Energy policy in New York

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Energy policy in New York
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Quick facts
Energy department: Department of Environmental Conservation[1]
State population: 19.7 million
Per capita income: $52,095
Energy consumption
Total energy consumption: 3,615 trillion BTU[2][3]
Per capita energy consumption: 185 million BTU
Energy spending
Total state energy spending: $65,877
Per capita energy spending: $3,378
Residential natural gas price: $12.44 per thousand cubic foot
Residential electricity price: $18.48 cents per kWh
See also
Energy on the ballot
Statewide fracking on the ballot
Local fracking on the ballot
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Energy Policy Project
Energy policy in the United States
Energy use in the United States
Glossary of energy terms
Energy policy in New York
Fracking in New York

Energy policy in New York depends on geography, natural energy resources, how electricity is generated, how much energy consumers use, politics and the influence of groups such as environmental and industry organizations. Decisions by policymakers, such as state and local governments, utilities and regulatory agencies, affect all citizens economically and environmentally, and are generally geared toward providing reliable, affordable energy. The cost of energy affects not only home heating and electricity bills, and thus disposable income, but also economic growth, including jobs, investment and the cost of doing business in the state.

How energy is produced and consumed also has an impact on the environment and pollution. Energy policy in New York, and many other states, focuses on innovation in order to improve the environment as well as the economic well-being of the state. As the infrastructure for producing and delivering renewable energy sources is not as advanced as it is for energy generation from traditional sources, these policies often require subsidies to make the produced energy affordable, and their effects are difficult to measure.

Energy policy involves tradeoffs between providing an affordable, consistent energy supply on the one hand, and limiting pollution and protecting the environment, on the other. How states attempt to balance these two differs between states, and often boils down to costs to consumers versus costs to the environment. This article provides general energy information about the state as the context within which energy policy is made, as well as information about major legislation and public and private groups that play a role in setting energy policy in the state.

See also: Energy policy in the United States for more information on energy policy.
See also: Fracking in New York

Energy overview

State facts

Below are quick facts about New York's energy climate.

New York

  • was the eighth largest energy consumer in the U.S. in 2010.
  • had the second lowest energy consumption per capita in 2010, largely because of its mass transportation systems.
  • is a net importer of electricity.
  • has an RPS goal of 30 percent of electricity generated by renewables by 2015.
  • generated 24 percent of its total electricity from renewables in 2011.
  • had the fourth highest electricity prices in the U.S. in 2011.
  • has fossil fuels located in the Marcellus shale under the southwestern part of the state which can be used to create natural gas.
  • produces a majority of its renewable energy from hydroelectric power.
  • had the lowest per capita expenditures on energy in the country in 2011.[4]

In New York

  • the largest source of energy production is nuclear power and the second largest source of energy production is renewable energy sources.
  • the largest source of energy consumption is natural gas.
  • one-fourth of New York State residents commute by public transit, five times the national average.
  • more than half the state's energy is supplied from other states and Canada.
  • commercial enterprises are the largest energy-consuming sector in the state.[4]

Available energy resources

During the 19th century New York produced large amounts of petroleum, but now it only produces a small amount and imports the resource from other states and from Canada. The state is estimated to have crude oil reserves of 1.2 million barrels, and some geoscientists believe that New York’s oil potential remains “under-explored.”[5] There are natural gas resources located in the southwestern part of the state.[4]

New York has renewable energy sources in the form of wind, solar, biomass and hydropower. Hydropower is the most abundant source because of the Robert Moses Niagara Plant, which produces more electricity than any other state east of the Rocky Mountains. New York is also one of the top states using landfill gas and municipal solid waste for electricity generation.[4]

Consumption and prices

Energy consumption in New York
NY energy consumption chart.png

     Transportation       Residential     Industrial       Commercial
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About one-third of New York's energy consumption is by the commercial sector, the residential sector is next, and close behind is the transportation sector. The smallest consumer of energy in New York is the industrial sector. About one-fourth of New York residents, and about half of New York City residents, use public transportation, which explains why transportation consumes nearly a third of the total energy used.[7][8]

