The U.S. death toll from the new coronavirus passed 150,000 Wednesday, in a grim marker of the country's struggle to control the disease.
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Florida has now confirmed more coronavirus cases than New York, the early epicenter of the U.S. outbreak, in another sign that the U.S. as a whole is struggling to control the deadly disease.
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EcoWatch Daily Newsletter
The Huntley coal plant in Tonawanda, New York, was once the area's biggest polluter. But it was also the town's biggest taxpayer.
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During summer in central New York, residents often enjoy a refreshing dip in the region's peaceful lakes.
But sometimes swimming is off-limits because of algae blooms that can make people sick.
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As the nation prepares for Memorial Day weekend, the unofficial start of the summer season, beaches have started to allow access to the public, but have asked people to maintain social distancing guidelines, as CNN reported.
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One-fifth of New York City may have already had the new coronavirus, initial results of antibody testing suggest.
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New York state now has more confirmed coronavirus cases than any single country save the U.S. as a whole.
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Nearly one year after New York became the second state in the nation to pass a ban on grocery store plastic bags — the law is going into effect on Sunday.
In 2012, Superstorm Sandy wreaked havoc on New York City's transportation system. Storm surge pushed a flood of seawater into vehicle tunnels, railyards, ferry terminals, and subway lines.
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By Cullen Howe
When Governor Cuomo signed the Climate Leadership and Community Protection Act (CLCPA) into law in July 2019, it cemented New York State as a national leader in ramping up clean energy and the broader fight against climate change. In addition to reducing statewide greenhouse gas emissions 40 percent by 2030 and 85 percent by 2050, the law requires that the state obtain 70 percent of its electricity from renewable sources by 2030 (and that it be emissions-free by 2040). No state has a more aggressive emissions reduction target.
1. The PSC Should Act on NYSERDA’s Petition to Boost Local Solar<p>Even before the CLCPA's passage, New York was a leader in making <a href="http://www.ecowatch.com/tag/solar">solar</a> more accessible to homeowners and businesses. In 2014, Governor Cuomo established <a href="https://www.nyserda.ny.gov/All-Programs/Programs/NY-Sun" target="_blank">NY-Sun</a>, a New York State Energy Research and Development Authority (NYSERDA)-administered program that seeks to add 3,000 MW of installed solar capacity by 2023. The program works by establishing cash incentives for developers that decline over time as solar installations increase in different parts of the state.</p><p>The results have been impressive: Almost 1,000 MW of NY-Sun supported projects have been installed, with another 1,000 MW in the pipeline. Just this week, <a href="https://www.nyserda.ny.gov/About/Newsroom/2019-Announcements/2019-12-17-NYSERDA-Announces-Milestone-of-Two-Gigawatts-of-Solar-Capacity-Installed-in-New-York" target="_blank">NYSERDA announced</a> New York has surpassed 2,000 MW of installed solar generation (including non-NY Sun projects), enough to power almost 250,000 homes.</p><p>In addition to the 2,000 MW of solar that's been installed, another 1,262 MW of solar is under development, including 351 <a href="https://www.nrdc.org/experts/samantha-wilt/community-solar-comes-new-york" target="_blank">community solar projects</a> (this week, the Public Service Commission (PSC) approved consolidated billing for these projects, which should spur <a href="https://www.nrdc.org/experts/cullen-howe/new-york-state-greenlights-boost-community-solar" target="_blank">their deployment in the state</a>).</p><p>In November, NYSERDA filed a <a href="http://documents.dps.ny.gov/public/MatterManagement/CaseMaster.aspx?MatterCaseNo=14-M-0094" target="_blank">petition</a> with the PSC seeking $573 million in additional funds to extend the NY-Sun program through 2025. If approved, approximately half of the funds would be added to existing cash incentives to support an additional 1,800 MW of solar projects. About a quarter of the money would be used to replenish "community adder" incentives for community solar projects in certain utility territories, providing additional compensation for these projects. </p><p>Importantly, NYSERDA proposes using $135 million of the additional funds to expand NY-Sun programs focused on low-to-moderate income (LMI) customers, as part of a new Framework for Solar Energy Equity. Among other things, the Framework envisions an expansion of its <a href="https://www.nyserda.ny.gov/All-Programs/Programs/NY-Sun/Solar-for-Your-Home/Community-Solar/Solar-for-All" target="_blank">Solar for All</a> program, which provides no-cost community solar to low-income households. It also provides incentives for projects sited on affordable housing, LMI homeowners who install rooftop solar, and projects that pair solar with energy storage. Combining solar and energy storage provides resiliency benefits and can also reduce local air pollutants from fossil fuel peaking units, which are often located in environmental justice communities.</p><p>The PSC hasn't yet acted on NYSERDA's petition, which sets forth a roadmap for meeting the state's 6,000 MW goal by 2025.</p>
