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The solar trade association and seven solar developers have endorsed carbon pricing for wholesale electricity in New York, which would boost renewables and help New York meet its carbon goal.
BY RICHARD J. DEWEY, OPINION CONTRIBUTOR — 02/04/20 09:30 AM EST
Across the country, policymakers at all levels of government are exploring initiatives to address climate change. New York State’s Climate Leadership and Community Protection Act remains one of the most ambitious, with its requirement that “the statewide electrical demand system will be zero emissions” by 2040.
So how do we get to a zero-emission system? The New York Independent System Operator (NYISO) is working on a market enhancement that could not only help lead New York to success, but could also serve as a model for the nation to reduce greenhouse gas emissions.
Our proposal is to incorporate the social cost of carbon dioxide emissions into New York’s wholesale electricity markets, commonly referred to as carbon pricing.
POLITICO's Marie J. French:
A new coalition backed primarily by renewable generators and developers hopes to push Gov. Andrew Cuomo's administration to back a price on carbon in the electric market.
Carbon Free New York Launches Campaign Advocating for New York to be First-In-Nation to Implement a Carbon Pricing Plan in Electricity Markets
EE Online | The Grid Transformation Forum: 20 Years Later, NYISO Still Focuses on Innovation and Making a Difference
EET&D – Gauging from recent press releases we’ve seen on NYISO, it looks like you’ve been quite busy.
RD – That’s correct, although it’s probably more accurate to say “even more than usual.” The changes taking place on the grid today are unprecedented in our 20-year history and reflect changes taking place around the nation and the world, as we see the continued impact of climate change and a variety of new energy innovations. When I was hired in 2000, at the end of a six-hour interview, our first CEO, Bill Mueller, called me into his office and said, “Rich, we really want you to join the New York ISO. We have no idea what your title is going to be, and I can’t even tell you what you’re going to work on, but I guarantee that you will have fun.” He hasn’t stopped being right, and especially now – this is the most exciting time to be in the energy industry.
EET&D – Talk about how NYISO got to where you are today.
RD – As I mentioned, we’ve been in existence for nearly 20 years, since we began operation in December of 1999. But our history dates back to the creation of the New York Power Pool in 1965, after a blackout in the Northeast that affected 30 million people. The Power Pool managed the transmission of power across the state from 1965 to 1999, but the utilities still controlled generation. In 1999, following years of discussion and planning by the state government to introduce competition into the energy sector, the utilities divested themselves of generation, and the NYISO was formed to operate the grid and administer those markets independently from any commercial interests.
World Economic Forum | Putting a price on carbon will help New York state achieve a clean energy future
New York State, the 11th-largest economy in the world, recently enacted the US’ most aggressive climate change legislation. By 2040, according to the new law, the state must get all of its electricity from zero-emission sources.
How does a state of 19.8 million citizens, which in 2018 generated more than 40% of its energy from fossil fuels, reach zero emissions in only two decades? A carbon-pricing proposal from the New York Independent System Operator (NYISO) can play a significant role - as new research by the Analysis Group has concluded.
Reading the Nov. 10 editorial "Not so easy getting green," I felt as if it were a bucket of cold water dousing those of us who want to think that passage of the Climate Leadership and Community Protection Act represented progress against climate change. It was sobering to read that not one wind farm has been built in the last nine years with 16 wind projects being held up and awaiting approval.
Despite the bad news, we should avoid adopting a tone of indignation (too often the fallback position nowadays) and offer approaches to this inaction. The editorial refers to the plan to create a $1 billion fund in the next state budget for climate change projects ranging from mass transit to aid to municipalities when fossil fuel plants close. Another proposal mentioned is a carbon tax, which would use market forces to make renewable energy more competitive.
Policy makers and regulators around the country are trying to figure out how to rapidly decarbonize the electricity sector. There are debates about what renewable goals states should have, by when, what should count as clean energy, and how much energy efficiency states should invest in.
These debates overlook the most important tool we can rely on to achieve our clean-energy goals: markets and price signals. Electricity markets have not yet invested enough in resources that could avoid emissions because we have not indicated, through a clear price signal, that we value avoiding emissions.