The New York Power Authority (NYPA) has announced a five-year plan that establishes goals and strategies to achieve the state’s climate leadership goals through a comprehensive sustainability agenda. Progress against NYPA’s Sustainability Plan will be measured with annual sustainability reports.
NYPA released the plan during Earth Week 2021 to celebrate the organization’s commitment to sustainability, according to a press release.
“As we … take bold steps to lead our state’s transformation to a clean energy economy, we need to do so in a transparent way that informs our stakeholders about our business decisions and priorities while keeping our commitment to sustainability at the forefront,” said NYPA Chairman John R. Koelmel. “We will rely on clear policies, practices and controls to guide our sustainability efforts as we continue to provide clean, affordable electricity and energy services to our customers and reliable generation and transmission for all of New York.”
The 2021-2025 Sustainability Plan serves as a roadmap to deliver on a sustainability strategy to meet the present and future needs of stakeholders and enhance long-term environmental, social and governance (ESG) performance. The plan outlines the steps NYPA and its subsidiary, the New York State Canal Corporation, are committed to taking to advance sustainability efforts across 15 ESG focus areas. The plan will evolve as the ESG initiatives advance to support VISION2030 implementation.
Sustainability, measured through an ESG structure, is a foundational pillar of VISION2030, NYPA’s strategic plan to help lead the state energy infrastructure’s transformation into a clean, reliable, resilient and affordable system over the next decade. VISION2030 also sets NYPA on a clear path to support the State’s Climate Leadership and Community Protection Act’s (CLCPA) goal of achieving a net-zero carbon economy by 2050.
“By using an ESG framework to manage and measure NYPA’s sustainability commitments and successes, we will be able to share key milestones as we advance some of the nation’s most ambitious climate targets,” said Gil C. Quiniones, NYPA’s president and chief executive officer. “Everything we do, as we embark on transforming our energy system for a clean energy future, will be shaped by our sustainability strategy as we pursue decarbonization, foster economic growth and create an ESG blueprint for others to follow.”
NYPA goals and strategies have been identified for 15 key sustainability focus areas, in alignment with VISION2030, the CLCPA, state energy programs and executive orders, and industry leading practices. The areas, ranging from renewable energy to employee development to risk management, are considered to have the greatest potential impact on NYPA’s business and to be of most importance to stakeholders.
The document complements NYPA’s newly released first annual sustainability report, which details the authority’s progress in ESG areas in 2020. The 2020 Sustainability Report outlines progress toward achieving the goals identified in the five-year plan to date. Annual reports will disclose comprehensive data related to the implementation of sustainability goals that will be leveraged for decision-making across the organization. NYPA’s ambition is to become one of the first U.S. utilities to issue an integrated report for the 2022 reporting cycle.
The report highlights NYPA’s sustainability commitments and accomplishments in 2020, including:
Work toward a 2035 target for eliminating carbon emissions from NYPA’s small clean power plant portfolio. This is a significant step toward meeting the state goal of a carbon-free power system by 2040.
Financing of hundreds of millions of dollars of customer energy efficiency and clean energy projects.
Supporting 400,000 jobs across New York State through economic development programs.
Supporting the development and engagement of a diverse workforce through a 10-Point Diversity, Equity and Inclusion Plan.
Continuing to fund a $300 million Reimagine the Canals initiative to revitalize the Erie Canal corridor as a prime tourism and recreation destination.
Governor Cuomo’s climate agenda is the most aggressive climate and clean energy initiative in the U.S., NYPA said. New York is on a path to achieving its mandated goal of a zero-emission electricity sector by 2040, including 70% renewable energy generation by 2030, and to reach economy wide carbon neutrality. Under Governor Cuomo’s leadership, New York will reduce greenhouse gas emissions by 85% from 1990 levels by 2050, while ensuring that at least 35% with a goal of 40% of the benefits of clean energy investments benefit disadvantaged communities.
NYPA operates 16 generating facilities and more than 1,400 circuit-miles of transmission lines. More than 80% of the electricity NYPA produces is clean renewable hydropower.