Press Release

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE 

May 31st 2022

Contact: Aaron Eisenberg, (914) 980-9117 Aaron.B.Eisenberg@gmail.com

New York State Senate Rules Committee Passes the Build Public Renewables Act, Setting New York on Track to Pass History-Making Energy Legislation

Today, after years of grassroots organizing, the New York State Senate Rules Committee passed the Build Public Renewables Act (A1466/S6453). The bill guarantees that New York will meet the goal of a 70% renewable energy grid statewide by 2030, as mandated by the Climate Leadership and Community Protection Act (CLCPA), by expanding the ability of the New York Power Authority (NYPA) to build and sell low-cost renewable energy. The Build Public Renewables Act will add billions to the state’s economy as it builds out its renewable future. 

Now it is the responsibility of the full Senate, the Assembly, Speaker Carl Heastie, and Governor Kathy Hochul to pass the Build Public Renewables Act by June 2. There is no reason or excuse to delay. At a time when utility bills are higher than ever, giving one million low- and moderate-income households across the state much needed relief in the form of a 50% utility bill decrease would be enormous, and the latest reports from the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change demonstrate that we cannot waste time and must take bold climate action. 

This morning, bill cosponsors and the Public Power NY coalition gathered in Albany for a rally, calling on the Governor and legislature to get the BPRA passed and build a renewable energy future for all New Yorkers. 

The Senate Rules Committee passage  follows a rigorous round of edits from legislative staff last week to get the bill to its current version. Supporters circulated the following quotes regarding the bill in its newest incarnation:

“Passing the Build Public Renewables Act is the necessary next step in fulfilling the goals of the Climate Leadership and Community Protection Act. If we are serious about reducing emissions and meeting our goals, New York must put the full weight of the State behind owning, operating, and building public renewable energy.” – Assemblymember Robert Carroll

“Private utilities have been driving up prices on the most vulnerable New Yorkers in the midst of a global pandemic. In order to address our unfolding climate crisis, and to bring needed financial relief to New York State residents, we must pass the Build Public Renewables Act.” – Assemblymember Michaelle Solages

“Empowering NYPA to build and sell low-cost renewable energy puts our state on the right path to ensuring all New Yorkers have access to affordable power. We’re proud to support this bill and will continue to be a strong labor voice on this issue.” – Andrew Pallotta, President of New York State United Teachers

“New York needs to get serious about leading on climate – which means passing legislation to speed up deployment of wind and solar, create good union jobs, and help vulnerable New Yorkers who are being exploited by the fossil fuel utility system. The Build Public Renewables Act does all of those things and more, and I’m proud to stand with the Public Power NY Coalition to get the revised bill over the finish line. Let’s show the world how it’s done.” – Jamaal Bowman, U.S. Representative

“The Professional Staff Congress of CUNY, the American Federation of Teachers local representing 30,000 faculty and staff at CUNY, fully supports the Build Public Renewables Act. New York State United Teachers, representing 600,000 education and health workers in NYS, unanimously endorsed the BPRA at our April 2, 2022 Representative Assembly. The BPRA will help NY State reach its climate goals and advance affordable energy costs. We applaud the NY State Legislature for moving this forward.” – James Davis, President, PSC-CUNY, AFT #2334

“New York’s landmark Climate Leadership and Community Protection Act was signed into law nearly three years ago, but we simply do not have enough renewable projects in the pipeline to meet our mandated 70% green energy target by 2030. The Build Public Renewables Act will lay the groundwork to change that by enabling the New York Power Authority (“NYPA”) to build and sell low-cost renewable power. Importantly, the bill’s new amendments promote better transparency, have strong labor protections, and make sure that our state’s disadvantaged communities and low- and fixed-income households have automatic access to the lowest-cost NYPA-generated power.” – Richard Berkley, Executive Director of the Public Utility Law Project (“PULP”)

“For years we have been organizing to win the Build Public Renewables Act. With these bill edits, we are on the precipice, with the largest coalition assembled to take our power back. Now is the time for Albany to prove that they are not climate deniers and pass the BPRA.” – Estefania Galvis, New York City Democratic Socialists of America

“UPROSE stands firmly in support of the Build Public Renewables Act. The state’s groundbreaking climate law, the Climate Leadership and Community Investment Act, mandates action that goes beyond just decarbonization; it mandates a transition to renewable energy that benefits and is accountable to disadvantaged communities. That’s why we support the Build Public Renewables Act, which mandates lower rates for LMI communities and guarantees stronger accountability over NYPA while allowing NYPA to build renewable generation at the scale and timeframe we need. We urge the legislature and Governor to pass the BPRA as soon as possible.” – Elizabeth Yeampierre, Executive Director of UPROSE

