New York Launches $5 Billion Clean Energy Fund, Says Nuclear Counts

Fitzpatrick nuclear plant

The state of New York said it will include nuclear power plants in its Clean Energy Standard while establishing a $5 billion Clean Energy Fund.

The CES sets a goal of meeting 50 percent of the state’s electricity needs from renewable energy by 2030. In addition to renewables like solar and wind, the PSC ruled to also include nuclear power plants in upstate New York: Exelon's (NYSE: EXC) Ginna and Nine Mile Point, and Entergy's (NYSE: ETR) FitzPatrick. Entergy announced last year that it was shutting down FitzPatrick by 2017, but the state has been trying to find ways to keep it open to save the local economy. In addition to the standard, the PSC proposed zero emission credits to trade on the market, another financial incentive to try and help the financially-strapped plants.

“We salute PSC Chair Audrey Zibelman and the full commission for their bold action today in support of clean energy, renewed private investment and lower rates for New York customers,” said Joe Dominguez, Exelon’s executive vice president of governmental and regulatory affairs and public policy. “Progressive energy policies will help ensure that Exelon’s upstate nuclear stations can continue delivering zero-carbon electricity and driving local economies for many years to come. We look forward to working with the governor, the PSC and other stakeholders to learn more about this ambitious plan.”

The standard was announced as part of Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s 10-year, $5 billion Clean Energy Fund, which was approved by the New York State Public Service Commission Jan. 21. The Commission allocated $150 million to develop large-scale renewable energy projects in 2016 and create new incentives for these projects.

The fund will operate four major portfolios:

  • The fund earmarks $2.7 billion for market development through the New York State Energy Research and Development Authority (NYSERDA), which will undertake activities to stimulate consumer demand for clean energy alternatives and energy efficiency.
  • The fund finalizes $961 million for NY-Sun to make solar energy more affordable for commercial and residential customers.
  • The NY Green Bank will receive $782 million to increase the bank’s total investment to $1 billion and leverage an estimated $8 billion in private investment in clean energy projects.
  • The Clean Energy Fund will allot $717 million to help spur innovations through research and technology development to drive cleantech business growth and job creation while providing more energy choices to residential and business customers.

“Under the Clean Energy Fund, every dollar of clean energy spending will achieve greater savings and enhance private investment, spurring innovation and new technologies that will bring more choices and value to New York customers,” said Zibelman. “We will build on the success of previous energy-development programs in a way that meets evolving customer and market needs and transition away from approaches that rely almost exclusively on ratepayer subsidies, which is unsustainable if we are to meet our ambitious goals in the long-run."

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