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New York Policy Updates

February 2024 Updates

New York Governor Kathy Hocul

  • On January 9, 2024 Governor Hochul delivered her 2024 State of the State Address, which included several building decarbonization initiatives that would increase energy affordability, support clean energy jobs for union workers, and reduce climate pollution.
    • BDC responded to the Governor’s address with a statement from Lisa Dix, New York director for BDC, that applauded the Governor for her commitment to advancing New York’s nation-leading energy affordability and building decarbonization efforts.
  • The following week on January 16, 2024 Governor Hochul released her Fiscal Year 2025 Executive Budget:
    • In response BDC issued a statement in which Dix celebrated the budget’s inclusion of elements of the NY HEAT Act in it’s  Affordable Gas Transition Act, which will make families’ energy bills more affordable, reduce dangerous climate emissions, and help New York implement a managed, equitable transition to neighborhood-scale clean heating and cooling solutions like Thermal Energy Networks (TENs).
    • Dix also recognized the Governor for doubling-down on her efforts to make energy more affordable for New York’s most economically vulnerable residents, while also keeping the state on track to achieve 2 million climate-friendly homes by 2030, through the budget’s investments in a new program to cap utility bills at 6% and existing programs like EmPower+.

The NY Thermal Energy Summit 

NY HEAT Lobby Day

January 2024 Updates

New York Public Service Commission (PSC)

  • On December 14, 2023, the NY PSC issued an order in which it declined to approve the 20-year long-term gas system plan proposed by National Fuel.
    • BDC responded to the NY PSC’s order on National Fuel’s plan with a statement from Malak Nassereddine, New York senior manager for utility and regulatory policy at the Building Decarbonization Coalition.
        • In the statement, Nassereddine noted that the PSC’s order included much-needed modifications to National Fuel’s long-term plan, but also expressed concerns over the fact that the order does not adequately address several of the plan’s flaws, including its problematic reliance on “renewable” natural gas and hydrogen.    
  • As part of the implementation of the Utility Thermal Energy Network and Jobs Act (UTENJA), on December 15, 2023, New York utilities submitted proposals for 13 Utility Thermal Energy Network (UTEN) projects to the New York Public Service Commission (PSC).
    • The UpgradeNY collaboration, of which BDC is a member, issued a statement in response to these submissions, in which it “urged the PSC to swiftly advance 11 of the proposals which meet both the intent of UTENJA and the criteria required by the PSC from Stage 1 (Scope Feasibility) to Stage 2 (Engineering) of the project development process.”
    • In addition, UpgradeNY requested “that the Commission pause approval of the project proposals filed by National Fuel Gas and National Grid KEDLI-LIPA,” and asked these utilities to “refine these proposals so that they better meet the objectives of UTENJA.”
    • UpgradeNY looks forward to the next stage of development of these projects, which it believes “will show the industry and its stakeholders how this technology [Thermal Energy Networks] will provide customers with much-needed energy services, create new business opportunities for New York’s gas utilities, and ensure climate jobs for union workers, while cost-effectively electrifying the state’s building stock.”

New York State Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) and New York State Energy Research and Development Authority (NYSERDA) 

  • On December 20, 2023, the DEC and NYSERDA released a New York Cap-and-Invest (NYCI) program Pre-Proposal Outline and Climate Affordability Study and announced a series of stakeholder meetings to gather feedback on the proposed program.
  • BDC responded to the release of the Pre-Proposal Outline and Climate Affordability study and the announcement of the stakeholder meetings with a statement from Lisa Dix, New York director for BDC.
    • In the statement, Dix said the Pre-Proposal Outline and Climate Affordability study was an important step forward in creating a Cap-and-Invest program that will help finance the implementation of New York’s nation-leading climate plan, the CLCPA.
    • She also noted that financing from the program will help New York State accelerate the decarbonization of its built environment, reduce climate emissions, make energy more affordable for New York families, grow the State’s clean energy economy, and protect existing, and create new, union careers in the energy sector.

Teach-in on NY HEAT Act 

  • On December 15, 2023, Allison Considine, New York senior campaign & communications manager for BDC, presented the findings of BDC’s Future of Gas report at a Teach-In on the NY HEAT Act organized by New Yorkers for Clean Power. 