New York's average gas price follows the general trend of the national average, but it is generally slightly higher.[9] According to the EIA's February 2014 report, the federal excise tax is 18.40 cents/gallon of gasoline and 24.40 cents/gallon of diesel fuel. In addition to that, New York collects a total tax of 26.94 cents on every gallon of gasoline, 25.14 cents on every gallon of diesel, and 26.94 cents per gallon of gasohol fuel, which ranks it as the highest taxes on gasoline and other fuels in the U.S. according to the Tax Foundation.[10][11] In order to decrease ozone formation, New York City and some surrounding areas use a gasoline and ethanol blend during the whole year, and the rest of the state requires a low volatility blend in the summer.[4]

Comparisons tables

The table below compares New York's consumption and spending for energy, as well as prices for gas and electricity, and carbon emissions to those of Pennsylvania which has similar population, resources and consumption needs because of climate and geography. Also given are the U.S. averages and the state rankings. All rankings are from highest to lowest, so, for example:

  • New York's rank of third in population means that more people live in New York than live in Pennsylvania, which has a ranking of sixth.
  • Likewise, per capita income in New York is higher than the national average, and higher than in Pennsylvania, which at 20th ranks 15 places behind Pennsylvania's ranking of fifth in per capita income.
  • A large disparity exists between New York's per capita consumption rank of 50, and Pennsylvania's per capita consumption rank of 32 (meaning that per capita consumption in New York is lower than in Pennsylvania).
  • The prices of natural gas in the two states are very similar to each other as New York's is slightly lower at a national rank of 16 compared to Pennsylvania's rank of 13.
  • The price of electricity in New York is significantly higher than in Pennsylvania. New York has the second highest prices in the nation, and Pennsylvania ranks 17th.
  • New York and Pennsylvania have somewhat similar carbon emission rates. New York ranks tenth in the nation and Pennsylvania ranks third, but the absolute difference between the two states is about 80 million metric tons.
  • Pennsylvania and New York rank similarly for total spending. New York is fourth, and Pennsylvania is fifth, meaning New York's total spending is slightly higher than Pennsylvania.
Consumption and Expenditures Comparisons Summary
Type New YorkPennsylvaniaU.S. Figures
FigureU.S. Rank*FigureU.S. Rank*Totals
Population19.7 million312.8 million6313.9 million
Per Capita Income Average$52,0955$43,61620$42,693
Total Consumption3,615 trillion BTU83,725 trillion BTU797,301 quadrillion BTU
Per Capita Energy Consumption185 million BTU50292 million BTU32312 million BTU
Total Spending on Energy$65,877 million4$55,1645$1,394,088 million
Per Capita Spending on Energy$3,37851$4,32929$4,474
Price of Residential Natural Gas, dollar per thousand cubic feet$16.3513$15.5916$12.48
Price of Electricity, cents per kWh18.89213.141712.31
Total Carbon Dioxide Emissions, million metric tons (2010)172.810256.635,631
*Rank is from highest to lowest.

Over half the homes in New York are heated with natural gas, which is a higher rate than the national average. About 27 percent of homes use fuel oil, which is a great deal higher than the national average for fuel oil use, about 6 percent. New York residents use electricity to heat their homes at a much lower rate, only about 10 percent, compared to a national average of 35.4 percent.[4]

See also: State Energy Rankings to compare all 50 states
Consumption of energy for heating homes in New York
Source New York 2011 U.S. average 2011
Natural gas 55.8% 49.5%
Fuel oil 27.5% 6.5%
Electricity 9.8% 35.4%
Liquid Petroleum Gases (LPG) 3.1% 5%
Other/none 3.6% 3.6%

