Climate and Community Protection Act – EmPower Solar Weighs in
Feb 16, 2019
by EmPower Solar
AT THE LONG ISLAND HEARING FOR THE CLIMATE AND COMMUNITY PROTECTION ACT, ON FEBRUARY 15TH 2019, EMPOWER SOLAR CEO, DAVID SCHIEREN, AND DIRECTOR OF STAKEHOLDER RELATIONS, TARA BONO GAVE A SOLAR INDUSTRY PERSPECTIVE TO THE LEGISLATION.
In an effort to promote environmental justice across New York State, New York State Senator Todd Kaminsky has sponsored legislation to tackle the effects of climate change. The Climate and Community Protection Act includes initiation to drastically cutting greenhouse gases, diverting the State’s energy reliance to renewable sources, and creating more green jobs.
In a series of hearings across the state, EmPower Solar joined the stakeholders supporting the legislator’s efforts to fight climate change and gave a solar industry perspective to the legislation. At the Long Island hearing on February 15th 2019, EmPower Solar CEO and NYSEIA Board Member, David G. Schieren, testified to the Climate and Community Protection Act. When asked about the solar industry’s thoughts on the 6MW goal by 2025, Schieren tallied it to be only 3% solar in the energy mix, and not good enough in our fight against climate change. He also focused on allowing market forces to incentivize solar and other renewables using smarter rate design and energy storage programs, pointing to states like California, which have had enormous success with such programs.
EmPower Solar Director of Stakeholder Relations and LISEIA Legislative Liaison, Tara Bono, reported headwinds already working against solar in New York including the new VDER structure implemented last year, which resulted in a 77% drop in commercial applications on Long Island. “There needs to be a single, clear message to those deploying renewable energy that NYS is indeed open for business and truly wants to transition to clean energy,” vocalized Bono, while expressing her concerns that the efforts in getting solar to even 10% of the State energy’s mix, as opposed to its current 1% standing, equated to a 7x faster pace.
“With inaction in Washington, it is critical for us to take the bold steps necessary to protect our planet,” noted New York Senator Todd Kaminsky, Chair of the Environmental Conservation Committee. “These hearings are a critical step in determining how New York can lead the fight against climate change. To ensure the voices of all New Yorkers are heard as we craft this monumental legislation, we have scheduled hearings across our State to ensure that the CCPA best serves the diversity of our State.”
Assemblyman Englebright, co-sponsor of the same-as bill in the Assembly was also present at the hearing and expressed his surprise on learning that there was no more commercial rebate available for commercial projects. He said this act was “the opposite of what they should have done” and these mixed messages are “confusing and disincentivizing solar deployment”.
While these hearings are helping us reach the state’s goal of 100% carbon neutral by 2040, we need to accelerate our fight against climate change and at this point, the effort of every single New Yorker counts.