New York State implements plan to decarbonize buildings

Published on September 19, 2022 by Dave Kovaleski

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The New York State Public Service Commission is implementing an initiative designed to advance efforts to decarbonize buildings across the state.

The Utility Thermal Energy Network and Jobs Act seeks to reduce greenhouse gas emissions by allowing for the creation of utility-scale infrastructure projects that connect multiple buildings into a shared thermal network. Utility thermal networks present an opportunity for utilities to
provide thermal energy to customers to meet their heating and cooling needs rather than fossil-based natural gas.

“Ahead of Climate Week, New York is taking a bold step to further support the use of clean-energy technology,” New York Gov. Kathy Hochul said. “Buildings are the largest source of greenhouse gas emissions in New York State — accounting for 32 percent of overall emissions — and the Utility Thermal Energy Network and Jobs Act will help significantly reduce climate change emissions and create greener, healthier places to live and work across the Empire State.”

Along with creating the regulatory framework for the thermal energy network, the New York Public Services Commission (PSC) will work to ensure the development of highly skilled trade persons in this field.
As part of this initiative, the PSC will require the seven largest investor-owned utilities — Consolidated Edison Company of New York, Orange and Rockland Utilities, New York State Electric & Gas, Rochester Gas and Electric, National Grid USA and its subsidiaries, Central Hudson Gas & Electric, and National Fuel Gas Distribution — to submit at least one and up to five proposed thermal network pilot projects for review.

“The Commission has a long-standing history of supporting cost-effective energy efficiency aimed at reducing on-site energy consumption and, more recently, building electrification. At the conclusion of this process, customers will have more choices for their heating needs, and utilities will have exciting new opportunities aligned with New York’s ambitious climate and energy goals,” New York PSC Chair Rory M. Christian said.