New York State Legislature

  • The New York State Legislature convened for its 2024 session on Wednesday, January 3, 2024, and Governor Hochul will outline her priorities for the session in her third State of the State address on January 9, 2024.

December Updates:

NYSERDA 

  • On November 1, 2023, NYSERDA submitted proposals to the Public Service Commission for Building Electrification/Energy Efficiency (BE/EE) programs for 2026-2030. 
  • NYSERDA also held a Special Board Meeting on November 29, 2023 at which draft cost effectiveness guidelines for proposed changes to the State Energy Conservation Construction Code were discussed and approved for rulemaking.

The New York State Fire Prevention and Building Code Council (the Code Council) 

  • During a meeting of the Code Council on December 1, 2023 the BDC provided testimony urging the council to only approve an updated code that reflects all requirements included in the Climate Leadership and Community Protection Act of 2019; the Advanced Codes and Standards Act of 2022; the All Electric Buildings Act of 2023; and the Climate Action Council’s 2022 Scoping Plan.

Albany Law School Symposium to Discuss Sustainable Development and Local Governments

  • On November 17, 2023, Malak Nassereddine, BDC NY’s Senior Utility and Regulatory Policy Manager, participated in a panel discussion on the role of local governments in building decarbonization as part of the 2023 Edwin L. Crawford Program on Municipal Law at Albany Law School. 
  • The panel examined the impact of state climate initiatives on local governments and the role local governments play in implementation.

October Updates:

Process for Utility Thermal Energy Networks:

  • On September 18, the NYS Public Service Commission released an order providing guidance to utilities in the development of their pilot proposals to implement the Utility Thermal Energy Network and Jobs Act, and provided guidance and a staged approach clarifying next steps to advance towards approval. BDC was pleased to see the PSC adopt several recommendations from advocates to clarify transparency, data collection, and reporting, and looks forward to reviewing revised filings in December of this year. On October 11, the Public Service Commission will hold a Technical Conference with the goal of defining key terms for the UTENJA docket.
  • PSC Press Release:https://dps.ny.gov/system/files/documents/2023/09/pr23094.pdf
  • UpgradeNY Coalition Statement: https://www.upgradeny.org/tens-press-release

Upgrade Climate Week Event- Thermal Energy Networks for a Sustainable Future:

  • On September 19th, the Upgrade NY coalition hosted an event during NYC Climate Week, “Thermal Energy Networks for a Sustainable Future,” at the Steamfitters Local 638 Training Center in Long Island City, Queens. BDC’s NY Director Lisa Dix moderated a panel on the possibilities of thermal energy networks, featuring policymakers, utility staff, and building owners, and a second panel showcased workforce and community benefits of TENs, highlighting the apprenticeship and pre-apprenticeship programs run by the Steamfitters and the UA, and how TENs can help ensure long-term union careers in clean energy. Participants learned about project proposals across New York City and State, the potential for TENs at SUNY campuses and new technologies like waste heat capture, and the potential for private capital to be unleashed as New York clarifies regulations and processes for developing thermal energy networks. Keynote was provided by John Murphy of the UA and President of National Grid New York Rudy Wynter, who celebrated TENs as creating a new utility model and just energy transition.

Heat Pump Leadership:

  • On September 21, New York Governor Kathy Hochul was joined by Washington Governor Jay Inslee and Maine Governor Janet Mills on behalf of the U.S. Climate Alliance to announce a joint commitment to take action to decarbonize buildings and quadruple heat pump installations by 2030 across the 25 states of the USCA
  • Governor Hochul press release on USCA Announcement featuring a quote from BDC’s NY Director Lisa Dix

NY HEAT Hot Chili Fall Tour: 

  • Throughout October in New York, New York’s Renewable Heat Now coalition will be hosting a “New York HEAT Hot Chili Fall Tour” in cities across the state to build momentum for Governor Hochul to include the NY HEAT ACT in her Executive Budget. Events will feature food, storytelling, and action steps. 

