Clean Path NY Recognized in Climate Category of Fast Company’s 2022 World Changing Ideas Awards
Nation-leading renewable energy project to generate 3,800 MW of new wind and solar power and unlock clean energy transmission to high-load centers
Clean energy project estimated to reduce fossil fuel-fired generation by 22 percent per year statewide, and eliminates an estimated 49 million tons of carbon emissions through 2040
NEW YORK– May 3, 2022 – Today, Clean Path NY was recognized in the Climate category of Fast Company's 2022 World Changing Ideas Awards, honoring clean technology, innovative corporate initiatives, bold new designs for cities and buildings, and other projects supporting the growth of positive social innovation, tackling social inequality, climate change, and public health crises. Clean Path NY is an $11 billion public-private partnership that will create 8,300 in-state jobs and catalyze $4.7 billion of in-state economic development. Clean Path NY will deliver 7.5 million megawatt hours of renewable energy annually, reduce fossil fuel-fired generation by 22 percent per year statewide, and eliminate an estimated 49 million tons of carbon emissions through 2040.
Clean Path NY comprises a 175-mile state-of-the-art transmission line, 3,800 megawatts of new in-state solar and wind power, and New York Power Authority’s (NYPA) existing Blenheim-Gilboa Pumped Storage Power Plant, a hydroelectric facility that will strengthen the reliability and resiliency of the project. Together, these assets will dramatically increase the delivery of reliable, cost-effective renewable energy into New York City to drive a significant reduction in the use of fossil fuel plants that are currently relied upon to serve the city’s peak energy needs. The project is a partnership between Invenergy, energyRe, and NYPA.
In April 2022, the New York State Public Service Commission approved the Clean Path NY contract—allowing Clean Path NY to move forward on a robust public information and engagement process to inform New Yorkers about the major infrastructure project that will deliver more reliable, clean energy to New York communities and transform how New York is powered.
“Combatting the climate crisis requires urgency, innovation, and inclusivity—and that’s what Clean Path NY will deliver for New York,” said Clean Path NY leaders Michael Polsky of Invenergy, Jeff Blau of energyRe, and Justin E. Driscoll of the New York Power Authority. “This clean energy project will harness state-of-the-art technologies to bring reliable, resilient emissions-free power to New York communities on the frontlines of climate change. That means cleaner air, good-paying jobs, and local investments where they are most needed.”
“We are consistently inspired by the novelty and creativity that people are applying to solve some of our society’s most pressing problems, from shelter to the climate crisis. Fast Company relishes its role in amplifying important, innovative work to address big challenges,” says David Lidsky, interim editor-in-chief of Fast Company. “Our journalists have identified some of the most ingenious initiatives to launch since the start of 2021, which we hope will both have a meaningful impact and lead others to join in being part of the solution.”
Clean Path NY is critical to advancing New York State’s Climate Leadership and Community Protection Act, which mandates a zero-emission electricity sector by 2040, 70 percent renewable energy generation by 2030, and economy-wide carbon neutrality. These legally-binding goals cannot be achieved without first resolving the ‘Tale of Two Grids’—the inability of New York’s power system to move clean energy generated upstate to serve fossil-fuel dependent downstate regions, due to lack of sufficient transmission. Clean Path NY will help to solve this challenge by modernizing and unifying New York’s energy grid, connecting communities across the state to clean energy from Clean Path NY and other sources of renewable energy, and transition New York away from fossil fuels through a more resilient and reliable electrical grid.
Clean Path NY was selected for award through the New York State Energy Research and Development Authority’s (NYSERDA) first-of-its-kind Tier 4 competitive request for proposal process, which aims to responsibly deliver a significant increase of renewable energy to New York City—an area of the state that relies on aging fossil fuel-fired generation, experiences the most significant air quality issues and health impacts from fossil fuel emissions, and has a marked need for grid reliability and resiliency. The project is supported by a broad and diverse coalition of leaders in public health, climate action, environmental justice and economic and workforce development, and received more than 600 letters of support and comments from working New Yorkers, elected officials, and advocates across the state.
