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October 14, 2021

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

This morning, after ten years at the helm, Gil C. Quiniones announced he is departing as CEO of the New York Power Authority to become the CEO of Commonwealth Edison, the largest electric utility in Illinois. His transition perpetuates  the revolving door between the public sector and investor owned utilities in the energy system. 

Today, Governor Hochul must commit that her pick for the next CEO of NYPA will be a true champion of publicly owned, democratically controlled, renewable energy. This is an opportunity for Governor Hochul to nominate not a corporate executive from the for-profit utility sector, but someone who will lead NYPA with an understanding of the critical value of union labor, and who will manage the authority as a genuine partner to New York’s working people. 

New York State has failed to meet the urgency of the climate crisis. Today, our energy is derived from 6% wind and solar sources and 21% hydroelectric, or 27% total from renewables. To be compliant with the CLCPA, we need to grow our solar and wind portfolio to 49% of our total energy system by 2030, yet we are nowhere close, nor are we scaling up renewable production at the necessary pace.

Despite this urgency, New York’s leaders have demonstrated time and again that private developer profits are more important than our future. NYPA, the largest state owned utility in the country, is legally prohibited from owning more than six  utility scale projects. The NY Build Public Renewables Act would not only rectify this, but would create greater coordination and planning to scale up New York’s renewable energy system so our future is not stalled by opposition or poor planning as four of the next six solar projects proposed have been. Moreover, this past legislative session, despite a Democratic supermajority in both houses of the legislature, Albany failed to pass a single piece of significant climate legislation including the Build Public Renewables Act. 

For Governor Hochul, who assumed office in  the midst of a deadly hurricane, every announcement she has made since on climate has followed the same formula of trying to fix a fundamental problem with half measures. Now is the true test of whether Governor Hochul actually wants to lead New York into the Green New Deal future as she says we must. Over the last decade, NYPA, the largest state public utility in the US, has been hamstrung and confined to transmission leadership only. It is time to unleash the power of renewable generation with NYPA at the helm. Governor Hochul knows NYPA’s leadership well; last month she said as much as she announced upgrades at NYPA’s Niagara Falls Hydroelectric facility. 

New York must meet our climate challenge to meet a Green New Deal. As we say in our movement, a Green New Deal starts with Public Power. Now is the time for Governor Hochul to move beyond half measures and hollow words. 


About the Public Power NY Coalition: The Public Power NY Coalition is a statewide movement of community and advocacy organizations fighting for an environmentally sustainable energy system that’s also racially, socially, and economically just. We believe energy and a habitable planet are human rights, and that we need to avert the climate crisis by eliminating the use of fossil fuels and transitioning to 100 percent renewable energy. We aim to accomplish these goals by taking over our for-profit energy system and bringing it under public, not-for-profit, local, and democratic ownership and management.

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

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