The Energy Policy Champion Award

I am proud to announce that I have won the Energy Policy Champion Award presented by Energy Storage North America. I was honored on Tuesday in San Diego at ESNA 2017, the Energy Storage North America Conference and Expo, for grid-connected energy and storage in North America.  ESNA 2017 teamed with the Global Energy Storage Alliance and the World of Energy Storage to bring together policy makers, utilities, commercial and industrial customers and storage industry stakeholders for the four-day conference that included site tours and workshops.

The Champion Award recognizes individuals from the utility and policy sectors who have demonstrated leadership in advancing the role of energy storage to achieve a cleaner, more reliable, and secure electric power grid. I am the chairperson of the New York State Assembly Energy Committee,

It is my honor to accept the Policy Champion award. I am truly humbled to be recognized by such a distinguished group of policy, technology and market leaders.

When I first became the Chair of the New York State Assembly Energy Committee in 2013, I had no prior experience with energy policy. I had a lot to learn but luckily I was able to meet with experts, engage with other policymakers and attend some workshops to get up to speed. This conference is an invaluable resource for policymakers and others in the field to connect and to keep up to date on the most recent storage technology and projects. energy-saving-clipart-1

Paulin has been an active leader in increasing the creation, use and storage of sustainable energy in New York State. She sponsored three bills in the recently completed legislative session that passed both houses and are currently awaiting Governor Andrew Cuomo’s signature.

One bill (A.6571/S.5190) directs the Public Service Commission (PSC) to establish an Energy Storage Deployment Program that would provide a regulatory framework by which the Commission could begin the program, including setting a target for installations. The bill would encourage more people to install storage systems while sending a market signal to facilitate a robust storage market in New York.

The second bill (A.288/S.3745) would require utilities to file an electric vehicle charging tariff with the PSC that would allow a customer to purchase electricity solely for the purpose of recharging an electric vehicle. This would enable either a time-of-day or off-peak rate to be offered to customers, thus encouraging customers to charge their vehicles at times that are most beneficial for the grid.

The last bill (A.260/S.4069) would expand the 15-year real property tax exemption for solar, wind, and farm waste technologies to include electric energy storage equipment and systems. This will ensure that energy storage is treated on par with renewable energy technologies.

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My Clean-Energy Vehicle Passed By The Assembly

The Assembly passed one of my bills this week on clean-vehicle charging. Here is the release the Assembly Speaker’s office put out to announce the bill’s passage.

ALBANY — Assembly Speaker Carl E. Heastie and Energy Committee Chair Amy R. Paulin announced the passage of legislation this week that would incentivize the purchase and use of electric vehicles, plug-in hybrid vehicles and hydrogen vehicles by requiring the state’s largest electric utilities to offer a rate structure for vehicle battery charging.

“My hope is that through the provisions of this bill the Public Service Commission and the utilities will work together to design rates that utilize the state’s renewable energy sources, such as wind and solar, in order to encourage the purchase of clean vehicles,” said Heastie. “The increased use of clean vehicles would reduce significantly the state’s carbon footprint, help improve the quality of our environment and prevent or mitigate the impacts of climate change.” LAMPO2_fast_charge

“Clean vehicles have the potential to reduce air pollution and carbon emissions,” said Paulin. “If customers are encouraged to charge these vehicles during the times when renewable energy is most prevalent, we can ensure they are at or near carbon neutral. I am hopeful that the Public Service Commission and utilities will approve rate structures that incentivize the growth of clean vehicles while promoting green energy production statewide.”

Under the bill (A.9574-A, Paulin), the state’s combination gas and electric corporations would be required to file a tariff with the Public Service Commission (PSC) that would allow residential utility customers to purchase electricity for the exclusive purpose of vehicle charging. The legislation would provide the PSC with the flexibility to establish pricing incentives that could factor into the production of renewable energy resources, including solar and wind, which produce electricity at different periods of the day.

Heastie and Paulin believe this legislation, which is part of the Assembly Majority’s long standing commitment to measures that protect the environment, will help New York State’s transition toward the goal of 50 percent renewable energy usage by the year 2030. The greater use of renewable energy will help fight climate change, reduce greenhouse gas emissions and lessen the destructive impacts of extreme weather events, such as Hurricane Irene, Tropical Storm Lee, Superstorm Sandy and record snowfall in Western New York.

To encourage and support the use of zero and low emission vehicles throughout the state, the current 2016-17 SFY Budget authorizes the New York State Energy Research and Development Authority to provide rebates of up to $2,000 to consumers who purchase clean vehicles.

Keeping Tabs On Con-Edison

I am following the case of Con-Ed’s proposed rate hike while wearing two hats – first as a State Assembly member and as the Chair of the State Energy Committee and secondly, as a Westchester resident. In each of these instances, I believe we need to hold Con-Ed accountable for any proposed rate hike and question the company as to why we would be getting a rate hike.

That is why I have filed as an intervener in the case before the Public Service Commission. We raised issues that were not raised by other parties in the briefs that we filed. For instance, Con Edison is closing a steam plant in New York City. If and when it is converted to use by the electric system, it will be the electric rate payers that will foot the bill for dismantling the steam system.

It is New York City consumers that use steam energy (apartment buildings, commercial properties) not Westchester consumers. Westchester consumers, however, would end up having to share in shouldering the burden for this bill which does not seem fair.

The PSC held a public hearing last week regarding the Con Ed rate hike issue and I was one of the speakers at the meeting. I was disappointing that so few residents turned out to voice their opinion. Either way, Con Ed is pressing forward with its case for a rate hike despite the fact that Governor Andrew Cuomo has told the PSC that he didn’t believe the rate hike was warranted.

Con-Ed has requested an eight-percent hike for electricity, a 2.5-percent hike for gas and 2.3-percent hike for steam. The PSC has actually recommended that Con-Ed cut its rate but the utility says it needs the increase to cover the costs that would accompany another storm like Sandy.

The PSC isn’t likely to come to a decision on this matter until December. Between now and then, let’s stay on Con-Ed and make them accountable. If they could point to specific reasons as to why the hike is warranted and how such a hike would benefit us, the consumers, then maybe it would make the situation a whole lot easier to understand and accept.

We already pay some of the highest electricity rates in the country. I intend to keep a close eye this matter both as your representative and as a fellow Westchester resident. I want Con-Ed to understand our concerns and realize that they can’t keep taking without giving something back.