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New NY Budget Leaves Out LL97 Tier 2 REC Alternative, Focuses on Other Sustainable Measures

Albany, NY – New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s FY 2022 Enacted Budget was just finalized – Part R was not included. Part R contained a provision that would allow building owners to buy Tier 2 renewable energy credits (RECs) from wind and solar plants throughout New York until Tier 4 RECs come into existence and become a viable option.

The provision may have been left out due to Gov. Cuomo’s weakened political position following multiple sexual assault allegations. This gave Democratic leaders of the State Legislature the opportunity to forcefully lobby for their priorities, including a personal income tax rate increase on individuals making over $1 million – a move Gov. Cuomo has opposed.

Environmental lobbyists were also strongly opposed to Part R.  They felt that the REC “loophole” would undermine LL97’s original intent: Make buildings more sustainable via physical upgrades like new insulation, windows, and HVAC systems while driving new investments in renewable energy in New York City. Lobbyists argued that Tier 2 alternative compliance would allow building owners to avoid the hard and costly work of making their buildings more efficient, but the real estate industry argues that the current law will penalize certain highly energy efficient buildings which have already received significant investments in environmental upgrades from their owners  They also argue that during the COVID pandemic, improved indoor air quality requirements, including enhanced ventilation and filtration that increase energy use, have added further challenges to compliance.

However, despite the omissions of Part R, the Budget still supports an ambitious Green Energy program that will spur over $29 billion in public and private green economy investments to create 12,400 megawatts of green energy – enough to power 6 million homes. The investments will not only shift the state to a carbon neutral economy, helping to fulfill the goals of New York’s Climate Leadership and Community Protection Act – they will also spur the COVID economic recovery. The investments include: The largest offshore wind program in the nation, plans to make New York a global wind energy manufacturing powerhouse, constructing a green energy transmission superhighway, a public-private partnership to build nearly 100 renewable energy projects and supporting transit agencies’ transition to electric busses. For details on each of the investments, click here.

The Budget also supports a $20 million investment in a new Offshore Wind Training Institute based at SUNY Stony Brook and Farmingdale State College. This will ensure New Yorkers benefit from New York’s accelerated renewable energy development program and its resulting jobs.

Meanwhile, LL97 enforceable penalty provisions are still scheduled to go into effect in 2024.  To help your company prepare, EnergyWatch has organized a Complete Guide to Preparing for NYC’s Most Ambitious Building Emissions Legislation, featuring everything you need to know about compliance, as well as our expert tips and proprietary research.  Download it here.