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New York Signs Up To 50pc Renewables Target

18 Aug 09:00 by Steve Walia

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New York state has confirmed its plans to generate half of its power needs from clean and green renewable power sources by 2030. The ambitious plans will necessitate generous nuclear power subsidies for plants in order to help the state move away from its fossil fuel dependence.

The new pledge was signed up to this week by the state's utility regulators and means that New York is now on a par with Vermont, Hawaii and California in terms of committing up to some of the strongest goals for renewables in the USA. New York is already producing around a quarter of its total energy needs from renewable sources.

Governor Andrew Cuomo originally laid out the ambitious plans for the goal in 2015, saying that climate change was a very real threat that grew daily and that renewables offered a chance to combat greenhouse gases and support moves towards a sustainable economy. He called upon other states to sign up to similarly ambitious targets and fight for America's cleaner future.

New York has already been active in investing heavily in several green energy technologies - particularly solar PV, which is now a high-growth industry in the state offering many employment opportunities.

However, there will be a mixed response to the news that the new so-called 'Clean Energy Standard' will also effectively boost subsidies to the up-state nuclear plants. These currently have low-carbon attributes, particularly compared to fossil fuels, and their use avoids 15 million tonnes of damaging greenhouse gases being emitted every year. The Public Service Commission used Germany as a warning case study in this instance, demonstrating that the rapid closure of their nuclear facilities led to C02 emissions rising as they relied more heavily on coal once again, despite aggressively investing in solar capabilities.