How New York’s Budget Could Address Decarbonization in Buildings

Buildings are the number one carbon emitters in New York State. These emissions come from burning fossil fuels like oil and gas for heating and cooling.

Convincing New Yorkers to support a ban on natural gas hookups in newly constructed homes and buildings was going to be a daunting task even before Russia invaded Ukraine. With subsequent increases in gas prices and rising utility costs, this can seem even more daunting.

But Lisa Dix, New York director of the Building Decarbonization Coalition, said the state must act now.

“We can’t afford not to act,” Dix said. capital tonight. “We need to act now to make our energy bills more affordable over time.”

She points to the state’s Climate Leadership and Community Protection Act (CLCPA) as the best way to break the cycle of high energy costs and government subsidies. The CLCPA is New York’s 2019 law that sets a goal of reducing greenhouse gas emissions by 40% by 2030.

As Oil and Gas Companies Fund Multimillion-Dollar Facebook Campaigns and elsewhere arguing that fossil fuel companies create jobs and cost less, New York climate activists like Dix counter that renewables can protect consumers from fossil fuel price volatility.

More than 45% of New York’s electricity is generated by fossil fuels, which is why, activists say, utility bills continue to be subject to price fluctuations. This is also true for homeowners who heat their homes with gas or oil.

“We have about 7 million homes and 300,000 commercial and industrial buildings that we need to decarbonize,” Dix said.

Several proposals are on the table.

Governor Kathy Hochul’s budget proposes banning gas hookups in new construction. The governor has set a goal of 2 million fully electric, plug-and-play homes by 2030.

State Senator Brian Kavanagh and Congresswoman Emily Gallagher are sponsoring similar legislation called the “All-Electric Buildings Act” (S6843/A8431A) that would also ban fossil fuels in the construction of new buildings statewide.

A third proposal from a trio of lawmakers, the Senses. Liz Krueger and Rachel May and Assemblyman Pat Fahy called the “Law on Gas Transition and Affordable Energy”, would remove requirements and subsidies that help expand the gas system in New York. It would also require the Public Service Commission to adopt rules and develop a statewide gas service transition plan to ensure fairness, reliability and affordability in the process of decommissioning the gas system in accordance with CLCPA mandates.

The three proposals aim to unburden the State.

“Stop digging the hole and spreading fossil fuels, Dix explained. “And (start) scaling clean heating and cooling solutions.”

Installing a heat pump is oA way to ditch fossil fuels. While technology is improving for heating in very cold climates, there are a few downsides, including the cost.

Dix counters by saying there are plenty of discounts for people to seek them out, although she said she couldn’t provide an average price.

“I can’t say a heat pump would cost that amount of money because it all depends on what kind of incentives you can get right now, which are pretty substantial,” she said. “All New York State utilities have these incentives to make the cost reasonable.”

Here are some state and federal tax credits for geothermal heat pumps.

Here is the funding information.

The Senate and Assembly have both proposed a $5,000 tax rebate per consumer for a geothermal system in their budgets for a home.

“The Climate Action Council (CAC) has done a great assessment of the costs and benefits [of heat pumps] and the benefits outweigh the costs in terms of energy, safety [and] the high volatility of fossil fuels,” Dix said.

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