Good morning and welcome to the Monday edition of the New York & New Jersey Energy newsletter. We’ll take a look at the week ahead and look back on what you may have missed last week.

NY RENEWS CAMPAIGN LAUNCH: The broad coalition of environmental, community, labor and other groups that proved pivotal in enacting New York’s climate law is back with a revamped agenda for the 2023 legislative session. Rather than devoting significant energy into a de facto carbon tax that proved politically unpalatable, the coalition will instead be promoting a package of investments and statutory measures to implement the climate law. The coalition plans events across the state on Nov. 16 to unveil the package and begin building momentum.

What’s in the package? The biggest open question on implementing the state’s climate law remains funding for incentives and programs to reduce emissions. NY Renews is pushing a new fund at $10 billion. “This is our solution: It’s more money from the right sources to make sure that we’re facing this crisis with justice and equity and it’s going to invest and build on efforts to meet our state’s climate law mandates,” said Katherine Nadeau, Catskill Mountainkeeper’s Deputy Director during a mass call on the package on Oct. 24. “It’s going to go on budget, it’s up to the Legislature to establish this fund.”

The $10 billion Climate and Community Protection Fund ask is modeled to some degree on the Environmental Protection Fund and aligned with the programs included in NY Renews’ previous flagship measure: the Climate and Community Investment Act. No new agency is envisioned to administer the funding. NY Renews was still finalizing its spending plan as of the mass call. Buckets envisioned for the fund include climate jobs and infrastructure, energy assistance for low and moderate-income families; cash and job training for workers impacted by the transition along with community assistance; and grants for communities to fund and execute grassroots energy planning efforts.

“You can put money into the fund from any source you identify, so this gives us a ton of flexibility and a ton of opportunity to really be smart in dedicating where we want the funding to go to hit those human scale solutions that we need so much,” Nadeau said. NY Renews will support the Invest in Our New York coalition to push for tax increases to fund climate action and other progressive priorities.

Another new piece of legislation NY Renews plans to push is a “Climate Accountability Act.” This measure is intended to push NYSERDA and New York’s premier economic development authority to align with the state’s climate law. It would impose a requirement that Empire State Development direct 35 to 40 percent of funding to disadvantaged communities, which is currently only applicable to clean energy funding. It would explicitly require ESD to consider climate equity in decision making. NYSERDA, which is already implementing the funding requirement in its program, would have to set up a new office of climate and energy equity, work more directly with impacted communities to design programs and expand no-cost grants and loans. Environmental justice communities would also get representation on the NYSERDA board under the measure, said Amanda Sachs with Environmental Advocates NY.

NY Renews will also continue to back the Build Public Renewables Act, which would enable NYPA to play a bigger role in building new renewables. Daniel Atonna with For the Many said the goal was to pass it early in the upcoming session to secure a win for NY Renews. The coalition will also push for the “fossil fuel facilities replacement and redevelopment blueprint act” (S8405) calling for state agencies to develop a plan to close the state’s highest-polluting plants by 2030. Existing power plant owners dropped opposition after provisions were added around reliability and incentives for replacement technologies. NY Renews also plans to back an updated “Gas Transition and Affordable Energy Act” sponsored by Sen. Liz Krueger and Assemblymember Pat Fahy to align the state’s utility laws with the climate act; Krueger and Assemblymember Jeff Dinowitz’ Climate Change Superfund measure and Krueger’s measure to end fossil fuel subsidies. — Marie J. French

BUILDING EMISSIONS IMPLEMENTATION: City Comptroller Brad Lander is joining calls to strictly enforce a local law designed to cut building emissions 40 percent by 2030. The law allows building owners to purchase renewable energy credits to meet the strict mandate. But in recent weeks, environmental groups have called on the Adams administration to limit how many credits can be purchased.

Proponents of a credit cap want to see the law applied in a way that ensures aging buildings are upgraded to be more energy efficient, creating thousands of union jobs in the process. Their concern is that, without a limit, building owners will buy their way out of making needed building improvements. In a new report, Lander said that credits “should be structured with appropriate guardrails that enable building owners to reap their benefits without weakening the implementation of [the law] or undercutting its emissions reductions goals.” Otherwise, two-thirds of all building emissions could be offset by purchasing credits, without making “any on-site sustainability improvements,” he continued.

