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Columbia Energy Exchange

New York’s Green New Deal

When it comes to the Green New Deal, Washington is still trying to sort out what the movement means and what steps can be taken to address the dangers posed by climate change. And a similar case is happening in some states, like New York, where Governor Andrew Cuomo has announced a Green New Deal and bold steps he says are necessary to achieve it.

In this episode of Columbia Energy Exchange, host Bill Loveless talks to Alicia Barton, the president and CEO of the New York State Energy Research and Development Authority. NYSERDA is a public corporation dedicated to energy innovations that would improve New York’s economy and environment – and an agency that will play a big part in the state’s Green New Deal.

Bill sat down with Alicia outside the Center on Global Energy Policy’s summit in New York recently to talk about the governor’s energy agenda, including its call for an ambitious ramp-up in renewable energy deployments in New York as the state aims for 100 percent carbon-free electricity by 2040 and ultimately the elimination of its carbon footprint. It’s not without controversy; some state lawmakers and some interest groups say Cuomo’s Green New Deal doesn’t go far enough. But one way or another, the Empire State seems likely to follow through on a plan of this sort.

Alicia has held public and private sector leadership roles in clean energy for more than a decade, including serving as co-chair of the energy and clean tech practice at the law firm Foley Hoag, chief operations officer of the global utility business unit at SunEdison, and CEO of the Massachusetts Clean Energy Center, a publicly supported agency in Massachusetts.

In Massachusetts, she was also the deputy commissioner for policy and planning at the Department of Environmental Protection and the deputy general counsel at the Executive Office of Energy and Environmental Affairs.

During their conversation, Bill and Alicia talked about various elements of New York’s Green New Deal, like its ambitious goals for offshore wind power, distributed solar energy and energy storage, and what her agency and the rest of the state’s government, not to mention the private sector, can do to meet them. They also touched on the growing significance of states like New York acting on energy and climate change in the absence of policy in Washington.

Just as important was their discussion of women in energy and the gender imbalance still seen across much of the energy apparatus in the U.S.

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