Production and transmission

Over half of the energy produced by New York is nuclear energy. Renewables make up the next largest portion with about 40 percent coming from what the U.S. Energy Information Administration classifies as 'other,' which is "assumed to equal consumption of all renewable energies except biofuels." New York's Renewable Portfolio Standard (RPS), which requires that 30 percent of total electricity consumed in New York be generated from renewable sources by 2015, probably plays a role in the large amount of renewable energy that the state produces.[4]

Energy production by type in New York, 2011
Type Amount Generated
(trillion BTU)
% of State % of USA
Crude oil 2.1 0.24% 0.02%
Natural gas 31.9 3.65% 0.12%
Nuclear 446.8 51.17% 5.4%
Biofuels 23.2 2.66% 1.21%
Other 369.1 42.27% 5.18%

There are 47 electrical utilities in New York. Most of them are owned and run through local government. There are 19 natural gas utilities, most of which are owned and run through local governments as well. The transmission grid in New York is mainly run through the New York Independent System Operator (NIYSO). NIYSO manages nearly 11,000 miles of transmission cable and maintains over 500 electrical generators throughout the state. The New York Power Authority also provides some transmission services, but not on the same scale as NIYSO.[12][13][14][15]

Where electricity comes from in New York[16]
Type Amount generated (MWh) % of state** % of U.S.**
Petroleum-fired 19,000 0.18% 0.06%
Natural gas-fired 3,558,000 34.32% 0.35%
Coal-fired 201,000 1.94% 0.01%
Nuclear 3,992,000 38.51% 0.51%
Hydroelectric 2,005,000 19.34% 0.63%
Other renewables 513,000 4.95% 0.25%
Total net electricity generation 10,367,000 100% 0.25%
**Note: Because the U.S. Energy Information Administration (EIA) does not include all of a state's energy production in these figures, the EIA totals do not equal 100 percent. Instead, we have generated our own percentages.

Energy policy

Policy Issues
Utilities are not required to buy renewable energies as part of their portfolios, but the renewable portfolio standards (RPS) goals incentivize the purchase of renewable energies and the growing amount of renewables purchased showcase the efficacy of the program.
See also: Fracking in New York

Energy policy is made, executed and influenced by many organizations, both public and private, and is codified in the laws and regulations of the state. Each state’s energy policy involves tradeoffs in which energy production and prices are weighed against environmental concerns and efficiency. New York has been aggressively pursuing renewable sources of energy. New York's RPS legislation mandates that 30 percent of total electricity consumed in the state be generated from renewable sources by 2015. Included in the 30 percent is a requirement that at least 1 percent of the renewable energy consumed be voluntary consumer purchases (consumers specifically purchase the renewable energy).[4] Utilities are not required to buy renewable energies as part of their portfolios, but the RPS goals incentivize the purchase of renewable energies and the growing amount of renewables purchased showcase the efficacy of the program.[17] The RPS goals were originally written quite narrowly, but since their conception in 2004 the number of technologies that were included has grown substantially. Renewable sources that count towards the 30 percent goal include: solar, photovoltaics, landfill gas, wind energy, biomass, hydroelectric energy, anaerobic digestion, ethanol, biodiesel and others.[18] The 2013 report on the economic impacts of the New York RPS program was positive, calling the economic benefits such as more jobs in the renewable energy sector "substantial" and consistent with the 2009 findings of the bid proposal data completed by KEMA, an independent energy policy consulting group.[19][20] The trade-off with the aggressive RPS goal is that higher costs might be borne because low cost energy sources aren't used.[4][21][22][23]

New York state was ranked third by the American Council for an Energy-Efficient Economy (ACEEE). The state maintained its third place ranking, despite dropping one point in the scoring system.[24] There are differing estimates about the economic impact of these mandates in terms of costs that may affect prices and jobs, as well as the impact on the environment and pollution. Thus, for example, there are many new studies of what is called the "rebound effect" which refers to the fact that "some of the theoretically estimated gains in energy efficiency will be eroded as consumers consume additional goods and services."[25][26]