2. The PSC Needs to Move Quickly to Decarbonize the Power Sector<p>Achieving 70 percent renewable energy in the power sector by 2030 won't be easy. Currently, New York gets <a href="https://www.eia.gov/state/analysis.php?sid=NY" target="_blank">28 percent of its total electricity</a> from renewable sources, and the vast majority of this (about 80 percent) comes from legacy large hydropower facilities <a href="https://www.nypa.gov/power/generation/generation-overview" target="_blank">owned and operated by the New York Power Authority</a>. Scaling up renewables to hit 70 percent in 10 years will require a massive amount of new clean generation to come online. </p><p>The first step to make this happen is commencing a proceeding to establish how this process will work, which the CLCPA requires by 2021. There is little time to waste. NRDC, along with a number of other environmental organizations and clean energy industry partners, last week <a href="https://www.documentcloud.org/documents/6586462-E93F0201-61A9-4C53-A36D-EAE5C4AE6E04.html" target="_blank">filed a list of eight principles</a> we believe should guide the state through this process. The principles include establishing a full procurement schedule to get to 70 percent renewables by 2030, the creation of new tiers of renewable energy credits for existing renewable energy facilities, and a PSC final implementation order by the end of 2020. This deadline is especially important because it takes approximately four years between the approval of contracts for large-scale renewable projects and their completion and operation (thus, the state will need to approve contracts no later than 2026 for projects to be up and running by 2030).</p>
3. NY Needs to Improve the Siting Process and Ensure Adequate Transmission<p>Reaching the state's 70 by 30 goal will require that renewables projects are sited quickly and that there is enough transmission to transport this power to where it is needed. Unfortunately, the processes for both need fixing. </p><p>The siting process, known as <a href="http://www3.dps.ny.gov/W/PSCWeb.nsf/W/PSCWeb.nsf/All/D12E078BF7A746FF85257A70004EF402?OpenDocument" target="_blank">Article 10</a>, establishes a procedure for approving energy production facilities over 25 MW. However, it has not worked well for renewable energy sources like solar and wind. Major delays within the Article 10 process have resulted in a bottleneck <a href="https://buffalonews.com/2019/04/22/environmental-groups-demand-clean-energy-action-from-nys-we-cant-afford-to-wait/" target="_blank">jeopardizing over 8,000 gigawatt-hours per year of land-based wind and solar projects</a> pending before the state's Board on Electric Generation Siting and the Environment (known as the "Siting Board"), which considers these applications. For example, although the Article 10 process should take approximately 24 months, most of the pending renewable projects have taken much longer and most are still waiting for approval or have been withdrawn. </p><p>There are a number of steps the Department of Public Service (DPS) can take to improve Article 10, including enforcing application deadlines, completing compliance reviews on a fixed timeline, and reducing reliance on paper by expanding the use of digital technologies. To its credit, DPS has increased its staff to process these applications, and last week the Siting Board approved the <a href="http://www.calpine.com/operations/power-operations/our-fleet/new-york/bluestone" target="_blank">Bluestone Wind Farm</a>, a 124 MW project located in upstate New York, in the process overruling a local law that had placed a moratorium on wind turbines. This follows <a href="http://www3.dps.ny.gov/W/PSCWeb.nsf/All/763B187DD5A792DE8525847400667D6B?OpenDocument" target="_blank">approval of three other renewable projects in the last four months</a> after only one had been approved since 2011. While these approvals are encouraging, the pace of the approval process must be dramatically increased to meet our 2030 goal.</p>
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By Dan Nosowitz
With industrial hemp becoming federally legal thanks to the 2018 Farm Bill, research has had to work hard to catch up after decades of prohibition.