Governor David Paterson has signed into law a permanent Energy Planning Board. The measure (A.5877-B /S.2501-B), sponsored by Assemblyman Kevin Cahill and Senator Kevin Parker, is the latest in a series of actions that have established New York State as the leader in advancing the progressive forward thinking energy policies that will guide the nation through the 21st Century.
"Energy policy is truly at the center of the two greatest challenges facing our nation, climate change and the economy," said Assemblyman Cahill, Chair of the Assembly Energy Committee. "The Legislature has partnered with Governor Paterson to move forward with ambitious and aggressive policies aimed at protecting our environment and creating the jobs that will drive our economic future."
"Signing this legislation today moves New York State closer to developing and maintaining a sustainable and independent energy future that attracts developers, creates jobs and meets the energy needs of Upstate New York," said state Sen. Darrel J. Aubertine. "Governor Paterson's leadership in developing a draft state Energy Plan and this legislation will create a smooth transition for New York State to implement a 21st Century energy policy. The Governor's executive order, this legislation and the Green Jobs/Green New York legislation we passed last week are all part of our commitment to rebuilding our economy and creating jobs in a sustainable way."
"With this new law, we are unique in having in place a strong, comprehensive statutory framework for energy planning and policy development," said Assemblyman Cahill. "Our proactive approach will give us the tools we need for energy independence, security and reliability."
The law builds upon the recently announced Energy Plan ordered by Governor Paterson by calling for a new plan every four years, with biennial updates, ensuring a State Energy Plan that reflects the most current information possible on the state's energy needs. It also gives the Energy Planning Board the regulatory tools necessary to ensure a truly comprehensive plan.
"Governor Paterson's leadership on energy initiatives has allowed the Legislature to make significant progress on key issues that were often ignored by the Pataki administration," said Assemblyman Cahill, noting that the former Governor even went so far as to eliminate the State Energy Office. "By establishing a State Energy Plan in statute, we have created a dynamic process that will ensure that future Governors devote the resources and attention necessary to continue leading New York toward energy independence."
The comprehensive energy planning law continues a flurry of activity by Governor Paterson and the Legislature that has established New York as the clear leader in developing modern energy policy. One of the key accomplishments has been the launch of the groundbreaking carbon emission cap and trade program, known as RGGI. Proceeds from RGGI auctions will fund the recently passed bi-partisan Green Jobs/Green New York Program. The program will direct funding to communities, homes, small businesses and not-for-profits to develop a workforce with a goal of conducting one million energy efficient building retrofits over the next five years.
The New York Power Authority, Long Island Power Authority, NYSERDA and the Public Service Commission have substantially increased investments energy efficiency and renewable power. The Office of General Services is leading the way towards greening state's facilities and vehicle fleet. The Legislature also amended New York's net-metering law to make it one of the most expansive in the country by extending it to non-residential customers and allowing the use of clean generation technologies like wind, solar, farm waste digestors, cogeneration and fuel cells. These efforts combined with an ongoing review of state codes and regulations have set New York on a path to energy independence that will help to preserve our environment and insulate us from the economic uncertainty associated with the global energy markets.
"A comprehensive energy plan will finally provide the context in which all these critical programs can move forward for the betterment of all New York State," concluded Assemblyman Cahill.