The clean energy industry supports more than 85,000 jobs at more than 7,500 businesses across New York State. One of the primary forces behind the development of New York’s clean energy economy is the New York State Energy Research and Development Authority (NYSERDA) through programs and initiatives that are lowering household and business energy bills, improving air quality and public health by bringing new renewable energy sources online, and fighting climate change by reducing greenhouse gas pollution.
The days of burning coal to produce electricity are coming to an end in New York. There are only two remaining coal-fired power plants in operation and the Department of Environmental Conservation has recently proposed regulations to impose carbon pollution standards that, in effect, will force those facilities into retirement by 2020. The closure of these power plants will have economic impacts that deserve a transition plans for local governments, school districts, and communities. This bill requires the development and implementation of plans and programs for workers affected by coal plant retirements. However, instead of directing the owners of the power plants to cover the costs of employee health assessments and retraining programs this legislation requires NYSERDA to pay for them by cutting and redirecting funding from climate and clean energy programs.
Environmental Advocates opposes the diversion of funding that is driving the growth of New York’s clean energy economy. When clean energy funds are redirected from their intended purpose, the jobs these funds create are lost.
This bill directs NYSERDA to reprogram funds dedicated to the development of clean energy resources and the economy to subsidize costs associated with the closure of coal-fired power plants.