Taking a Deeper Look Into New York’s REV Initiative

REV-ing it up in New York: A Look Under the Hood of the Reforming the Energy Vision Track I Order

NRDC Switchboard, March 9, 2015

There are big goings-on in the Empire State these days related to how to move to a 21stcentury electric system. And while there is much work ahead, the early results are noteworthy.

On February 27, the New York State Public Service Commission (PSC), which regulates New York’s utilities, issued its Track I order that is the first major step in outlining the Reforming the Energy Vision (REV) initiative. The REV is an effort Governor Cuomo initiated more than a year ago to make New York’s electric system cleaner, more resilient, and more affordable. Considering the scale and scope of the REV when it was first launched, there was certainly the possibility that it could fizzle as the details began to emerge. And while there are some very significant details yet to be hammered out, the PSC’s Track I order represents a significant step forward towards achieving just what the governor planned. It can significantly curb greenhouse gas emissions, make the air our kids breathe cleaner, create new jobs in New York, and help keep energy dollars in the state’s economy. (The other option: sending them elsewhere to buy fossil fuels. In 2012, New Yorkers sent a whopping $39 billion in energy expenditures out of state, theNew York State Energy Research and Development Authority [NYSERDA] estimates.)

Shortly after the order was issued, my colleague Kit Kennedy provided NRDC’s initial, high-level thoughts on the 328-page document. This post digs a bit deeper and also sets the context: New York’s foundational renewable energy and energy efficiency standards, both of which have made New York a clean-energy leader, are set to expire on December 31. That means the stakes here are high, because the decisions made by the PSC in the coming months–including this Track I REV order, a Track II order down the road, and the related forthcoming Clean Energy Fund proposals–will establish whatever comes next.

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