Cuomo outlines ambitious green dreams in third part of State of the State address

Denis Slattery, New York Daily News

ALBANY — In the third installment of his prolonged State of the State address, Gov. Cuomo said Wednesday that New York must embrace renewable energy and green initiatives in order to compete in a post-COVID economy.

The governor focused on battling climate change and job creation as he announced a $26 billion private-public partnership initiative that will involve wind and solar and transmission line projects that could reduce carbon emissions by 16 metric tons per year.

“We will see a global competition among government to develop economics that quickly adjust to the new COVID economy and New York state must win that competition,” Cuomo said as he again spoke from the War Room in the State Capitol. “A new economic engine that is future-oriented, essential for our survival. This nation and the world are beyond the debate whether climate change is real and ‘green is good.’ ”

Cuomo said the state will invest $20 million in an offshore wind institute to train and certify workers in the burgeoning field and two new offshore wind turbine farms are planned off Long Island.

Additionally, a turbine manufacturing site in Albany capable of producing 150 wind towers a year will create 500 construction jobs and 300 full-time highly skilled positions.

Cuomo said the state is also opening up a competitive bidding process for several projects that would lead to hundreds of miles of new or strengthened transmission lines to carry clean electricity from upstate sites to the city.

Environmental groups praised the announcement.

“New York cannot solve the climate crisis without clean energy and clean transportation,” said Julie Tighe, president of the New York League of Conservation Voters. “The jobs that these projects create will be a strong basis for our economic recovery while prioritizing environmental justice communities that are overburdened by the effects of climate change.”

Liz Moran, the environmental policy director for NYPIRG, said the shift to renewable energy and infrastructure must include accountability and ending subsidies and incentives for fossil fuel companies.

“The governor is right that global warming poses an existential threat, and New York must lead in shaping a new green energy economy,” Moran said. “The state desperately needs new revenues – particularly given the costs to combat the impacts of the climate crisis — and the oil, coal and gas companies should be on the hook for paying for a crisis that they created, not everyday New Yorkers.”

Cuomo will continue his weeklong State of the State address on Thursday, when he will focus on infrastructure and construction.