De Blasio Administration Moves to Power 100 Percent of City Government From Renewable Sources of Energy

July 10, 2015

RFI Aims to Identify New Generation Capacity to Reach Ambitious Goal of 100 Percent Renewable Energy Part of Mayor’s Sweeping Environmental Agenda, Including 80 Percent Reduction in Emissions by 2050

NEW YORK—Today, Mayor Bill de Blasio announced a Request for Information to identify new renewable energy generation capacity, with a goal of powering 100 percent of City government operations from renewable sources of energy.

The City currently spends between $600 million and $650 million a year on electricity. By leveraging that purchasing power, the City could catalyze the development of new sources of renewable power, reduce greenhouse gas emissions, and chart a path to receive 100 percent of electricity from renewable sources of energy. This will further the City’s commitment to reduce greenhouse gas emissions 80 percent by the year 2050.

“This is a call to the marketplace: the biggest energy customer you’ll find is ready to put our money where our mouth is when it comes to renewable power,” said Mayor de Blasio. “Our administration has made an unprecedented commitment to dramatically reducing our environmental footprint, becoming the largest city in the world to commit to 80x50. Now, by leveraging our energy purchasing power, we aim to catalyze new capacity, chart a path to powering 100 percent of City government from renewables, and make clear why New York City remains a global leader in the fight against climate change.”

Under One New York: The Plan for a Strong and Just City(OneNYC) and One City: Built to Last, Mayor de Blasio has committed to dramatic reductions in greenhouse gas emissions, both from City government operations and citywide. The City has pledged to reduce overall greenhouse gas emissions 80 percent by 2050 (80x50), and emissions from City government operations 35 percent by 2025 (35x25).

In order to meet the 80x50 goal, New York City will have to reduce overall citywide emissions by approximately 43 million metric tons per year across power generation, transportation, buildings, and solid waste.

The City’s operations use between four and five TWh of electricity a year. In total, the City government’s annual greenhouse gas emissions total approximately 3.2 million metric tons of CO2e.

The first step to understanding the renewable energy options available is the RFI issued today, seeking responses from all entities involved in and supporting the renewable energy sector – such as developers, generators, transmission entities, financial institutions, energy brokerages, and trade groups – that could provide creative solutions to deliver reliable and cost-effective projects and products to meet this ambitious goal.

The RFI is designed to identify potential new generation capacity, rather than existing sources of renewable energy.

RFI responses are due on September 10, 2015.

“We aim to be the thin edge of the wedge, the beginning of the transformation of the energy market for NYC, so that renewables become a major part of our electric grid over the next generation,” said Nilda Mesa, Director of the Mayor’s Office of Sustainability. “The City, as one of the largest energy purchasers in the country, can use its purchasing power to lead the way.”

“The City is determined to stimulate a market transformation to cleaner energy sources through renewables. This will not only lower greenhouse gas emissions, but also improve air quality, and help ensure a more sustainable and resilient future for all of New York’s neighborhoods,” said Stacey Cumberbatch, Commissioner of the Department of Citywide Administrative Services.

“Mayor de Blasio’s clean energy initiative will allow the City of New York to lead by example.  New York City municipal operations gobble up a lot of energy and making a major shift to clean renewable sources of energy will help combat climate change, improve air quality, reduce illnesses associated with air pollution and create local jobs.  Wind and sunshine and water are indigenous New York natural resources – let’s use them locally, so New York can lead globally,” said Judith A. Enck, Regional Administrator, Environmental Protection Agency.

Council Member Costa Constantinides, Chair of the Council Environmental Protection Committee, said, “Our city faces unprecedented challenges that require bold, innovative solutions.  Identifying and developing new sources of renewable energy will help us reach our goal of reducing carbon emissions by 80% by 2050.  Creative new energy technologies can save us hundreds of millions of dollars per year, helping to make our city more fiscally sound.  I thank Mayor de Blasio for his bold vision that will make the future of our city more sustainable and inclusive.”

“I commend Mayor de Blasio for moving quickly to realize his visionary OneNYC plan. As the threat of climate change grows, New York City must lead the way in taking bold, swift action to reduce our footprint,” said State Senator Brad Hoylman. “Reaching out to the energy sector early to evaluate the City’s renewable energy options brings us one step closer to achieving an 80 percent reduction in carbon emissions by 2050.”

