Protesters disrupt UN climate conference
New York awards country's largest offshore wind energy contracts
New York officials said Thursday that the state would award the largest offshore wind energy contracts in the country as the state ups its commitment to renewable energy.
Gov. Andrew Cuomo (D) signed an agreement for two offshore wind projects that, when completed, will provide a record nearly 1,700 megawatts to the city, officials announced.
The New York government estimates that the project will create enough energy to power more than 1 million homes and result in 1,600 new jobs and $3.2 billion in economic activity.
"The environment and climate change are the most critically important policy priorities we face," Cuomo said at an event announcing the contracts. "With this agreement, New York will lead the way in developing the largest source of offshore wind power in the nation."
The agreement Thursday came as Cuomo signed into law the Climate Leadership and Community Protection Act, the country's most ambitious climate target that has been likened to a state-level version of the progressive Green New Deal in Congress.
The law sets a target of 70 percent of the state's electricity to be powered by renewables by 2030 and to be 100 percent carbon-free electricity by 2040. Additionally, it calls for greenhouse gas emissions to be cut 85 percent by 2050.
"Today we are true to the New York legacy - to lead the way forward, to govern with vision and intelligence, to set a new standard, and to match our words with action," Cuomo said.
Former Vice President Al Gore joined him for the signing. They both took jabs at President Trump during their respective speeches.
"Fossil fuels represent major industries in this county, and because change is hard and change causes disruption, and the political abhors disruption. But despite the president's denial of the obvious, the American chorus demanding acknowledgment of the climate crisis is now deafening, and we are overpowering the forces that are vested in the status quo," Cuomo said.
Gore added: "So our transition away from the dirty and polluting ways of the past is absolutely essential to our survival and for reasons well known to all of us here, it's not being lead at the federal level at all. But thank goodness it is being led by New York State and others that have joined with the leadership of Gov. Cuomo."