Likening energy independence and the development of a new energy economy to the significance of the Erie Canal some 200 years ago, Assemblyman Kevin Cahill, Chair of the Assembly Energy Committee, presented a 2010 energy agenda focused on economic development, consumer protection, infrastructure, efficiency and alternative energy.
"A commitment to energy independence has the potential to thrust us forward in the same way the Erie Canal cemented our status as the Empire State 200 years ago." said Assemblyman Cahill. "Our future as a world economic leader, as the Empire State, depends on our embracing the development of a new energy economy."
Assemblyman Cahill will be advancing major legislation addressing long stagnant issues in the areas of energy infrastructure and the New York Power Authority’s job creation and retention programs. The Assemblyman identified the enactment of a new power plant siting law, which expired in 2002, as an essential tool in bringing more wind power online and upgrading old power plants with cleaner more efficient technologies.
After months of public hearings and deliberations, the Energy Committee will work to replace the outdated Power For Jobs program with a new long term economic development power initiative designed to keep key manufacturing jobs and attract new industries to New York.
"A new power plant siting law and reforms to the Power Authority’s economic development programs are long overdue," said Assemblyman Cahill. "Taken together, these measures will help provide a strong foundation for our economic recovery."
The Committee will also move to further the development of the new energy economy. The Assemblyman will push to update the energy building code, making the state compliant with the most stringent efficiency standards while allowing New York to access significant amounts of Federal Recovery Act funding.
Other bills would fix the state’s net-metering laws to bring them in line with the most progressive laws in the nation, require utilities operating in regions that do not conform with federal ozone standards to invest in new solar generation and encourage the development of new energy storage systems.
"The race to develop and deploy clean energy solutions is going to define the 21st Century global economy," said Assemblyman Cahill. "In New York, as we have so many times in the past, we have the ability to drive those innovations and create that new energy economy right here at home."
Legislation to empower consumers is also at the top of the Assemblyman’s agenda. A new Citizens’ Utility Board, a not-for-profit entity, will be formed to advocate on behalf of utility customers before the Public Service Commission and the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission. The same legislation would create a fund that would enable consumer organizations to participate in proceedings before the Public Service Commission.
The Energy Committee will consider legislation linked to its on-going investigation of the Independent Systems Operator (ISO), the organization charged with overseeing our electricity markets in New York State. The bill will increase consumer representation on the ISO board and require increased disclosure of market practices.
"New Yorkers have been in the dark when it comes to decisions being made by the agencies and organizations running our energy systems," said Assemblyman Cahill. "These bills will give consumers the tools they need to fight for policies that work for them."
The Energy Committee’s 2010 legislative agenda builds upon the significant progress made last year that included the reenactment of the State’s energy planning law, the passage of the Green Jobs / Green New York legislation, authorization of Municipal Clean Energy Loan Programs, and the expansion of the New York Power Authority’s energy efficiency and clean power initiatives.
"In less than two years time, the Legislature, in partnership with Governor Paterson, has succeeded in advancing energy policy in New York by leaps and bounds. I look forward to continuing our aggressive, results driven approach in 2010," Assemblyman Cahill concluded.