Energy Politics

The Republican Party wants a state-level study of renewable energy

A scheduled state Assembly and the Senate Republican Conference discussion on sustainable energy policies were canceled when Gov. Andrew Cuomo resigned last week. While the press conference was canceled, Republicans introduced a bill that would need the Public Service Commission and the New York State Energy Research and Development Authority to undertake a full cost-benefit assessment of renewable energy systems and compare those costs to other ways of generating electricity. Senator Dan Stec, R-Glens Falls, is the bill’s sponsor, and Republican senators Peter Oberacker, Sue Serino, George Borrello, and Anthony Palumbo are co-sponsors. In May, companion legislation (A.7524) was introduced in the Assembly, sponsored by Assemblyman Phil Palmesano and co-supported by nearly the entire Republican delegation, notably Assemblymen Joe Giglio and Andrew Goodell.

Democrats in the Assembly and Senate introduced the Climate and Community Investment Act earlier this year. Kenneth Pokalsky, who works at the Business Council of New York State as a vice president, stated the proposed state law would impose a $55 per ton carbon tax on all sources of fossil fuel emissions, including schools, factories, and gasoline consumption, during a public hearing. Historical consumption translated to a 55 percent per gallon rise in gasoline taxes and a probable 26 percent increase in natural gas expenditures.

Republicans expect a supplemental survey of the costs, benefits, and economic and technical feasibility of meeting the state’s Climate Leadership and Community Protection Act, which sets an 85 percent reduction in overall greenhouse gas emissions by 2050 and ensures that at least 35 percent of clean energy and energy efficiency funds go to disadvantaged communities. The Climate and Community Investment Act is an opportunity to establish looking for state financing options to help pay for the transition from fossil fuels to renewables that is required to satisfy the CLCPA. During the 2019 legislative session, the Climate and Community Investment Act are likely to be considered.

“As the Climate Action Council (CAC) continues to work on implementing the Climate Leadership and Community Protection Act (CLCPA), many projections have been made about the substantial economic and fiscal repercussions of comprehensive CLCPA implementation; some projections show it will cost families, farmers, individuals, and businesses billions of dollars per year in increased taxes, utilities, and other costs.

Republicans are particularly interested in learning about the impact of meeting the CLCPA renewable energy objective on electricity wholesale pricing, delivery rates, and total bills paid by energy consumers in this state, including indirect energy expenses.

About the author

Andrzej Kowalski