Posted by: Patricia Salkin | November 9, 2010

NY Releases Interim State Climate Action Plan for Public Comment

Pursuant to Executive Order 24 (issued in 2009) the Interim New York State Climate Action Plan was released today, which, among other things, provided a blueprint for reducing greenhouse gas emissions 80 percent by 2050. The plan contains strategies for refocusing the state’s manufacturing infrastructure to support clean energy policies, as well as modernizing and transforming the State power supply, building codes and agriculture through utilizing clean energy and technology. 

The Climate Action Plan recommends, among other actions:

  • Accelerating the development of zero- or low-carbon sources of power, reducing reliance on petroleum and upgrading the power grid to increase the use of renewable energy.
  • Enhancing construction codes, appliance standards and consumer incentives to ensure construction of the most energy efficient, environmentally-beneficial buildings.
  • Encouraging transportation efficiency by developing low-carbon fuel standards, promoting greater use of electric-based public transport, creating rebates/incentives to encourage the sale of efficient cars and light trucks and investing in freight and high-speed rail.
  • Promoting sustainable policies in agriculture, forestry and waste sectors, including decreasing the amount of waste generated, supporting the use of renewable forms of clean energy on farms and increasing the use of low-carbon biomass fuels.
  • Targeting research and development funds toward helping New York businesses develop low-carbon energy technologies while addressing State energy and infrastructure needs.

It is expected that in 2011, the Climate Action Council will further refine these preliminary ideas, finalize cost information and economic potentials, analyze the macroeconomic impacts of the policies, and outline a strategy for implementation.

The interim report is open to public review and comment through February 7, 2011.

The report and instructions for submitting comments can be found at:

The New York State Climate Action Plan Interim Report Fact Sheet can be found at:


  1. The Climate Change Action Plan calls for the accelerating the development of zero- or low-carbon sources of power, reducing reliance on petroleum and upgrading the power grid to increase the use of renewable energy. One policy the Plan suggests to reach this goal is to “re-create a more streamlined process for the siting of power plants.” It is likely that this policy would be based on Article X of the Public Service Law that expired in 2003.

    The policy (PSD-1) calls for have a single fuel- and technology-neutral approval process” that has the ability to “override . . . the application of local substantive legal requirements that are unreasonably restrictive.” This is a good idea because New York is going to need a mix of sources to meet its energy demands and NIMBYism has prevent the siting of power plants, especially in the context of wind turbines. However, the Plan does not specify the size of power plants in megawatts (MW) that will fall under this approval process. For example, Article X only applied to projects generating 80 MW or more. This is an issue because recent attempts to reenact Article X have stumbled over what size power plants a state siting law should regulate. Furthermore, local governments and citizens will likely oppose state efforts to remove their power for siting power plants. Finally, some groups may oppose the fuel-neutral aspect because they would prefer zero emission sources. Hopefully, the final Action Plan will be able to give more detail on these issues and generate the political will necessary for action to actually take place or this recommendation will go the way of Article X.

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