Geothermal Bill signed: 

  • On Thursday, September 23rdG, Governor Hochul signed a bill to minimize barriers to accessing geothermal and better regulate geo boreholes deeper than 500 feet (S6604/A6949). The bill removes outdated regulations for drilling closed-loop geothermal boreholes deeper than 500 feet and will allow access to geothermal heating and cooling for more New Yorkers.  It implements a recommendation of the Climate Action Council’s Scoping Plan and is an important step toward the state’s goal of two million electrified and electric-ready homes by 2030. There will now be a regulatory process to reset how closed-loop boreholes beyond 500 feet will be regulated in the state. Governor Hochul’s press release

August Updates:

July 2023:

  • NY HEAT passed in the Senate! Check out New York Director Lisa Dix’s statement: https://buildingdecarb.org/building-decarbonization-coalition-responds-to-new-york-state-senate-passage-of-ny-heat-act
    • And this statement celebrating the Senate’s leadership from the Renewable Heat Now Coalition with a quote from BDC
    • BDC & other organizations in New York will continue to build momentum to get NY HEAT over the finish line in next year’s session.
  • On Friday, June 23 The New York State Fire Prevention and Building Code Council Met with and discussed changes that must be incorporated into the new 2024 code, and the timeline for adoption of the building code update. https://dos.ny.gov/event/state-fire-prevention-and-building-code-council-meeting-june-2023.  BDC Testified & filed written testimony at the June 23 meeting, urging the Code Council to ensure the 2024 code update complies with major legislation that has passed such as the Advanced Codes & Standards Act, the All-Electric Buildings Act, and the finalized recommendations in the Scoping Plan from the Climate Action Council.
  • The Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) and the New York State Energy Research and Development Authority held a series of webinars from June 1 to June 22. Recordings are available here: https://capandinvest.ny.gov/Meetings-and-Events. In order to inform the development of the cap and invest pre-proposal, NYSERDA and DEC requested first round feedback by July 1, 2023.
  • In Public Service Commission Docket 22-M-0429, Proceeding to Implement the Utility Thermal Energy Network and Jobs Act. additional filings commented on newly proposed projects are due by July 10.

 

June 2023:

On May 2, New York State passed the budget for Fiscal Year 2024. The budget included:

  • A first of its kind statewide requirement to achieve zero-emissions in new buildings beginning in 2026.
  • $30 million for the New York Power Authority to move forward with ‘decarbonization action plans’ to fully eliminate on-site emissions from 15 facilities and campuses and allocated an additional $30 million for investments in a Thermal Energy Network at SUNY Albany, delivering immediate emissions reductions and union jobs. (see https://www.upgradeny.org/
  • $200 million dollars to help low-income households weatherize and electrify their homes.
  • $200 million for short-term utility bill relief for low-income New Yorkers.
  • Language designating how funds will be allocated in a cap and invest program.

BDC’s statement in response to the budget: https://buildingdecarb.org/bdc-responds-to-new-york-state-budget-for-fiscal-year-2024-2 

Past events;

On May 23, Renewable Heat Now held a rally in Albany asking the legislature to pass the NY HEAT Act before the end of session.  

On May 25, BDC held a webinar, BDC Presents: The Future of Gas in New York State. The conversation between Lisa Dix, BDC’s NY Director and Mike Bloomerg & Michael Walsh from Groundwork Data included a deep dive into the data in the report and a discussion of how New York State leaders can act now to save New Yorkers money and ensure an equitable, managed, and phased transition to clean energy.

Watch here:https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=teOzHQXgG38 

Read about it here: https://buildingdecarb.org/wp-content/uploads/Future-of-Gas-in-NY-webinar-summary.pdf 

On June 1, New York Director Lisa Dix participated on a panel at the New York Electrification Summit.

Save the date:

The New York State Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) and New York State Energy Research and Development authority (NYSERDA) are holding a series of stakeholder information sessions on the development of the State’s economy wide Cap and Invest Program

  • June 1, 1 to 3 p.m. – Cap-and-Invest Overview
  • June 6, 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. – Natural Gas-focused webinar
  • June 8, 1 to 3 p.m. – Liquid Fuels-focused webinar
  • June 13, 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. – Energy Intensive and Trade Exposed Industries-focused webinar
  • June 15, 1 to 3 p.m. – Waste-focused webinar
  • June 20, 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. – Cap-and-Invest Analysis Inputs and Methods
  • June 22, 1 to 3 p.m. – Electricity-focused webinar

On June 22, the Public Service Commission session will be held from 10:30-1pm. A preliminary agenda will be released the Friday before session. A final agenda will be released generally one day before session.

The State Fire Prevention and Building Code Council is holding a meeting on June 23. 

 

April 2023:

Budget

The NYS Budget – due on April 1 – has not yet been finalized.

