Clean Energy & Climate Change for New York and Beyond - EmPower Solar

Clean Energy & Climate Change for New York and Beyond

This weekend hosted a number of notable events that advocate for a clean energy future. The historic People’s Climate March brought together over 310,000 participants to support more aggressive climate change policy. The March took place as UN leaders meet in New York City this week to discuss global carbon emissions, fossil fuel consumption, and renewable energy alternatives.

Cities around the United States also celebrated National Drive Electric Week to showcase electric vehicles (EVs) to the public. EmPower Solar brought its Chevy Volts to Long Island’s event in Lindenhurst, which also featured the Nissan Leaf, Toyota Plug-In Prius, BMW i3, Ford Energi models, and the Tesla Model S and Roadster for guests to test drive.

At a more local level here on Long Island, we are seeing a number of initiatives to facilitate a clean energy future. PSEG-LI released its Utility 2.0 report to discuss its plans to adapt to renewable energy integration. The report is available on PSEG’s website, and Citizen’s Campaign for the Environment’s review of the document is available online.

Throughout the report, PSEG-LI acknowledges that the electric utility paradigm is shifting fast. Instead of seeing its role as the traditional utility of yore, it acknowledges that it is becoming a Distribution Resource Platform Provider (DSPP), as mentioned in Section 4: Long-Term Vision. This is a not-so-subtle shift from the current utility business model. The plan lays out new mechanisms for the DRPP to survive by simultaneously providing reliable electricity to all customers while supporting the dramatic growth of renewable, energy efficiency and direct load control.

EmPower Solar and many partners are working to make solar, wind, battery storage and electric vehicles a majority of the Long Island energy mix as soon as possible. We think this is doable, and will result in profound societal benefits, including a far stronger economy and crucial reductions in greenhouse gas emissions.

Figuring out how to reconcile the dramatic growth of distributed energy resources (DER) and maintain the reliability of the highly complicated utility grid – which we will need to be intact for the foreseeable future – is a complicated task.

PSEG-LI’s inaugural Utility 2.0 report does not solve all the problems, but it is a decent first draft and that we can work within the framework it envisions – there are clearly bright, dedicated people at PSEG-LI, and they are ready to roll up their sleeves.

No doubt we are also benefiting from impressive leadership from Governor Cuomo’s office, the New York State Public Service Commission led by Audrey Zibelman, and of course NYSERDA. NYS’s Reforming the Energy Vision (REV) is trailblazing and a great rally cry to figure these issues out.

We certainly have a long way to go, but the constant support and vision of organizations like CCE, the Electric Vehicle Association, and the People’s Climate March is inspiring and makes us aim higher. It will also inspire PSEG-LI and New York State to achieve more.

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