3.12.20 – Op-Ed: “The Industrial Sector is at the Heart of a Green New Deal”

The below excerpts are from an op-ed published by NextCity. The article was authored by Tom Outerbridge, General Manager of Sims Municipal Recycling, and Tinia Pina, Founder and CEO of Re-Nuble. They are, respectively, Executive Board Chair and Advisory Committee member of the NYC Manufacturing and Industrial Innovation Council (MaiiC).

In 2012, Superstorm Sandy demonstrated that climate change is the greatest existential challenge facing New York City and cities like it. 

Ever since, local governments around the country have made sweeping commitments to reduce carbon emissions and build resiliency. Regulation and visionary plans are critical, but realizing these goals will require a robust industrial sector. This is the segment of the economy responsible for making and maintaining everything from food and clothing to infrastructure and electricity.

In New York City, the industrial sectors still employ over 500,000 people — more jobs than digital technology or finance. These are the people and companies that will create and deploy green technologies, integrate them into existing infrastructure and green basic services like transportation and energy supply…

Today, [manufacturing zones] face major challenges. Infrastructure needs repair and updates, from potholes to bulkheads to broadband connectivity. City regulations are often difficult to navigate, as zoning-use codes have not been updated since the 1960s.

Most consequentially, the supply of industrial real estate is shrinking. From 2005 to 2015, more than 16 percent of industrial space in NYC was rezoned to make way for housing, tech workspace, and tourist attractions — building on decades of similar conversion efforts around the country.

This has serious implications for the greening of our cities. For example, Sims Municipal Recycling processes all the metals, plastics, and glass collected by the NYC Department of Sanitation (DSNY) — the largest curbside recycling program in the country. Given the pressures on industrial real estate, it would be nearly impossible to undertake such a development today. Similarly, the current proposal for a major assembly and service hub for off-shore wind power in Brooklyn would not be possible without the protection of industrial maritime zones..

Cities like New York still have thousands of companies that could be important parts of the supply chain for current and future green technology innovations…

To cultivate the full potential of the industrial sector in our climate change goals, we need to keep industrial districts for industrial activity..

Read the full piece here.

— Posted by JVS on 3.18.20, backdated to 3.12.20


2.20.20 – Notes: “Movement for a Green New Deal” forum hosted by Brooklyn elected officials

The below notes were taken by JVS at a forum focused on the “movement for a Green New Deal” hosted by Councilman Brad Lander, Assemblywoman Jo Anne Simon, and Assemblyman Bobby Carroll. The event took place in Kensington, Brooklyn.

Introductory remarks:

Movement for a Green New Deal
– It is a coalition of organizations that are working for state-level climate action around four key demands.
– Organizations include NY Communities for Change, Sunrise Movement NYC, Food and water Watch, NYC DSA, Indivisible Brooklyn, 350 Brooklyn
– We are here because the climate crisis requires a mass-movement to address it at every level of government
– This is a political problem that requires political solutions
– We have a Democratic super-majority in NY State, and we need to be as aggressive as possible, taxing the rich, funding climate justice this year – we’re here to talk about all those things
– We want to thank PS 130, we’re here in this beautiful school in a beautifully diverse neighborhood in the heart of Windsor Terrace and Kensington


Jamie Tyberg, New York Communities for Change
Councilman Brad Lander
Rep. Bobby Carroll
Rep. Jo Anne Simon

– We’re going to hear tonight from folks at the forefront of the movement for a GND on the streets and at policy levels Continue reading “2.20.20 – Notes: “Movement for a Green New Deal” forum hosted by Brooklyn elected officials”

8.15.10 – “UPROSE Floats ‘New Green Deal’ Alternative To Industry City Plan”

As reported by Kings County Politics on 8.15.19:

UPROSE, Brooklyn’s oldest Latino community-based organization, is floating a plan that would turn the Sunset Park waterfront into a ground zero experiment on how the vaunted “Green New Deal” can battle the forces of climate change while creating the economic engine, KCP has learned.

The preliminary plan creates a Green Resilient Industrial District (GRID) that will encompass Sunset Parks waterfront including the Brooklyn Army Terminal, and the South Brooklyn Marine Terminal, and calls for the rejection of Industry City’s rezoning request to build a hotel, large square retail and academic facilities…

While [UPROSE Executive Director Elizabeth] Yeampierre said a final plan is not yet ready for public review, everything done thus far in the plan is very practical and looks for solutions. Green industrial jobs, including offshore wind turbines will bring thousands of jobs, she said, adding once the plan is finalized it will be up to city government to work out the final details such as fining suitable businesses to buy into it.

