Energy, Business, Labor Groups Say State Needs To Responsibly Advance Climate and Energy Goals
Real Estate In-Depth | August 31, 2022
ALBANY—A group of four business, labor, construction trades and energy organizations have developed seven principles the state should follow to address what they say are shortcomings of the current version of the Scoping Plan drafted by the New York State’s Climate Action Council (CAC).
The Independent Power Producers of New York, The Business Council of New York State, the New York State AFL-CIO, and the New York State Building & Construction Trades Council jointly formulated the seven principles that they state lays out a foundation for meeting New York State’s goals while keeping New Yorkers’ lights on and their energy affordable and clean. The CAC is a 22-member committee tasked with preparing a plan to achieve the Climate Leadership and Community Protection Act’s (CLCPA) clean energy and emission reduction targets to address climate change.
The coalition charged that the current draft Scoping Plan is “complicated, could greatly impact affordability for ratepayers, has no comprehensive analysis of implementation costs for ratepayers, and could have a detrimental effect on the economy and all New Yorkers.” The final scoping plan is set to be finalized in January 2023.
The seven principles agreed upon by the coalition and released on Aug. 29, which should be included in the final New York State climate plan, are:
• Maintain safe, reliable, and resilient energy infrastructure.
• Communicate impacts on energy consumers and businesses.
• Create and retain high quality union jobs.
• Leverage the power of markets to achieve decarbonization.
• Reduce emissions from all sectors, including transportation and heating.
• Promote development and maintenance of needed energy infrastructure.
• Support fuel and technology diversity.
IPPNY President and CEO Gavin J. Donohue said “These four organizations coming together clearly demonstrates the magnitude of our clean energy goals and how all options should be on the table for discussion. The Climate Action Council is responsible for the complicated task of creating a draft Scoping Plan, but the current version could have a serious negative impact on all New Yorkers. Together, we believe this set of principles lays the groundwork for what should be considered in our climate plans to ensure a realistic approach to achieving the state’s aggressive goals. These concepts were developed by experts of the energy, business, and labor sectors based on factual data, studies, and trends.”
He added, “We cannot lose sight of the importance of our existing renewable resources while we continue our efforts to invest in new and innovative renewables and technology. We all support the transition to a cleaner energy future, but we must be realistic and work toward our goals in a responsible manner as we develop zero emission dispatchable technologies to maintain reliability while meeting the CLCPA’s targets.”
Heather Briccetti Mulligan, President and CEO, The Business Council of New York State said “Addressing climate change is crucial, but achieving New York’s emission reduction and renewable power commitments poses huge technical and financial challenges, and will take careful planning to assure both effective and affordable implementation. Business and labor share a common goal of assuring that energy and environmental policies are developed in a way to maximize in-state economic opportunities, stemming from our significant investments in energy technology, and facility and building upgrades, while avoiding actions that cause out-of-state leakage of economic activity, jobs, or emissions. As we move toward a 100% zero emission electric generation fleet and net-zero carbon economy, we also need to maintain a reliable energy system, be open and honest about the cost and benefits of compliance options, and keep all reasonable options on the table.”
Mario Cilento, president of the New York State AFL-CIO said “Combating climate change while protecting workers is a top priority for the union movement. We are committed to being a leader in this fight and look forward to working with our diverse partners to find solutions that will achieve the state’s ambitious clean energy goals while creating and retaining high quality union jobs. To do this; we must utilize every avenue we can with all options on the table. None of this will be easy but working together, we can seize on this opportunity to address climate change, invest in our workforce and meet our climate goals for future generations.”
Gary LaBarbera, President of the Building and Construction Trades Council of Greater New York, said, “Investing in clean infrastructure plays a crucial role in New York’s status as a global leader in renewable energy and creates thousands of middle-class careers with benefits for our state’s hardworking people. More than ever before, we need to continue funding these projects that combat climate change and create opportunity and stability for the tradesmen and tradeswomen who are fundamental in achieving these energy-efficiency goals. We look forward to working with the Independent Power Producers of New York, The Business Council of New York State, and the New York State AFL-CIO, to spearhead these crucial initiatives that not only improve our environment, but provide our workforce with sustainable, long-term career paths.”
The coalition noted that the draft Scoping Plan has some positive proposals, and the CAC has done good work to see that the state meets the CLCPA’s targets. “New York State has the most ambitious climate goals in the country and achieving them is no easy task, but how those targets will be achieved remains in question. The draft plan has shortcomings that need to be addressed if New York is to maintain reliability and affordability,” the coalition noted in its announcement.
The coalition also noted that each of the four organizations represent a large and diverse number of New Yorkers. While each supports the transition to a cleaner energy future, they also understand that all solutions must be considered to reach the CLCPA’s targets of 70% renewable energy by 2030 and being 100% zero-emitting by 2040.
About the Coalition
The Independent Power Producers of New York is an Albany-based trade association representing companies in the competitive power supply industry in New York State. IPPNY members generate the majority of New York’s electricity using a wide variety of generating technologies and fuels including hydro, nuclear, wind, natural gas, solar, energy storage, biomass, oil, and waste-to-energy.
The Business Council of New York State represents the interests of approximately 3,500 member companies that include private sector businesses, local chambers of commerce, and professional and trade associations. While 76% of its members are small businesses, it also represents some of the largest and most important corporations in the world.
The New York State AFL-CIO is a federation of 3,000 unions, representing 2.5 million members, retirees and their families with one goal; to raise the standard of living and quality of life of all working people.
Established in 1958, the NYS Building & Construction Trades Council currently represents more than 200,000 unionized construction workers in New York State. Its 15 local building trades councils, 12 district councils and state associations, and 135 local unions represent the trades that build roads, bridges, schools, and office buildings. Believing that every worker deserves a fair wage and safe working conditions, its mission is to protect and further these basic privileges.