The Clean Path NY project was developed with environmental justice at its core and is forecasted to provide billions of dollars of overall societal benefits inclusive of greenhouse gas reductions and air quality improvements. The delivery of renewable energy into New York City will drive a significant reduction in the use of oil and gas-fired fossil fuel plants that today provide a majority of the city’s energy needs. This will result in 20 percent reduction in particulate matter emissions each year as well as 49 million tons of CO2 removed from the atmosphere through 2040 (when New York’s grid is mandated through the Climate Act/CLCPA to reach zero emissions).
In addition, Clean Path NY will develop a $270 million investment fund to support workforce development and education programs, health services and environmental stewardship programs that will include electrification retrofits of affordable housing – with priority given to directing funds into frontline and otherwise underserved communities. Workforce development and education programs will focus on increasing minority participation in the green economy with additional increased funding for existing workforce development, apprenticeships, local hiring initiatives, and education. The fund will seek to make targeted investments to expand access to medical care and health services in the frontline communities that have borne a disproportionate burden of the fossil fuel economy for too long. The fund is also seeking environmental conservation and clean energy opportunities to spur investment, create jobs, and reduce the environmental burden existing buildings place on communities.
The project team is committed to working with communities and stakeholders at every stage of development and all along the project route to ensure that local voices are sought and heard, for the wellbeing of communities and the project’s surrounding ecosystem.
Routing and environmental work is underway on the Clean Path NY transmission line route from Delaware County, in New York’s Southern Tier economic development region, through the Mid-Hudson region to New York City. The robust and comprehensive state planning process ensures that the transmission line will follow the most optimal route, taking into account potential community impact and environmental stewardship. In particular, Clean Path NY’s route will be designed specifically to minimize potential impacts to the Hudson River. The transmission line will be sited entirely underground or underwater and primarily in existing NYPA and DOT rights of way already used by roads and transmission lines and roads, limiting impact to surrounding communities and environments and ensuring the line is resilient in extreme weather.
energyRe is an independent New York company focused on solving complex challenges and providing clean energy solutions. The team at energyRe has expertise in infrastructure, engineering, and real estate and its founding investors include principals of Related Companies. Guided by the values of community engagement, government partnership, and a demonstrated commitment to sustainability, energyRe is working towards a clean energy future for all New Yorkers.
We are innovators building a sustainable world. Invenergy has successfully developed more than 29,000 megawatts of large-scale sustainable energy generation and storage facilities in the Americas, Europe and Asia and is delivering clean energy to market through its growing portfolio of Invenergy Transmission projects. Since its first New York wind farm began operating in 2009, Invenergy has been helping build New York’s renewable energy future and today employs New Yorkers at its regional office in Ithaca and at four operating energy facilities. For more information, please visit Invenergy.com [invenergy.com].
NYPA is the largest state public power organization in the nation, operating 16 generating facilities and more than 1,400 circuit-miles of transmission lines. More than 80 percent of the electricity NYPA produces is clean renewable hydropower. NYPA owns and operates approximately one third of New York’s high voltage power lines. These lines transmit power from NYPA’s three large hydroelectric generation facilities and independent wind power generation facilities, connecting nearly 7,000 megawatts of renewable energy to New York State’s power grid. This includes connecting more than 6,300 megawatts of hydroelectric power and about 700 megawatts, or more than a third, of New York State generated wind energy to the grid. NYPA uses no tax money or state credit. It finances its operations through the sale of bonds and revenues earned in large part through sales of electricity. For more information visit www.nypa.gov [nypa.gov] and follow us on Twitter [twitter.com] @NYPAenergy, Facebook [facebook.com], Instagram [instagram.com], Tumblr [nypaenergy.tumblr.com] and LinkedIn [linkedin.com]
About the World Changing Ideas Awards
World Changing Ideas is one of Fast Company's major annual awards programs and is focused on social good, seeking to elevate finished products and brave concepts that make the world better. A panel of judges from across sectors choose winners, finalists, and honorable mentions based on feasibility and the potential for impact. With the goals of awarding ingenuity and fostering innovation, Fast Company draws attention to ideas with great potential and helps them expand their reach to inspire more people to start working on solving the problems that affect us all.