“It is the EDC (Economic Development Corporation) job not to follow the market but to create it in identifying companies that do wind turbines and bring them in,” she said…

City Council Member Carlos Menchaca (D-Sunset Park, Red Hook) said he saw the public presentation on the GRID proposal a couple of weeks ago, but only received a preliminary draft of the more substantive proposal this week. As such his team is excited about the concept and actively reviewing the research and recommendations.

Read the full story here.

— Posted by JVS on 8.16.19, backdated to 8.15.19

5.30.19 – Opinion: It’s a great time to call for green jobs in Sunset Park

Environmental advocates have spent decades pushing our society to transition to a low-carbon, sustainable future, but the issue got a major boost last year following the release of a shocking United Nations report on the scale of the climate change problem, coupled with NYC Congresswoman Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez’s call for a Green New Deal.

I’m hardly an expert on this topic, but the below assumes two points that seem to align with what I’ve read: Seeing the green transition through will a) require a large expansion of green jobs, including the manufacture of everything from solar panels and wind turbines to building insulation and electrified stoves, buses and home heating systems; and b) supportive government legislation that will make the transition legally mandatory and economically viable.

Manufacturing requires space – and Sunset Park’s industrial waterfront has lots of it. What’s more, the city has already passed a potentially major green jobs bill (Intro 1253), and other legislation could emerge at the state and federal level. In short, now is a great time to push for green jobs on the waterfront. Continue reading “5.30.19 – Opinion: It’s a great time to call for green jobs in Sunset Park”

1.17.19 – Selections from “New York’s Green New Deal”

Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s “2019 Justice Agenda” (available here on Scribd, and available online here) includes a section on state energy policies. Selections taken from the document, along with added links, are below. Quoted text is in italics. Some text is highlighted, for emphasis.

Past action: 

During Governor Cuomo’s first two terms, New York banned fracking of natural gas, committed to phasing out coal power by 2020, and was among the first states to mandate 50 percent renewable power by 2030. Under the Reforming the Energy Vision (REV) agenda, renewable energy is growing rapidly across the state: solar has increased over 1,500 percent, New York has held the largest renewable energy procurements by a state in U.S. history, and offshore wind is poised to transform the state’s electricity supply to be cleaner and more sustainable.

Green New Deal: 

Amidst the Trump Administration’s assault on the environment and in order to continue New York’s progress in the fight against climate change, Governor Cuomo is announcing New York’s Green New Deal, a nation-leading clean energy and jobs agenda that will put the state on a path to carbon neutrality across all sectors of New York’s economy. 

Proposal. Mandate 100 Percent Clean Power by 2040

As part of the Green New Deal, Governor Cuomo is proposing a mandate of 100 percent clean, carbon-free electricity in New York State by 2040, the most aggressive goal in the United States and five years sooner than the target recently adopted by California. The cornerstone of this new goal is an increase of New York’s successful Clean Energy Standard mandate from 50 percent to 70 percent renewable electricity by 2030. This globally unprecedented ramp-up of renewable energy will include:
Continue reading “1.17.19 – Selections from “New York’s Green New Deal””

1.16.19 – “Cuomo Calls For Quadrupling New York’s Offshore Wind Goal”

As reported by North American Windpower:

In his 2019 State of the State address on Tuesday, New York Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo laid out ambitious new renewable energy goals for the state, including quadrupling its offshore wind target and doubling distributed solar deployment.

As part of a Green New Deal, Cuomo proposed a mandate of 100% carbon-free electricity in New York by 2040, which, according to the newly re-elected governor, is the most aggressive goal of its kind in the U.S. For comparison, California has a goal of 100% clean energy by 2045. The foundation of New York’s 100% goal is upping the state’s Clean Energy Standard (CES) from 50% to 70% renewable energy by 2030…

Speaking on the giant offshore wind increase, Cuomo said, “Offshore wind has potential – we know it – [and] the industry is moving that way. We want to locate the industry in this state, and we want to use it as an alternative.”

To further spur the offshore wind industry, the agenda also includes investing $200 million in New York port infrastructure, establishing a New York State Advisory Council on Offshore Wind Economic and Workforce Development, investing in an offshore wind training center, and initiating an effort to facilitate the development of an offshore wind transmission grid.