Major legislation

  • 'General Assembly Bill Number A07246 mandates that new commercial and residential buildings meet energy efficiency standards that are set by the American Society of Heating, Refrigerating and Air-Conditioning Engineers's (ASHRAE) Standard 90.1. The 90.1 standard sets requirements for cost effective use of commercial buildings.[27]
  • The Zero Emission Vehicle (ZEV) Deployment Support provides financial and general support for the Zero Emission Vehicle Program Implementation Task Force. New York has agreed to share research and to assist in outreach to encourage other states to join the push for clean transportation.[28]
  • New York provides a Biofuel Production Tax Credit, that is available to biofuel producers that produce at least 40,000 gallons of biofuel per year. The tax credit is 15 cents per gallon of biodiesel and maxes out at two and a half million dollars per taxpayer.[29]
  • New York also incentivizes the use of alternative fuels with the Alternative Fuel Tax Exemption and Rate Reduction exempts E85, compressed natural gas and hydrogen fuel from state sales and use taxes. The legislation also gives counties and cities the option to reduce the taxes on 20 percent biodiesel blends (B20) to a fraction of the normal diesel fuel tax rate.[30]
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State energy policy

State fracking policy

Energy policy terms

Fracking in the U.S.

Energy use in the U.S.

Energy policy in the U.S.

State environmental policy

See also
Local fracking on the ballot

Statewide fracking on the ballot

Government agencies and committees

  • New York's Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) oversees energy and climate issues in the state. The New York State Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) was created on July 1, 1970 to combine all state programs into a single agency designed to protect and enhance the environment. DEC's goal is to achieve this mission through the simultaneous pursuit of environmental quality, public health, economic prosperity and social well-being, including environmental justice and the empowerment of individuals to participate in environmental decisions that affect their lives. The department is managed by the New York Commissioner of Environmental Conservation.[35][36]
  • The New York Public Service Commission works to ensure that New York residents have access to safe and secure electric, gas and other utilities. The department seeks to encourage innovation and market solutions where feasible, and manages the efficient use of resources.[37]
  • The New York State Energy Research and Development Authority (NYSERDA) is a public benefit corporation that focuses on helping New York meet its energy goals. NYSERDA strives to facilitate change through the widespread development and use of innovative technologies.[38]

Major organizations

  • The Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative (RGGI) is a cooperative, market-based regulatory program that works to reduce greenhouse gas emissions. The states involved sell nearly all emission allowances through auctions and invest proceeds in energy efficiency, renewable energy and other consumer benefit programs.[39]
  • The Green City Force helps urban young adults by providing them work and educational experiences that work towards improving the efficiency of energy consumption. The youth participate in service meant to decrease greenhouse gas emissions and improving the environment.[40]
  • The Alliance for Clean Energy (ACE) promotes clean, renewable electricity technologies and energy efficiency. The goals of ACE are to boost economic development, improve public health and reduce air pollution. ACE works as the voice of the community and represents them in debates about public policy.[41]
  • The New York City Environmental Justice Alliance (NYC-EJA) is a non-profit, 501(c)3 network that links grassroots organizations from low-income communities of color as they strive for environmental justice.[42]
  • Environment New York ensures that the value of the environment is considered in policy making. The organization is a statewide citizen-based advocacy group. Environment New York organizes citizens so that politicians hear from the people of New York. The organization concentrates on protecting natural beauty from development.[43]

