New York’s Clean Energy Standard: Cuomo’s Plan Put into Action

31 Aug 2016


Unlike an RPS, New York’s CES plan includes nuclear power

On August 1, New York regulators unanimously approved a Clean Energy Standard that requires 50% renewable energy use by 2030, affirming and laying groundwork for Governor Cuomo’s mandate. The New York State Public Service Commission estimates it will reduce greenhouse gas emissions by 80% by 2050. In order to achieve the ambitious goal, the standard’s implementation schedule has been made to be an aggressive one, with a 26.31% renewable requirement in 2017 increasing to 30.54% by 2021, and so forth.

A Clean Energy Standard, Not Quite an RPS

While the standard looks similar to a renewable portfolio standard (RPS), the word “clean” in place of “renewable” denotes the inclusion of nuclear power. Nuclear falls into the Tier 3 category and will be subsidized through Zero Emission Certificates (ZECs). The plan comes at a crucial moment for three nuclear facilities in particular which have experienced financial difficulty.

No Solar Carve Out

The standard builds on New York’s existing regime, including the NY-Sun initiative, which has helped installed renewable capacity grow by 300% between 2011 and 2014. However, despite the solar industry’s impressive growth in New York, the Clean Energy Standard does not include a solar carve-out or sub-tier, which have driven development in other top solar states such as New Jersey, Massachusetts, and Maryland. Solar will therefore compete with all other “Main Tier” or Tier 1 resources such as wind, hydro, anaerobic digesters, and fuel cells.

Interested in financing for solar projects in New York? Contact our finance team at to learn more about development opportunities or fill out our project intake form.


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Avery Sellers

Avery Sellers