Read the full story here. 

— Posted by JVS on 1.16.19

1.16.19 – “The Green New Deal in New York will double solar power”

As reported by pv magazine:

In his far-ranging 2019 State of the State (pdf) presentation, Governor Cuomo summarized past positions related to energy, and has added future goals. Specifically, the document is calling for a “globally unprecedented ramp-up of renewable energy”, which would include:

  • An increase of New York’s successful Clean Energy
    Standard from 50% to 70% renewable
    electricity by 2030, and 100% clean energy by 2040
  • Quadrupling New York’s offshore wind target to 9,000 megawatts by 2035, up from 2,400 megawatts by 2030
  • Doubling distributed solar deployment to 6,000 megawatts by 2025, up from 3,000 megawatts by 2023
  • More than doubling new large-scale land-based wind and solar resources through the Clean Energy Standard
  • Maximizing the contributions and potential of New York’s existing renewable resources
  • Deploying 3,000 megawatts of energy storage by 2030

Also announced was that 20 large-scale solar, wind, and energy storage projects across upstate New York have been awarded via competitive bids as part of the Clean Energy Standard program. The awards were based on a solicitation scheduled in spring of 2018, and the state expects several projects to break ground as early as August 2019, with all projects expected to be operational by 2022.

Read the full story here. 

— Posted by JVS on 1.16.19

1.4.19 – “A ‘Green New Deal’ for New York and More: Where the Climate Change Conversation is Headed in 2019”

As reported by the Gotham Gazette:

After an election where the issue saw little mainstream political attention, climate change and what to do about it has come roaring back to the forefront of the New York political scene…

The governor also made news with a pair of announcements recently. First, he announced a new New York State Public Service Commission regulation that mandates utilities find ways to cut 31 trillion British thermal units of site energy (which is the heat and electricity consumed by a building), to move towards the goal of saving 185 TBtus 2025 (an energy efficiency framework that the governor said could create 50,000 jobs by 2025) along with an investment of hundreds of millions of dollars to develop better energy storage capabilities statewide.

Second, Cuomo gave a December speech outlining his 2019 legislative agenda, and called for a Green New Deal for New York, though he gave few details. While Cuomo’s Green New Deal is unlikely to look like a state-level version of the one Ocasio-Cortez is pushing nationally, the dual goals of such a program are reducing greenhouse gas emissions by enhancing renewable energies and creating green jobs.

In his speech Cuomo did lay out two central aspects of his Green New Deal vision, which he is expected to expand upon when he presents his State of the State policy book in January: getting the state’s electricity to 100 percent carbon neutrality by 2040 and eventually eliminating the state’s carbon footprint entirely…

Still, his initial position falls short of what the state’s most vocal climate change activists are calling for. Those activists, who have formed the NY Renews coalition, reacted to Cuomo’s announcement by putting together a slick movie trailer with footage of climate disasters and a press release pointing out that electricity is 20 percent of the state’s total carbon footprint, all in service of continuing to push their gold standard: the Climate and Community Protection Act.

The CCPA, which has passed the state Assembly for three years only to be stalled in the Republican-controlled state Senate that is about to turn to Democratic hands, establishes what advocates have called a “climate justice” framework. In addition to setting legislative targets for the use of renewable energy (50 percent of energy statewide by 2030) and carbon elimination (100 percent fossil fuel free by 2050), the bill also directs any transition project getting state funding to pay a prevailing wage and directs 40 percent of whatever state investment goes towards climate mitigation efforts to go to low-income communities and communities most threatened by climate change. All of which, according to the bill’s prime sponsor in the Senate, state Senator Brad Hoylman, add up to what the Manhattan Democrat says is the best approach to a Green New Deal, “a three-pronged approach: jobs, labor [standards], and protecting vulnerable communities.”

What the ramp up to transition away from fossil fuels will look like is not laid out in detail by the bill, instead the text requires the creation of a New York State Climate Action Council and directs the Department of Environmental Conservation to establish greenhouse gas emissions limits and regulations to achieve those limits. The bill also establishes a Climate Justice Working Group, which would study how to expand renewable energy into disadvantaged communities and would “have a role in determining what that investment would look like,” Hoylman said.

Read the full story here.

— Posted by JVS on 1.4.19