Legislation that supporters say will, among other things, help middle and low income New York residents do energy-efficiency upgrades, was signed into law by Governor Andrew Cuomo.
In signing the Power NY Act, the governor touted its “on-bill” recovery program. The provision establishes a public-private partnership to provide low-interest loans to homeowners for energy-efficiency measures. The loans are then paid back through a line item on the recipient’s utility bill. Cuomo said this will encourage homeowners and businesses to invest in energy efficiency under the state’s “Green Jobs/Green New York” program and “will help create thousands of green jobs, result in greater energy efficiencies and lower energy bills for homeowners and businesses across the state.”
According to the Center for American Progress, the legislation was badly needed in New York. “With some of the country’s oldest and leakiest houses, the lack of retrofits is taking a major economic and environmental toll on the state,” the think tank wrote recently. “New York’s buildings account for 60 percent of the state’s carbon emissions, much higher than the national average of 40 percent. Efficiency retrofits can make a major impact on the state’s carbon emissions and pollution levels.”
The law also creates a new siting process for electricity-producing facilities and gives communities greater participation in these processes, the governor said. Prospective facility builders, for example, will be required to provide funding for the community that would be affected to hire researchers and lawyers. The siting board must also assess and make public any negative environmental impacts on a community, and if any are found, the facility applicant must reduce or remove the problems.
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