The Solutions Project started with a vision for a world powered by 100% clean, renewable energy. Professor Jacobson’s 50 plans for 50 states turned that vision into a realistic path forward for everyone in the United States. The technology exists, today. It makes economic sense. It makes health and environmental sense. But the big question remains – do we have the political and popular will to make it happen?
Last Sunday, the New York State Department of Public Service (PSC), led by Governor Andrew Cuomo’s energy team and commissioner Audrey Zibelman, issued a report proposing a transformative change to the way regulated utilities in the state are structured and the services they provide.
The program, titled ‘Reforming the Energy Vision’ (REV) seeks to modernize the utility business model such that distributed generation, energy efficiency, and demand response would be the primary means of serving New Yorkers’ energy needs.
Let’s get to the heart of this proposal:
- Energy sources would be largely made up of solar and wind power, which means adopting more clean, renewable power that is generated and operated locally (yes, lots of jobs to go with the clean air and water stuff).
- A much safer, more resilient system of “Microgrids” would insure that an outage caused by a natural disaster such as hurricane Sandy would not take the whole system down; it could also lend itself to greater community control.
- The utilities would still make profit. But instead of being in the business of owning and selling energy from huge, centralized and dirty power plants, they would now operate as energy system managers of smaller, more efficient and clean sources.
This plan is bold. Visionary. Financially sound. The science and economics suggest the plan will produce massive economic benefits for New Yorkers. And in a world where political leadership lags years behind critical needs, New York’s public servants are poised to show the rest of the country the way forward. Not with words, but with an implementation plan that will make real, positive change.
To be clear, there is a long way to go. Just as countless organizations across the state have spent years working to bring energy efficiency and clean, renewable energy to their communities, they will work hard to ensure every New Yorker truly benefits from the Governor’s groundbreaking proposal. The plan will go through public workshops, status reports, policy decisions and much debate within the electricity sector.
But today, we can celebrate leadership and increase the momentum in New York – perhaps even sparking other states with similar utility structures to consider their own bold plans. Just as New York’s modernized energy system will be made up of thousands of clean, renewable energy generators, this policy change will require thousands of supporters to show the public is ready for this plan.
So here’s what you can do:
2. Tell Governor Cuomo you support the plan, if you live in NY – you can give him a shout-out on Twitter or send him an email on his NY website. – and if you live in another state, share your excitement about New York’s leadership with your Governor
3. Get excited. Fired up. The awesome future of 100% clean, renewable energy is possible if elected officials like Governor Cuomo are willing to lead. But they are only emboldened by your passion and grit.
New Yorkers, Governor Cuomo, and You. Now that’s 100% leadership.