Senate Passes "Green Jobs/Green NY" Bill

September 11, 2009

Last night the Senate passed the grounbreaking Green Jobs/Green NY bill, a measure that will create thousands of jobs across the state and help hundreds of thousands of families and businesses from Montauk to Buffalo save up to a billion dollars annually in energy costs. The bill, which passed the Senate 52-8 and passed the Assembly unanimously, is a major step toward rebuilding New York’s crippled economy and rescuing the state’s energy consumers.

Senator Darrel J. Aubertine (D-Cape Vincent), chair of the Senate Energy and Telecommunications Committee and lead sponsor of the bill said: “This program will create jobs, save consumers on their energy bills and help get our economy back on track. By passing the Green Jobs/Green New York Act today with bipartisan support we have taken an important step toward improving our economy and helping our environment. This bill encourages conservation, helps consumers with the cost of capital improvements to their homes and businesses, and creates jobs in the new economy. It’s a win-win for New York State, especially Upstate New York where a well-trained workforce will be in demand to keep the heat in and energy bills down every winter.”
Senator Thomas Morahan (R-New City) said: "About 40 percent of Rockland County's owner-occupied units were built before 1970, making them big energy users. This program would serve "the missing middle" -- owners who surpass the income ceiling for the Weatherization Assistance Program but cannot afford retrofits on their own. Heating an energy-inefficient home  may cost these owners between $ 3,000 and $ 4,000 per year."

Here's how it works:

·         The program will be funded with revenue raised by the auction of carbon emission credits through the Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative. This funding will be used to leverage private and federal investments. The bill allocates $112 million from these auctions to NYSERDA. Auctions of carbon emission credits over the last two years raised $126 million, with an estimated $75 million more expected in the next two auctions this year alone.
·         NYSERDA will establish a revolving loan program to provide up to $13,000 per residential customer to retrofit a home, and up to $26,000 to retrofit each qualifying business, and also conduct energy audits, program administration and a credit enhancement for critical private sector capital investments.
·         In partnership with the Department of Labor, NYSERDA will also create workforce training programs throughout the state to ensure that the state’s workforce is highly trained and in place to handle mass-scale retrofitting.
·         The program will front the cost of the work, enabling property owners to afford energy efficient retrofits. Although property owners will repay the full cost over time, their total energy usage will be reduced by 30-40%, and the loan payment on their energy bill will be less than what they saved, yielding a net saves to the property owner.
·         Local contractors, certified to perform the retrofits will be able to expand their crews, creating new and permanent jobs in green construction and additional jobs in local businesses and manufacturing that serve those new workers.
·         Loans will be eligible to home and business owners in rural and urban communities throughout the state, from Watertown to Montauk and Buffalo to Albany.

There's much more information about the bill, including a FAQ, testimonials from around the state and a video from Senator Eric Schneiderman on our Green Jobs/Green NY Intiatives page.