When New York’s Climate Leadership and Community Protection Act (the Climate Act) was signed into law in 2019, it established a mandate for the most aggressive greenhouse gas reductions of any major economy. It also called for the formation of a Climate Action Council (CAC) to create a scoping plan outlining specific actions the State must take to comply with the law.
The Draft Scoping Plan was released on December 30, 2021, and its recommendations, if approved and implemented, promise a complete overhaul of the state’s energy economy – with major impacts on transportation, buildings, electricity, industry, agriculture and more – including a near-total ban on the use of natural gas by residents and businesses.
January 1, 2022 marked the beginning of a critical public comment period, during which New York State residents and business owners are urged to learn about the Scoping Plan and provide direct feedback to New York State about the proposed changes.
Tell State Leaders New Yorkers Need Affordable, Reliable Energy
What would change for NYS residents and businesses?
- Near-total ban on natural gas use in homes and businesses: Arguably, the most significant change for state residents and businesses is the proposed elimination of natural gas utility service for heating, cooking, water heating and almost all other longstanding home and business uses. Natural gas appliances and equipment would also be prohibited, according to the proposed Draft Scoping Plan, beginning in 2030. This transition away from natural gas would take place “as quickly as possible and to the maximum extent possible,” according to the Plan. The Plan proposes to replace natural gas with electricity provided by a much more significant amount of renewable sources like wind, solar, and new technologies as yet not developed.While the Scoping Plan notes that “the existing workforce will need a path to transition careers,” and calls for “an equitable transition plan for the gas industry workforce,” the Plan offers no concrete guidance for the many thousands of New Yorkers currently employed in the natural gas industry and related industries.
- An estimated conversion cost of $20,000 – $50,000 per household: According to consultants working with the New York State Energy Research & Development Authority (NYSERDA), the cost to convert a typical home from natural gas to all-electric with necessary efficiency upgrades, as mandated by the Scoping Plan, is between $20,000 and $50,000. This doesn’t include the expected increase in the cost of energy that would come with eliminating natural gas – our most affordable source of energy – or the cost of building a new electric transmission and delivery system capable of meeting the demand requirements of heating and driving with electric-fueled equipment.While the Draft Scoping Plan notes that the elimination of natural gas should “not impose undue cost burdens on customers that currently rely on this fuel for home heating, especially those who can least afford cost increases,” it offers no analysis of anticipated costs, nor any definitive guidance on how, or by whom, these significant costs will be paid.
- Elimination of natural gas efficiency incentives, including National Fuel’s Conservation Incentive Program: With the banning of natural gas appliances and equipment, the Draft Plan also calls for the elimination of appliance rebate programs like National Fuel’s Conservation Incentive Program, despite the fact that they’ve helped achieve significant reduction of greenhouse gas emissions while also saving consumers money. According to the Plan, “incentives and rebates for gas equipment offered by utilities or NYSERDA should be ended immediately.”
- Statewide ban on gasoline-powered vehicles: The Scoping Plan calls for prohibiting the sale of gasoline-powered cars and trucks in New York State by 2035 and imposing a fee on such sales leading up to 2035 to help incentivize the transition. This overhaul of our transportation sector will also include substantial investments to rapidly increase the number of electric vehicle charging stations across the state, while increasing New Yorkers’ use of, and reliance on, public transit. As with the outlawing of natural gas detailed above, the Plan offers little clarity on how, or by whom, the costs associated with outlawing the use of gasoline-powered vehicles will be paid.
Make your voice heard!
New York State residents and business owners have a limited opportunity to voice their opinions about these proposed changes. Public comments are being accepted only until July 1, so now is the time to learn about the Draft Scoping Plan and provide your feedback.
You can do so by submitting a public comment online.