A coalition of environmental organizations and labor groups is urging Gov. Kathy Hochul to expand New York's goals for offshore wind construction, pointing to the ambitious efforts to transition the state to cleaner and more renewable forms of energy in order to reduce its carbon usage by the midpoint of the century.
The groups, which include New York League of Conservation Voters and labor organizations like the New York State Building & Construction Trades Council, in a letter to Hochul this week called for targets of 15 gigawatts by 2040 and 20 gigawatts by 2050 of offshore wind generation.
"Increasing this goal advances New York as a national model and as a hub for the offshore wind industry on the east coast," the groups wrote in the letter to the governor. "New York will be in a unique position of supporting the supply chain of offshore wind, creating thousands of good union labor jobs and millions of dollars in economic benefits."
A sweeping law meant to reduce the effects of climate change and carbon input will require New York to invest heavily in wind, solar and hydroelectric energy in the coming years. It will also mean an end to the sale of gas-powered trucks and passenger vehicles as well as gas-powered lawn equipment. Homes and businesses will also see a change in how they are powered.
Overall, New York plans to reach 100% clean energy by 2040 and zero net carbon emissions by 2050 -- goals that will require a flurry of legislation in the coming years to enable the change.
"This effort will lead our state in the direction of a decarbonized grid, while growing the middle class and making New York a more sustainable and healthier place to live," the groups wrote.
But the changes have their skeptics, including Republicans and those who monitor the energy grid who worry about disruptions and the cost being borne by ratepayers as a result of change.
Supporters have pointed to the potential the investments have for the green economy in New York, however. Unions have been on board with the proposals given many of the jobs in the construction of the new energy infrastructure would have project labor agreements.
New York officials in a November report found the state added 7,000 jobs in the clean energy sector in 2021.
"The industry is poised for rapid expansion, built with union labor including construction under project labor agreements and operated and maintained under labor peace agreements," the groups wrote in the letter to Hochul. "New York state is becoming a national leader as we transition to sustainable renewable energy."