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New York state on track to be coal-free by 2020

New York state is on track to close its last remaining coal-fired power plants by the end of 2020 after adopting final regulations that require state power plants to meet new, stricter CO2 emissions limits.

The newly adopted requirements will go into effect on June 8. The stringent limits on CO2 emissions will make it virtually impossible for coal plants to continue running within the state after 2020.

Coal is almost dead in New York as it is. It currently makes up less than 1% of energy production in the state, according to a recent report from the New York Independent System Operator.

There are only two remaining coal plants left in the state, and both are owned by Riesling Power. Those plants are managed by Beowulf Energy, which plans to turn the facilities into data centers, Bloomberg reports.

Beowulf Energy’s managing director Michael Enright said in a statement that a proposed transition plan would retire the plants before the emissions deadline “while creating a viable new business and jobs in their place, using renewable energy.”

Also In NY

New York first set the goal in 2016 to close its coal plants by 2020, and it now appears the state will get the job done. The state is enacting a number of measures to reach its goal of reducing greenhouse gas emissions 40 percent statewide by 2030, and it’s made regular environmental and energy announcements since Gov. Andrew Cuomo introduced the state’s own Green New Deal in January.

The state’s Department of Environmental Conservation adopted the new requirements, and it also proposed regulations in February that would reduce emissions from “peaking” power plants, which the state hopes will make a big difference in reaching its goal.

New York City recently passed a bill requiring the city’s largest buildings to cut greenhouse gas emissions 40% by 2030, and 80% by 2050 — believed to be the first bill of its kind in the world.
Additionally, a group of state legislators is looking to spur EV sales in New York with a new bill designed to exempt EVs from a portion of state sales tax and registration fees. On this last point, proposed legislation differs greatly from what’s just been proposed in Illinois.

Electrek’s Take

It’s one thing to set a goal like this, but it’s another to follow it up with meaningful actions that will ensure the desired results. For that, New York deserves kudos.

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Phil Dzikiy is an Editor/Writer with Electrek/9to5Mac. Tips: