Accelerating the transformation to fully electric buildings in New York

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By Samantha Wilt, Senior Policy Analyst, Climate and Clean Energy Program

The ambitious goal of the Climate Leadership and Community Protection Act (CLCPA) to reduce greenhouse gas emissions by 85% by 2050 will require transformation of the energy, transportation and construction sectors. As outlined in the New York State Energy Research and Development Authority (NYSERDA) Carbon Neutral Building Roadmap Project, most of New York’s 6.2 million buildings will need to be carbon neutral, which will require that water and space heating in these buildings (as well as cooking and drying clothes), be provided by high-efficiency electrical appliances over the next 30 years. To get us on the right track, a recent analysis from Synapse Energy Economics shows that New York should commit to achieving an electrification target of 2.1 to 2.5 million homes by 2030. The state must also focus on a just transition to efficient and straightforward electrified buildings. significant resources to provide improved housing in disadvantaged communities.

Indeed, New York has already launched several promising pilot initiatives aimed at accelerating the deployment of electrification technologies, especially for affordable housing which will need additional resources to undertake these capital-intensive projects. Through its Low Carbon Pathways for Multifamily Buildings program, NYSERDA is making $ 7.8 million available to owners or managers of multi-family buildings to implement low-carbon solutions as part of planned upgrades. This new incentive complements existing capital planning support and free resources, which together provide a step-by-step path to decarbonize buildings. NYSERDA is also partnering with New York State Homes and Community Renewal on their new $ 7.5 million clean energy initiative for a pilot initiative to create up to 600 fully electric and energy efficient affordable homes. In addition, NYSERDA is also partnering with New York City’s Housing Preservation Department (HPD) on a $ 24 million pilot project to decarbonize affordable housing, which is expected to support upgrades to approximately 1,200 affordable housing units and benefit 3,000 low to moderate incomes. residents.

Despite ambitious mid-century goals and innovative programming, New York’s current short-term plans for heat pump deployment are failing. The Civil Service Commission (PSC) January 2020 Decree authorizing the energy efficiency portfolios of public services and the electrification of buildings until 2025 sets a minimum target of 3.6 TBtu of net energy savings on site from heat pumps through 2025, with a budget of $ 454 million for utility incentives and market development (in read more about ordering here and here). Utilities have started implementing these programs, coordinating efforts to ensure all New York State customers have access to comparable program offerings and heat pump incentives.

However, the 2020-2025 target will put the state in a difficult position to meet its ultimate targets by 2050. A low short-term target requires a very rapid acceleration in heat pump adoption after 2025 and may require over 1.5 million households to replace existing and still functional fossil fuel systems in the 2040s (fossil systems that will be installed over the next decade and may need to be scrapped before their end of life useful life to reach the 2050 target).

Based on the results of the Synapse analysis, New York should adopt a 2030 target of 2.1 to 2.5 million homes for heat pump retrofits, and ensure adequate resources, especially for disadvantaged communities and low-income households, and including market and workforce development, also focusing in particular on disadvantaged communities, to achieve this goal. Adopting this ambitious goal will put the state on track to meet its key climate goals in the most equitable and efficient way possible.

Originally posted by NRDC, Expert Blog.

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