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The New York Build Public Renewables Act Should Have Passed This Session

Why didn’t this bill, which is arguably essential for getting the state on track for meeting its climate goals, pass this year?

  • Credibility:

Despite the ambitious goals set forth in the Climate Leadership and Community Protection Act (CLCPA), no ambitious climate legislation has been passed in New York in two years.

Therefore, passing the New York State Build Public Renewables Act (NYBPRA) is necessary for getting the state back on track. Assembly Bill A1466A requires “the New York power authority to provide only renewable energy and power to customers.”

The NYBPRA would democratize the power grid, giving state residents access to clean, renewable energy, while also putting more power in their hands (both literally and metaphorically). As of now, we cannot lobby Con Edison because they are more swayed by investors than consumers. By contrast, establishing a democratic board means giving residents a voice about the distribution of their electricity, which has become a basic human right.

On June 5, NYBPRA proponents gathered at Van der Donck Park in Yonkers to pressure Senate Majority Leader Andrea Stewart Cousins to introduce the NYBPRA before the session’s end. Representatives of the Democratic Socialists for America, Food & Water Watch, and Sunrise Westchester were all in attendance. US Representative Jamaal Bowman even lended support as a keynote speaker.

Considering the current Democratic majority in the New York State Legislature, the lack of passage for NYBPRA is confounding. And because it takes so long to establish renewable energy infrastructure, the state also just lost time-sensitive Biden administration funding. While some contend that the act will pass next session without public detriment, this is more than just a lost opportunity. It’s lost time.

The River is a nonpartisan news organization, and the opinions of columnists and editorial writers do not necessarily reflect the opinions of the newsroom.