“As we continue the push for an 80 percent reduction in carbon emissions by 2050, we need to explore every opportunity to find creative solutions for reducing our citywide emissions,” said Council Member Donovan Richards. “Renewable energy is available, so it is simply common sense to utilize these developers and groups to help us ensure that we meet this ambitious and necessary goal. I commend Mayor de Blasio for sparking this process and releasing this RFI to collect ideas for reliable and cost-effective projects from the best and the brightest in the renewable energy sector.”

“We can’t afford to wait to begin to fight climate change, and moving towards dramatic reductions in the City’s own procurement of fossil fuel-based energy is the crucial first step,” said Council Member Brad Lander. “Directing the City’s enormous purchasing power towards renewables has the potential to drive the creation of new sources of sustainable energy generation for our region and I applaud Mayor de Blasio for beginning that process by releasing this Request For Information today.”

“Considering the abnormal and dangerous weather events the Northeast has experienced in the past few years, climate change is something that New Yorkers are rightly concerned about. With the ambitious emission reduction goals outlined under OneNYC and One City, we’re showing that we’re up to the challenge. As Chair of the Council’s Housing and Buildings Committee, I am proud to support the bold initiatives proposed by the Mayor de Blasio – which also aligns with the Council’s goals – and will ensure that New York City continues to be a global example in the fight against climate change,” said Council Member Jumaane D. Williams.

“This is an exciting opportunity for the City to leverage the expertise of business and to build new public-private partnerships that will help realize the de Blasio administration’s ambitious emissions reductions and renewable energy goals,” said Kathryn Wylde, President & CEO, Partnership for New York City.

“When it comes to reducing New York City’s carbon pollution, there are two sides of the equation,” said Russell Unger, Executive Director of Urban Green Council. “First, we have to focus on reducing our energy use, and that’s exactly what the City is tackling through One City: Built to Last and the Technical Working Group. Second, we need to green our energy supply. This new RFI sets us on a path toward 100 percent renewable power for electricity, which would make the City the largest green power purchaser in the country. It would be bigger than the top 30 local government purchasers combined.”

“Energy security has been identified by residents as a priority concern as we seek to make our communities more climate resilient. This is an exciting announcement, a next step to achieving the ambitious carbon reduction goals set in the OneNYC plan. New generation capacity from renewable sources is critical to decreasing our reliance on fossil fuels, and increasing our resilience in the face of climate change,” said Peggy Shepard, Executive Director of WE ACT For Environmental Justice.

“We commend Mayor de Blasio for taking this next big step towards the OneNYC vision and making New York City an even greater global leader for climate sustainability. We need solutions for 100 percent renewable energy and the City is leading by example with this Request for Information. Our organization is excited to work with the administration to make it a success,” said Matt Ryan, Executive Director of the Alliance for a Greater New York (ALIGN).

“With Mayor de Blasio’s announcement seeking to purchase 100 percent renewable energy for our municipal operations, New York City is demonstrating once again that it is a leader on tackling climate change through clean energy solutions,” said Donna De Costanzo, Director of Northeast Energy and Sustainable Communities at the Natural Resources Defense Council. “Building upon New York’s groundbreaking and comprehensive policies to reduce energy waste in our buildings and other steps to decrease our carbon footprint to achieve our climate goals, the City’s request has the potential to spur increased deployment of new renewable energy generation and the economic, environmental and public health benefits these projects deliver.”

“Environmental Defense Fund applauds the City for using its purchasing power to accelerate the deployment of renewable energy. Working with different stakeholders to identify unique solutions is the hallmark of effective, inclusive leadership. This effort is yet another great example of New York City’s continued leadership in seeking innovative solutions to help build a more sustainable and equitable city. Success will improve the environment for all New Yorkers and support the goals of New York State’s Reforming the Energy Vision initiative to help create a 21st century energy system,” said Rory Christian, New York Director of Clean Energy at the Environmental Defense Fund.

“Mayor de Blasio’s historic OneNYC puts America’s greatest city on the path to be a global leader in the fight against climate change,” said Lisa Dix, New York Senior Representative for the Sierra Club. “Today’s announcement that the New York City government will work to acquire 100 percent of its energy from renewable sources is another bold step forward essential to cutting climate pollution, protecting the health of New Yorkers’ and ensuring that our city is built to last.” 

“This is a great opportunity for the City to capture innovative ideas for pushing its solar and offshore wind potential forward,” said Michael Northrop, Program Director for Sustainable Development at the Rockefeller Brothers Fund. “I applaud Mayor de Blasio and his administration for New York City’s leadership.”

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