“Since Hurricane Sandy destroyed homes, cut power, and flooded communities in 2012, our members, most of whom reside in Northern Manhattan, have been calling for renewable energy to reduce air pollution, increase service reliability, and lower utility bills. Opening the ability for the New York Power Authority to build and sell low-cost renewable energy will not only be a major step forward in meeting the State’s climate goals, but will also significantly reduce air pollution by allowing us to move off of dirty fossil fuels, and will lower utility bill costs for our most vulnerable communities. Thank you to the bill’s sponsors Senator Parker and Assemblymember Carroll for championing this legislation, and we encourage the State legislature to pass the Build Public Renewables Act now.” – Sonal Jessel, Director of Policy at WE ACT for Environmental Justice

“Because our energy system runs on unchecked corporate power, New York State is nowhere near its self-proclaimed status as a climate leader. What glacial progress the state is making consistently leaves workers and disadvantaged communities behind, and still leaves us lightyears away from achieving the climate targets we are legally bound to by the Climate Leadership and Community Protection Act. With the Building Public Renewables Act (BPRA), more of our public dollars will get out of subsidizing corporations and go into the New York Power Authority, a public institution that will be held even more accountable to New Yorkers through this bill, and already has nearly a century of experience providing reliable and affordable energy to businesses and the most vulnerable households while prioritizing workers. With the BPRA, workers and communities alike will no longer be barred from having a say, ensuring no one is left out of the democratic and just energy economy we need if we are to survive climate catastrophe.” – Kartik Amarnath, Policy Specialist, PUSH Buffalo

“GoLES has fought for years for housing justice and environmental justice on New York City’s lower east side. The Build Public Renewables Act (BPRA) will ensure that the state is meeting its legal commitments to address the climate crisis, while also ensuring a pathway into the renewable energy workforce for NYCHA residents. The BPRA will build publicly owned renewable generation projects in a way that is accountable to the Black and brown communities who are most deeply impacted by the climate crisis, and we call on the legislature and the Governor to pass it as soon as possible.” – Damaris Reyes, Executive Director of GoLES

“Public power for Long Island. Public power for New York State. After our successful efforts to put LIPA on a path to becoming fully public, we stand in strong support of this bill to expand the role NYPA plays in meeting the goals of the CLCPA, in directly selling to Long Island customers to offset high electric rates, and in ensuring a just transition for displaced workers.” – Lisa Tyson, Director, Long Island Progressive Coalition

“We need bold, transformative solutions like the Build Public Renewables Act to have a real chance at addressing climate change effectively, rapidly, and equitably. An energy system where the public and energy workers have a real say is how we get there, and the Build Public Renewables Act is a critical step towards building a democratic and just energy economy for our present and future.” – Mohini Sharma, Organizing Director at Metro Justice

“We are living through a climate catastrophe. The rising temperatures and extreme weather events disproportionately harm low income people and communities of color. To combat this crisis, NY must build renewable energy projects as quickly as possible. The free market has failed, so the Build Public Renewables Act will allow our state to take action. BPRA will help NY meet its climate mandates, create tens of thousands of high-paying jobs, and provide cost-savings to customers. Any politician claiming the title of ‘climate champion’ needs to cosponsor BPRA now.” – Daniel Atonna, Political Coordinator at For the Many

“The Build Public Renewables Act will not only enable New York to reach its renewable energy mandates on time, but in the most just and affordable way possible. At a time when over 1 million New Yorkers can’t afford their utility bills, this bill will provide a much-needed 50% supply-side utility bill discount for low-income New Yorkers. It will also jump-start efficiency measures and heat pump installations for our public schools and public housing. Our planet and communities can’t wait. We urge the legislature to pass this common-sense bill this session.” – Amber Ruther, Communications and Research Manager of Alliance for a Green Economy

“The Build Public Renewables Act is a common sense bill. It creates badly needed accountability for the state’s existing climate mandates, and helps ensure that we are building renewable energy projects with real public accountability. We are very grateful to see the BPRA gaining momentum and ask our legislators and the Governor to join us on the right side of history.” – Patrick Robbins, Coordinator of the New York Energy Democracy Alliance

“Our current energy system is harming communities across New York. The Build Public Renewables Act is so popular because New Yorkers know there is a better way. The energy powering New York can be cheaper, cleaner and owned by the people. Our communities and climate can’t wait another year. Our legislators must pass BPRA before heading home for the summer.” – Lee Ziesche, Sane Energy Project

“The United Nations has declared that it’s now or never to prevent climate catastrophe, and the Build Public Renewables Act will help ensure that it’s now. The Build Public Renewables Act is essential to moving New York off fossil fuels and meeting our climate goals. In this all-hands-on-deck moment, we must unleash the capacity of the New York Power Authority to ramp up the production of renewable energy. Food & Water Watch calls on Speaker Heastie and Majority Leader Stewart-Cousins to pass this important bill, and for Governor Hochul to sign it into law.” – Eric Weltman, Senior Organizer, Food & Water Watch

For more information please contact us at: info@publicpowerny.org 

See our Website: https://publicpowerny.org/