Resources

On March 16th, the Building Decarbonization Coalition released the Future of Gas Report, which details five urgent recommendations to achieve the ambitious emissions reductions required by the Climate Leadership and Community Protection Act (CLCPA). They include ending gas subsidies, setting clear emissions reduction targets, and giving the PSC the tools to take an active role in utility spending and coordinate at the local and regional level to equitably transition entire communities toward zero-emissions technology.

Lisa Dix, BDC’s New York Director, and John Murphy, the International Representative for the United Association of Plumbers, Pipefitters and Sprinkler Fitters (UA) in New York, co-wrote a piece in the Gotham Gazette about the need to Upgrade NY by investing in thermal energy networks in state-owned campuses and facilities.

Public Service Commission (PSC)

The Public Service Commission has been accepting public comments on utility filings in Case 22-M-0429 – Proceeding to Implement the Utility Thermal Energy Network and Jobs Act. Comments are due on April 2, 2023.

Public Service Commission Session – April 20, 2023. A preliminary agenda of the meeting will be released the Friday before.

NYSERDA

On March 21, Governor Announced $13.5 Million to the third round winners of the Buildings of Excellence Competition to provide financial incentives and recognition for the design, construction, and operation of clean, resilient, low- or zero-carbon emitting buildings.

Save the Date

April 26-27: NY GEO Conference

April 25-26: Air Conditioning Heating and Refrigeration Institute Summit

 

March 2023:

Save the Date

How New York State can use Thermal Energy Networks to Cut Pollution from Buildings and Create Jobs

UpgradeNY hosted a panel discussion yesterday that included topics such as :

  • What thermal energy networks are
  • A vision for State facilities with no on-site emissions by 2040
  • How we can create an equitable pipeline for union careers
  • How the University at Albany is deploying this technology

You can watch the recording here.

April 26-27: NY GEO Conference

April 25-26: Air Conditioning Heating and Refrigeration Institute Summit

Legislature

The NYS Legislature held joint budget hearings from February 6 – March 1, 2023. One house budgets are expected from both the NYS Senate and Assembly in mid-March, so budget advocacy and negotiations are in full swing.

Public Service Commission (PSC)

New York Joint Local Distribution Companies’ (JLDCs) held their Stakeholder Scoping Meeting on Tuesday, February 28, 2023. The meeting’s purpose was to engage with interested stakeholders in a scoping process for the development of a proposal for a GHG Emissions Reduction Pathways Study.

 

February 2023:

Advocacy

The Building Decarbonization Coalition, along with labor unions, climate justice, and environmental partners, launched Upgrade NY. The collaboration is calling for:

  • The State to immediately fund the construction of shovel-ready thermal energy networks to decarbonize state-owned facilities.
  • The State to develop plans to fully decarbonize 15 of their highest emitting facilities through the construction of thermal energy networks or other large-scale electrification projects. These projects must be shovel-ready by 2025 and achieve at least a 30% reduction of on-site emissions from the state-owned buildings portfolio.
  • Reduction of on-site emissions by at least 30% from the state facilities portfolio by 2025; 50% by 2030; 75% by 2035; and 100% of state facilities must be fully decarbonized by 2040.
  • The work to be coupled with labor standards, including prioritized recruitment and support of local workers in disadvantaged communities.

WE ACT’s Out of Gas, In with Justice study found that simply by removing a gas stove from a home and replacing it with an induction stove, daily nitrogen dioxide concentrations dropped by 35% when controlling for temperature and apartment-level factors.

Governor’s Office

On January 10, Governor Kathy Hochul delivered her State of the State address, which included a commitment to all-electric new construction, as well as an economy-wide cap and invest program. Additional climate proposals can be found here.

On February 1, Governor Hochul released her budget, which included a zero-emissions new construction proposal and a cap and invest program.

Climate Action Council (CAC)

The Climate Action Council voted to adopt the Scoping Plan in December 2022.

On January 19, the NY Senate held a joint public hearing to examine the legislative and budgetary actions necessary to implement the Climate Action Council Final Scoping Plan.

New York State Energy Research & Development Authority (NYSERDA)

NY’s Carbon Neutral Buildings Roadmap was Released in December 2022.

Public Service Commission (PSC)

SAVE THE DATE: The Public Service Commission Session, February 16th.