Gov Cuomo unveils ‘largest green energy initiative by any state in U.S. history’

NY State of State 2021

ALBANY, N.Y. (WROC) — Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s 2021 State of the State Address continued Wednesday as day three focused on shifting to green and renewable energy.

“We will see a global competition among government to develop economics that quickly adjust to the new COVID economy and New York state must win that competition,” Gov. Cuomo said. “A new economic engine that is future oriented, essential for our survival. This nation and the world are beyond the debate whether climate change is real and ‘green is good.’ Our planet is in crisis and by every metric it is clear.”

The governor announced a $26 billion private-public partnership initiative, involving wind and solar projects throughout the state. The governor said it will be the largest green energy program by any state in U.S. history.

The governor said once completed, the green energy projects would reduce carbon emissions by 16 metric tons per year, while creating “good-paying” jobs.

“This is our path forward in stimulating the economy post-pandemic, and leading the way on protecting the environment,” Gov. Cuomo said.

The governor’s green energy plan calls for solar and wind facilities in less populated areas of the stat, recognizing that the transmission of green energy will present a challenge.

“The historic and compounding challenge in New York is sending the compounding energy from where it is produced to where it is needed,” Gov. Cuomo said. “Building transmission capacity is not as easy as it sounds. These obstacles may have been too much to take on yesterday, but today is a new day. What was impossible yesterday is a necessity today. New York leaned that fact through COVID.”

The governor said the need for transporting renewable energy will create its on economic accelerant.

“Today we are opening a competitive bidding process to build a green transmission grid,” Gov. Cuomo said. “Selecting the best transmission projects for state financing. We are launching a competition for three projects. All of these projects will break the congestion, open the grid and all of these projects will break ground this year. Our new energy super highway will then be optimized by a state of the art battery facility.”

Upon completion, the governor said the green energy facilities created will produce 12,400 megawatts of power (enough to power six million homes), 50,000 jobs, and $29 billion in private investment. The governor said much of the economic impact will be felt in Upstate New York.

The governor said the state is investing $20 million in a offshore wind institute that will train and certify people starting later this year, adding that equity remains a priority and the state will ensure fair opportunities for women, Black, Latino and more demographic groups.

Sixty-eight of the 100 green energy projects are wind and solar initiatives where construction is already underway. Wednesday’s announcement debuted 24 new projects being announced. The governor also announced two off-shore wind turbine farms off Long Island.

“These projects include the 20-megawatt solar project in Saratoga; a 20-megawatt solar project in Cortland; a 180-megawatt solar project in Livingston; a 78-megawatt wind project in Lewis County; as well as an awesome 816-megawatt wind project 20 miles off the shore of Long Island and an 880 megawatt wind project 30 miles off Montauk Point,” Gov. Cuomo said. “Today, we’re announcing 24 more projects, including a 20-megawatt solar project in Washington County, a 200-megawatt solar project in Orleans, a 250-megwatt solar project in Montgomery, and a 90-megawatt solar project in Franklin County.”

The governor said a wind tower manufacturing site in Albany will create 500 construction jobs, 300 highly-skilled worker jobs, and create 150 turbines per year.

On Tuesday, day two of the address, resurrecting New York’s arts and culture, reopening business sectors with a rapid testing network, and expanding broadband internet were the focus.

The governor said New York will seek to establish a rapid COVID-19 testing network to help businesses reopen with reduced capacity restrictions.

He said the model used for the Buffalo Bills playoff game, which allowed fans in the stadium for the first time this season, was an “inarguable success.” He said the same model can apply to arts and cultural events and concerts.

MORE | Rochester events organizers optimistic about Gov. Cuomo’s ‘New York Arts Revival’ plan

Monday’s State of the State Address laid out New York’s goals for the calendar year, including beating COVID-19, navigating the short-term fiscal crisis, investing in the future, and addressing systemic injustice.

The governor’s 2021 State of the State is scheduled to continue Thursday.

Check back with News 8 WROC as we continue to update this developing story.

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