New Yorkers To Foot The Bill For Andrew Cuomo’s Renewable Energy Agenda

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Jason Hopkins Immigration and politics reporter
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New York ratepayers may soon be subjected to higher electricity fees in order to cover the cost of Democratic Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s renewable energy agenda.

During his time in office, Cuomo has been a big proponent of phasing out the state’s coal fleet in exchange for more renewable energy sources. As part of a sweeping initiative to develop 2,400 megawatts of new offshore wind power in 12 years time, the governor announced in July that his administration is moving forward with a wind farm project to be built off the coast of Long Island or New York City.

The upcoming project, however, will not come without its costs. A spokesman for a local utility company acknowledged the new wind turbines will likely be paid for by ratepayers by way of higher energy bills.

“Under the current rules, we believe that there could be some cost impacts for our customers,” said Central Hudson Gas and Electric spokesman John Maserjian in a statement to Hudson Valley 360. “The initiative is in its early stages, and the costs will depend on which facilities are built and when, so we’re uncertain of the amount. The cost for each customer would likely vary with their energy use.” (RELATED: New York Spent $5 Million On Wind Turbines That Don’t Even Work)

Cuomo is working toward a goal of 50 percent renewable energy by 2030. The first phase of this target is to obtain around 800 megawatts of offshore wind power by 2019.

Not everyone agrees the offshore wind targets will feed New York City’s thirst for electricity.

In a critical response to Cuomo’s announcement, the Empire Center for Public Policy — a think tank based in Albany — issued a report concluding that the wind project would produce a fraction of the amount of energy demanded by New York City and Long Island, and ultimately pass costs to ratepayers far upstate.

“Generating electricity with offshore wind turbines, a priority for Governor Cuomo, isn’t profitable under current market conditions,” wrote the Empire Center. “Any effort to ‘jumpstart’ offshore wind in New York will cost a considerable sum.”

This would not be the first controversial wind project in New York.

The New York State Thruway Authority spent over $5 million on turbines that currently aren’t operable. The windmills, which were completed in 2015, were supposed to save the government money on energy costs in the long run. However, four out of the five turbines sit idle as they await new parts.

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