New York’s Clean Energy Standard will cost ratepayers more than $3 billion during its first five years, but its effect on global carbon dioxide emissions will be minimal, according to a report released today by the Empire Center for Public Policy.

“The Clean Energy Standard shapes up as a massive unlegislated tax increase, imposed through utility charges,” said Ken Girardin, Empire Center policy analyst and co-author of Green Overload, the Center’s analysis of the state’s recently-enacted Clean Energy Standard.

Adopted by the state Public Service Commission in August, the Clean Energy Standard will require New York electric utilities, and their customers, to heavily subsidize renewable energy, with the goal of having 50 percent of the state’s electricity come from renewables, such as solar and wind power, by 2030. The standard also subsidizes money-losing nuclear power plants outside Rochester and Syracuse.

Girardin and report co-author Annette Brocks explain:

  • While the governor and the PSC have portrayed the financial impact on ratepayers as minimal, the Clean Energy Standard is likely to add nearly $3.4 billion to New York utility bills in just the next five years.
  • The 50 by 30 mandate will require the expansion of solar- and wind-generated power production on a massive and unprecedented scale—without providing needed improvements to an already strained electric transmission system. The PSC also failed to consider the added conventional generating capacity needed to back up renewables when the sun isn’t shining and the wind isn’t blowing.
  • The overarching goal of the Clean Energy Standard is to fight projected global warming, but the standard will have a barely discernible impact on global greenhouse gas emissions.

The Empire Center, based in Albany, is an independent, non-profit, non-partisan think tank dedicated to promoting policies to make New York a better place to live, work and do business.

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