New York’s March to Achieving 100% Clean Energy by 2040

| March 16, 2023

By Peter Aronson

It’s called greening the grid, and New York State is racing to do this by 2040.

New York has committed to achieving 100 percent clean energy within 17 years from now (and we’re counting!) and the state is pushing forward on multiple fronts to reach that goal.

Front and center are vital offshore wind projects on Long Island, like the South Fork Wind Farm, a 130-megawatt wind farm in development off the east coast of Long Island that is expected to be New York State’s first operational offshore wind farm and the country’s first operational commercial scale offshore wind project. It will provide “enough renewable electricity to power 70,000 homes and offset 300,000 tons of carbon emissions each year,” according to the Long Island Power Authority. It could begin supplying power as soon as the end of 2023.

NYLCV also supports additional offshore wind projects on the horizon, like Empire Wind, which would generate 2.1 gigawatts of wind power, enough to provide electricity for more than 1 million homes. The turbines would be located 15-30 miles southeast off the coast of Long Island and provide almost a quarter of New York’s stated wind-power goal for 2035.

“This project is a vital contributor to decarbonizing New York’s energy grid,” said Casey Petrashek, the NYLCV’s deputy director of politics. “In terms of economic benefits, Empire Wind 2 will promote clean, reliable, and safe development of domestic energy sources and create thousands of clean energy jobs throughout the state.”

Empire Wind, which is divided into Empire Wind 1 and Empire Wind 2, is currently going through its New York state and federal application process. 

The state is pushing forward with other offshore wind projects by signing contracts for the Sunrise Wind and Beacon Wind projects. Combined with Empire Wind 1 and 2, these four wind-turbine projects would provide power to more than 2.4 million New York homes by providing 4.3 gigawatts of power, almost half the state’s 9 gigawatt wind-power goal for 2035.

Another step that is vital to New York state achieving carbon-zero energy emissions by 2040 is increasing its energy storage. Energy storage is an essential and complicated process that basically allows communities to store unused energy, often generated by solar, wind or water, to be used when it is needed. This is crucial statewide because, as The New York Times explained, New York has “two separate electric grids: “upstate, where most of the state’s growing clean-power supply is generated, and in and around New York City, the area that consumes the most energy and relies most heavily on power from fossil fuels.”

To help solve this problem, on December 28, 2022, Governor Kathy Hochul announced a comprehensive plan to vastly expand the state’s energy storage to 6 gigawatts by 2030. This would include constructing energy storage units and enlarging existing ones, as part of a plan to bolster our state’s energy grid feeding all sectors: manufacturing, office, residential and educational; public and private; and urban, suburban and rural.

A significant percent of program funding would be dedicated to supporting projects that deliver benefits to disadvantaged communities, according to the Governor’s press release.    

NYLCV supports climate justice and equitability and is fully supportive of the Governor’s essential project.

“If New York is to meet its nation-leading climate goals, we will need more clean energy flowing to our buildings, our transportation, and our homes, and a critical part of that is ensuring we have the necessary storage capacity in place,” said NYLCV President Julie Tighe. “NYLCV strongly supports Governor Hochul’s updated target of 6 gigawatts  of storage by 2030, as well as New York’s 2022 Energy Storage Map and its multi-front approach to reaching this new target in a way that is both efficient and environmentally just, and with a commitment to providing prevailing-wage jobs to get it done.” 

A third major component to achieving zero emissions is expanding the State’s reliance on solar power.

New York State is trying to make solar more affordable and accessible through NY-Sun. Financing options are available for homes and businesses.

Transitioning  to solar power is a major component in New York state’s plan to attain 100 percent carbon-free electricity by 2040. We encourage New Yorkers across the state to explore their solar options, for business and home.  

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