Dozens of advocacy organizations this week raised concerns with potential standards for electrifying buildings in New York as part of a sweeping effort to transition New York to more renewable forms of energy usage and consumption, arguing the changes do not go far enough.
The concerns raised by the groups, which include the New York Public Interest Research Group and a range of environmental and progressive organizations, come as a state panel is developing plans for how to make the shift from carbon-based fuels in the state to cleaner forms of energy like wind, solar and hydroelectric.
A major part of the transition — which will change how New Yorkers get to work to how their homes, businesses and schools are powered — will involve the electrification of buildings.
In a memo released this week, the organizations wrote the electrification of buildings should not be delayed and the process to do so could start now. Initial recommendations made this month would "delay and weaken the building electrification" in the state.
New York plans to sharply reduce carbon emissions in the coming decades, part of a broader effort meant to curtail the effects of climate change. Some have viewed the change skeptically, including Republican lawmakers and power grid officials who have pointed to the potential impact of the switch on utility ratepayers.
But on the other end of the debate have been advocates who are worried the state will move too slowly with recommendations and enacting the changes under the specifics of the plan expected to be finalized by the end of the year.
Advocates pointed to an initial plan that could start electrifying new family and low-rise buildings by as early as 2024.
"It is still technically, administratively and economically feasible to enact this bill into law," they wrote in the memo. 'Witnesses, including engineers and energy experts, cited exactly this in an exhaustive hearing held by the New York State Assembly in May of 2022."
Nevertheless, there are signs of changes moving forward that will affect individual New Yorkers under the climate law.
Gov. Kathy Hochul in September announced regulations that are meant to end gas-powered vehicle sales in New York by the next decade as the state also works to greatly expand its infrastructure to charge electric-powered cars.