Skip to main content

As state lawmakers consider how and when to switch new building construction to electric, they face pressure from environmental organizations to make the switch as soon as possible, and a natural gas industry who is trying to put the brakes on The Proposal.

At the same time, the transition debate is also entering the campaign trail, with progressive candidates pushing officials to adopt a more aggressive approach.

The move to require new buildings in New York to be all-electric is part of a larger effort to dramatically reduce carbon emissions and transition the state to more renewable forms of energy in the decades to come. The change will affect the types of cars New Yorkers drive and how their homes are powered and heated.

It will also require a massive shift in the creation and distribution of energy over the next few years.

Lawmakers testified on the issue of electric buildings on Thursday as environmental organizations call for a measure that would begin the transition in 2024. If approved, it would be a big chunk of complying with a law to meet benchmarks intended to reduce the impact of climate change.

“This bill is a first step in a common-sense strategy to decarbonize buildings to address the climate crisis,” said Anne Rabe, director of environmental policy at New York Public Interest Research Group. “We can implement it today: heat pumps are performing well in cold climates, including successful testing in the Arctic. The state has adequate electricity supply to handle the increased demand from new buildings dependent on electric power through 2031 according to the NY Independent Operators System; and a new Buildings Institute report finds that all-electric single-family homes are cheaper than new gas-powered homes.”

But a coalition of gas and labor industry representatives are skeptical of a quick transition, warning it could lead to a sharp rise in utility bills and disrupt the economy in the process. The coalition also sought to counter the claim that switching to clean energy would help create jobs in the energy sector.

“Nearly two-thirds of New Yorkers use natural gas in their homes, but the vast majority have no idea that many elected officials in Albany are looking to take it away from them,” said Michelle Hook, the director. group executive. New Yorkers for Affordable Energy, a trade group. “And according to recent projections, the proposed gasoline ban could send their energy bills skyrocketing.”

In the political realm, Democratic candidate for Lieutenant Governor Ana Maria Archila has called for an even more aggressive effort to counter the effects of carbon emissions and climate change, pointing to the effect of air pollution on low-income people and people of color.

The favorite running mate of New York public attorney Jumaane Williams, Archila is running in a primary scheduled for June 28 against former New York City Council member Diana Reyna and new Lieutenant Governor Antonio Delgado.

“The climate crisis is already devastating our communities with deadly floods and extreme heat, but dealing with this accelerating crisis is also an opportunity to create good jobs and reduce air pollution, which particularly benefits to our most vulnerable communities,” she said. basic “do now” step that needs to be adopted this session. We need leaders with a moral compass and a track record, not those who let corporate interests dictate their positions.