New York announced two policy initiatives to address the state's future energy needs and potentially reduce the cost of power in the state.
The first is an energy efficiency program, called the Energy Efficiency Portfolio, that seeks to reduce electricity use 15% by 2015. Managed by the Public Service Commission (PSC), the program is expected to provide more than $4 billion in benefits to customers while creating thousands of energy efficiency jobs.
Beginning in October 2008 the PSC will begin collecting an additional $172 million a year in System Benefits Charges (SBC) on consumer electric bills. The funds will be used to reduce peak demand for electrcity, improve system reliability and reduce the need for new transmission and generation facilities.
If the program works as expected, the PSC expects customer power bills to decline 2.1% to 4.1% in 2011.
The second policy initiative, passed by both houses of the state legislature, is an expansion of the state's net metering law, which allows electricity customers with qualified renewable energy systems to sell excess energy back to their local utilities.
The changes allow for increases in the size of eligible solar photovoltaic systems to 25 kilowatts for residential customers and up to 2 megawatts (MW), or the customer's peak load, for commercial customers.
The changes for wind power allow for non-residential wind power generators to net meter up to the lesser of their peak load or 2 MW. It also increases the maximum size of wind facilities for farm operations from 125 kilowatts to 500 kilowatts.
In addition the size of eligible bio-mass electricity generating systems on farms will be increased from 400 kilowatts to 500 kilowatts.
Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver said, "The expansion of net metering paves the way for greater independence and cost-savings for New York's energy consumers. This legislation will encourage residents, businesses, schools and non-profits to reduce costs by producing power through non-polluting alternative sources such as solar and wind technologies."