“This is the future, my friends,” said New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo (D), referring to clean energy and electric vehicles (EVs) in his State of the State address Jan. 9. During the speech he discussed the importance of solar and clean energy in the state, going as far as cherry picking a member of the Department of Energy’s senior leadership to run the effort in the Empire State. The efforts were praised by clean energy industry groups.
“The economy of tomorrow is the clean tech economy,” said during the speech. “We all know it, it’s a foot race—whatever state, whatever region gets there first wins the prize, and we want it to be New York.”
Cuomo advocated developing a new financing mechanism to support clean energy. “We want to create the New York Greenbank, which is a $1 billion bank to leverage public dollars with private sector matched money to spur the clean economy. We want to extend the New York’s Sun solar jobs program at $150 million annually for 10 years to increase solar panel installations for home and business,” he said. He also called on the state to implement the Charge New York program, creating an infrastructure for charging EVs.
To manage all this Cuomo proposed a cabinet level energy czar to manage it, and named the czar. “It is my pleasure today to introduce you to Mr. Richard Kauffman, former senior advisor to the United States Secretary of Energy, Steven Chu. He's leaving Washington. He's coming to New York. He's going to lead our efforts,” he said.
The speech and the action of creating a czar drew praise from the New York Battery and Energy Storage Technology Consortium (NY-BEST). “Governor Cuomo’s bold initiatives in energy and economic development are making New York State a leader in clean tech and energy storage,” said Dr. William Acker, the organization’s executive director. “NY-BEST is delighted that Governor Cuomo has acknowledged the important role that energy storage technologies can play in modernizing our transportation systems, upgrading our electric grid, strengthening the resilience of our vital infrastructure and growing our economy.”
The speech was also praised by the Solar Energy Industries Association (SEIA). “Today’s announcement shows New York State is making tremendous strides in its commitment to expanding solar deployment and growing its clean energy economy,” said Carrie Cullen Hitt, senior vice president for state affairs at SEIA. “We applaud Governor Cuomo for advancing policies that promote clean energy innovation, create jobs, protect the environment, and help ensure our nation’s energy security and independence,” she said. She added that the Governor’s actions will ensure solar will become a more significant component in New York’s energy portfolio.