Just back from the Alliance for Clean Energy New York’s annual conference, Eric Walker was encouraged by progress toward legislating sustainable, clean energy policy. Walker, Open Buffalo’s Climate and Clean Energy Strategist noted that CLPCA is “the single most ambitious thing NYS has done toward outlining an energy agenda.” Among his key takeaways: “the entire renewable energy sector is focused on an economy-wide shift towards meeting the Climate Leadership and Community Protection Act (CLPCA) goals.” Once enacted, the legislation’s overarching goal is to put “New York on a path to reaching net zero greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions.”
According to Miles Farmer and Jackson Morris of the Eastern Region Climate and Clean Energy Forum, The Act brings industry actors together with community partners and government entities to set targets for reaching greenhouse gas emissions and “scaling up clean energy that will transform and strengthen New York’s economy.” Significantly, the pending law includes provisions to redress historic environmental justice inequities; including a requirement to direct at least 35-40% of the program’s benefits to historically disadvantaged communities. (For more detailed information about CLPCA’s goals, read Farmer and Morris’ Unpacking New York’s Big New Climate Bill: A Primer.)
As a co-presenter of the Including all New Yorkers in the Clean Energy Transition panel, Walker advocates a dynamic approach to achieving sustainability, security and reliability: community choice aggregation. He explained, “The power behind community choice energy is you get the power of shifting a whole community’s consumption all at once, including appliance choice, adopting residential energy retrofits and renewable HC technology. This helps accelerate the need for energy efficiency and clean energy workforce. [Progress] happens much more quickly when you shift an entire community’s consumption all at once.” As climate justice activists continue to have a seat at the table with industry and government, Walker anticipates significant progress toward achieving CLPCA’s goals of clean, sustainable New York energy policy.