In the news

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See also

External links


  1. Department of Environmental Conservation, "Energy and Climate," accessed March 17, 2014
  2. These figures come from the U.S. Energy Information Administration State Profiles and Energy Estimates, New York Overview. Statistics for population and per capita income are for the year 2012; consumption and spending estimates are for 2011; and prices are for October 2013
  3. U.S/ Energy Information Administration, "New York Overview," accessed February 5, 2014
  4. 4.0 4.1 4.2 4.3 4.4 4.5 4.6 4.7 4.8 U.S. Energy Information Administration, "New York Profile Analysis," December 18, 2013," accessed February 24, 2014
  5. Department of Environmental Conservation, "Capturing the Benefits from New York’s Natural Oil and Gas Resource Endowment," accessed March 12, 2014
  6. This chart depicts the state's energy consumption as reported by the EIA for 2011. Click the image to enlarge.
  7. "U.S. Energy Information Administration", New York State Energy Profile, updated Dec. 18, 2013," accessed February 24, 2014
  8. "U.S. Energy Information Administration", New York Profile Analysis, updated Dec. 18, 2013," accessed February 24, 2014
  9. To compare current gasoline prices in New York to the U.S averages, go to
  10. U.S. Energy Information Administration, "Petroleum Marketing Monthly," February 2014," accessed February 14, 2014
  11. [The ranking comes from the Tax Foundation website]," accessed February 14, 2014.
  12. New York State Public Service Commission, "Electric Utilities regulated by NYSPSC," accessed February 24, 2014
  13. New York State Public Service Commission, "Natural Gas Utilities regulated by NYSPSC," accessed February 24, 2014
  14. New York Independent System Operator, "About NIYSO," accessed February 24, 2014
  15. New York Power Authority, "Transmission," accessed February 24, 2014
  16. These figures come from the EIA State Profiles and Energy Estimates New York Overview," accessed February 5, 2014
  17. New York State Public Service Commission, "Renewable Portfolio Standard," accessed February 25, 2014
  18. Database of State Incentives of Renewables and Efficiency, "Renewable Energy Portfolio Standard," April 29, 2013," accessed February 25, 2014
  19. New York State Energy Research and Development Authority, "The New York State Renewable Portfolio Standard Performance Report," March 29, 2013," accessed February 25, 2014
  20. Energy Business Review, "KEMA - Energy Consulting, Testing and Certification Services," accessed March 12, 2014
  21. According to a report called "The Status of Renewable Electricity Mandates in the States," by the free-market Institute for Energy Research, the cost of electricity in states with RPS were on average 38 percent higher in 2010 than in states without a RPS.
  22. Institute for Energy Research, "The Status of Renewable Electricity Mandates in the States," accessed March 24, 2014
  23. Manhattan Institute, "The High Cost of Renewable-Energy Mandates," February 2012
  24. American Council for an Energy-Efficient Economy, "New York," accessed February 25, 2014
  25. International Risk Governance Council, "The Rebound Effect: Implications of Consumer Behavior for Robust Energy Policies," accessed March 3, 2014
  26. Scientific American, "How Bad Is the Rebound from Energy Efficiency Efforts?," May 21, 2013, accessed March 3, 2014
  27. Institute for Energy Research, "New York," accessed February 18, 2014
  28. U.S. Department of Energy, "Zero Emission Vehicle (ZEV) Deployment Support," accessed February 25, 2014
  29. U.S. Department of Energy, "Biofuel Production Tax Credit," accessed February 25, 2014
  30. U.S. Department of Energy, "Alternative Fuel Tax Exemption and Rate Reduction," accessed February 25, 2014
  31. New York State Assembly, "Updates from the Committee on Environmental Conservation," accessed March 12, 2014
  32. New York State Assembly, "Updates from the Committee on Energy," accessed March 12, 2014
  33. New York State Senate, "Energy and Telecommunications," accessed March 12, 2014
  34. New York State Senate, "Environmental Conservation," accessed March 12, 2014
  35. Department of Environmental Conservation, "Energy and Climate," accessed March 17, 2014
  36. Department of Environmental Conservation, "About Us," accessed March 17, 2014
  37. New York State Public Service Commission, "Mission Statement," accessed February 25, 2014
  38. New York State Energy Research and Development Authority, "About Us," accessed February 25, 2014
  39. Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative, "New York," accessed February 25, 2014
  40. Green City Force, "About Us," accessed February 25, 2014
  41. Alliance for Clean Energy New York, "About ACE NY Mission Statement," accessed February 25, 2014
  42. New York City Environmental Justice Alliance, "About Us," accessed February 25, 2014
  43. Environment New York, "Home Page," accessed February 25, 2014