The report’s release comes hours before the Department of Buildings holds its first public hearing on its proposed rules on how it plans to implement the law, which goes into effect in 2024. The city said it plans to set limits on the credits so they can only be used to offset emissions from electricity. But other key questions, such as how much owners could be fined for noncompliance, will be clarified in future rule proposals. Lander said credits should be “available for use on no more than 30% of a building’s electricity emissions in excess of its limit.” Environmental groups and 26 members of the Council have also called for that limit.

Today’s hearing will also provide an opportunity for real estate leaders to weigh in on the proposed rules, which set different emissions-reduction targets based on the type of building. A zero emissions requirement will apply to all of the buildings in 2050, to reflect the goals of the 2015 Paris Climate Accords. Industry leaders have voiced concern over the stricter standards. “While the proposed rules include several positive features, the rules also mandate even more stringent emissions standards without providing the tools that will help owners reach those targets,” Zachary Steinberg, the Real Estate Board of New York’s senior vice president of policy, said in a statement. “More must be done to help building owners achieve emissions reductions, particularly in this economic climate of inflation, rising interest rates, and uncertainty about the future of the city’s economy.” — Danielle Muoio Dunn

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What we’re watching this week:


— Elected officials, environmental justice groups, and climate advocates rally outside City Hall following the release of the NYC Comptroller’s report on New York’s Local Law 97. The Comptroller’s office’s offers recommendations for equitable implementation of the law, 10 a.m., steps of City Hall, City Hall Park, New York. Many also plan to testify at a Department of Buildings virtual public hearing on the regulations, 11 a.m.


— The New Jersey League of Municipalities begins its three-day annual conference in Atlantic City. The packed agenda can be found here.

— The Citizens Budget Commission hosts a discussion with Rohit T. Aggarwala, NYC Chief Climate Officer and Commissioner of the Department of Environmental Protection, 8:30 a.m., Club 101, 101 Park Avenue, New York.

— Advocates for a moratorium on fossil-powered cryptocurrency mining will gather to press for Hochul to sign the bill, noon, 633 3rd Ave, New York.

— Gov. Phil Murphy and Port Authority officials will join others for a ribbon cutting ceremony at the Newark Liberty International Airport’s new Terminal A, 11 a.m.


— NY Renews launches their “Climate, Jobs and Justice Package” at rallies and events across the state.

— NYSERDA holds its award ceremony for the New York Clean Transportation Prizes, 2 p.m., TWA Hotel at JFK Airport, One Idlewild Drive, JFK Access Road, Queens.

— The Climate Justice Working Group meets at various locations and virtually, 3 p.m. The group still hasn’t finalized the criteria for disadvantaged communities that will drive state investment decisions. Draft maps were released in March.

— The Business Council of New York State holds its annual environment conference in Saratoga Springs, 3 p.m.


— The Business Council of New York State holds the second day of its annual environment conference in Saratoga Springs, including a noon speech by DEC Commissioner Basil Seggos.

— The legislative commission on revamping the Long Island Power Authority, which could propose legislation to change the authority, has its first meeting, 1 p.m., Farmingdale State College, Quintyne Hall, 2350 Broadhollow Road, Farmingdale. Four public hearings have also been announced through the end of the year.

— The Public Service Commission meets, 10:30 a.m. The only item on the draft discussion agenda is a siting approval for Sunrise Wind’s transmission cable

— The Port Authority of New York and New Jersey meet.


— The Department of Public Service staff holds a virtual technical conference, 1 p.m. on how bulk electric transmission planning will be considered in connection with local planning under the proposed Coordinated Grid Planning Process.

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— New York state has petitioned a local court to require Norlite to immediately stop harmful emissions and suspend some operations.

— Warnings and pleas preceded a fire caused by an e-bike.

— Buffalo’s mayor wants to spend $1 million on EV charging stations in the city.

— Remediation efforts are expected to begin within the year at Gabreski Airport in Westhampton Beach.

— Fewer New Jersey homeowners own flood insurance today than they did a decade ago.

LANDFALL — POLITICO’s Ry Rivard: The developer of New Jersey’s first offshore wind farm on Thursday urged the state Board of Public Utilities to let it seize more land in Cape May County so it can build a transmission line to bring energy ashore.

The request, by Ocean Wind, a joint venture of Ørsted and PSEG, comes after the developer received permission in September to seize land in Ocean City to build part of the underground cable, despite local objections. To do the whole line, the developer needs access to land in other parts of Cape May County before it can begin construction.

MURPHY BACKS BEAR HUNT — POLITICO’s Ry Rivard: Gov. Phil Murphy is looking to bring back the controversial December bear hunt in New Jersey, citing an increase in encounters between bears and humans.

