with the focus on the green economy and energy independence, we need a comprehensive energy plan," said Assemblyman Cahill. "This law will provide the principled framework, clarity and accountability needed to give us the context for assessing the current practices and new proposals that will shape our future."
The American Recovery and Reinvestment Act is providing hundreds of millions of dollars to New York State for green job training, transportation and energy infrastructure, efficiency, weatherization and renewable generation. Additional monies will also be made available through the Federal Department of Energy.
"New York needs an Energy Planning Board to ensure that the stimulus funds are being spent wisely and effectively," said Assemblyman Cahill. "An independent process will allow for a comprehensive analysis of our energy needs that will help guide investments made by the public and private sectors within the state."
The legislation is the natural evolution to the planning process established by Governor Paterson via Executive Order last year. The Senate and Assembly bill builds upon the work of the administration by expanding the scope of the board, providing additional powers and statutory authority that will enable truly independent and long range planning.
"The Governor set the stage for the Legislature to establish a dynamic process that will ensure that New York has a clear and enduring mechanism to lead us to energy independence," said Assemblyman Cahill. "Now it is time for the Executive to make that process permanent and independent by signing this bill into law."
The new law will require comprehensive studies of the state's energy needs. The plan will include assessments of the following: regional and statewide analyses of power generation, transmission and distribution; reliability and affordability; short and long term fuel forecasts; renewable energy technologies and distributed generation; environmental justice and public health; efficiency and conservation; transportation; residential, commercial and industrial construction; emergency management; and economic development.
The bill will empower the Board to hold hearings, adopt rules and regulations and issue subpoenas. It would require all major utilities to file information necessary to the development of an Energy Plan. It would direct the Power Authority of the State of New York and the Long Island Power Authority to participate in the planning process and to submit strategic, operating and capital plans. The bill would also require state agencies to report on the progress made to implement identified energy plan policies and priorities and progress made to attain energy plan goals.
"We have an opportunity and a responsibility to reinvent our economy by committing to energy independence, but it is not going to happen unless we have plan in place. Targeting this new goal will allow for new thinking, new models and a signal to the rest of the world that New York is serious about being a 21st Century leader in energy innovation," Assemblyman Cahill concluded.