State figures show there are nearly 3,000 black bears in the state and that there have been 62 “aggressive encounters” with humans, along with attacks on one person and 12 dogs and dozens of instances of property damage. The governor said in a statement that the decision, which would be formalized in an emergency rule to be voted on next week, was a difficult one.

BOND ACT BOOSTS CLIMATE ACTION — POLITICO’s Marie J. French: New York is expected to have more than $4 billion to spend on environmental and climate change projects in the coming years after voters on Tuesday appeared to endorse the investment. Voters approved the Clean Water, Clean Air, and Green Jobs Environmental Bond Act, which has been years in the making, by a significant margin — 61 percent to 27 percent, or about 2.3 million to 1 million votes, with about 63 percent of the vote tallied, according to the state Board of Elections.

Former PSEG CEO and current board chairperson Ralph Izzo said the Board of Public Utilities’ recent offshore transmission decision was “a little bit of a last-minute surprise for us,” though he also said it was “rational.” Izzo is also heading back to COP.

NY EYES LOW CARBON FUEL STANDARD FOR TRANSPORTATION: The Climate Action Council is poised to decide whether the state should enact a limited clean fuel standard that would incentivize electrification and low-carbon fuels for transportation. A new section in the latest draft of the climate plan’s transportation chapter, obtained by POLITICO, states that DEC and NYSERDA “should evaluate and consider adopting” a variation on a clean fuel standard. “In New York, a clean fuel standard would support transportation electrification as petroleum fuel providers finance the use of electricity for transportation use,” the draft states. “The program should be designed to ensure long-term electrification by instituting a long-term trajectory for carbon intensity reductions out through 2050, which would send clear price signals that indicate when combustion fuels would cease generating credits.”

CLIMATE MEETING BUST: During a somewhat desultory meeting, the Climate Action Council took no action and members largely avoided debating the outstanding issues of substance even as the clock ticks down to the end-of-year deadline for a final plan. The meeting ended an hour early, after some limited discussion on four high-profile topics including advanced nuclear, alternative fuels, waste combustion and the proposed “clean transportation standard,” which POLITICO reported on yesterday.

“Today was a bit less animated than we’d expected given what we put on the table,” DEC Commissioner Basil Seggos said “We have to get into extreme detail on some topics. That didn’t happen this time around, it may well happen next time around.” NYSERDA’s Carl Mas presented on additional analysis of what role advanced nuclear could play in New York’s energy mix based on different cost scenarios. If they follow a low-cost path, 4 gigawatts of advanced nuclear plants could be added by 2050, the analysis found. That would lower costs of achieving the state’s climate mandates by about 8 percent.

ENERGY MOVES: Peter Iwanowicz, who has headed up Environmental Advocates NY since 2013, will depart at the end of the year. The organization plans to announce and interim director soon and will conduct a national search for a new leader.

CAPITAL CITY WATER WOES — POLITICO’s Ry Rivard: If there is going to be another capital city without safe water anytime soon, it may be New Jersey’s. On the heels of a water crisis in Jackson, Miss., officials in New Jersey have moved to tighten state oversight of Trenton’s water system, citing the “imminent and substantial endangerment” to more than 200,000 customers in and around the capital city.

While Trenton’s water is considered safe to drink at the moment, the state Department of Environmental Protection says maintenance and operation failures threaten the city and four suburbs by creating conditions that invite bacteria, lead contamination and worms into the drinking water supply. Some of the issues are longstanding, but dysfunction in City Hall prompted the state to step in. The future of Trenton Water Works could now be decided, in large part, by the outcome of Tuesday’s city election.

The water system’s problems follow years of neglect, the city’s current leaders agree. What the state, the current mayor and members of the City Council don’t agree on is how many years and who did the neglecting.

ACE NY DISPATCH: In the first in-person fall conference for the Alliance for Clean Energy New York since the start of the pandemic, clean energy executives and their allies heard from NYSERDA president and CEO Doreen Harris on the state’s push to achieve its ambitious climate mandates. “We’re at this moment of inflection,” Harris said, highlighting previous work but acknowledging more ahead. “There are specific implementation items that we’ll be advancing across our state in the coming years.”

Anne Reynolds, the director of ACE NY, specifically called out the need for projects that have already gotten contracts with NYSERDA to move forward. “The climate goals must become construction goals,” Reynolds said. Harris noted that promising projects to support the state’s clean energy goals are facing headwinds from the supply chain and global energy crisis. “We need to move projects forward and we need to move grid investments forward simultaneously,” she said. — Marie J. French