New York’s economy does not have the kind of major fossil fuel employers that more actively oil- and gas- producing states have. By making this transition and following the guidelines of the plan, we will see a net gain of 189,000 jobs in New York State by 2030. In other words, we will see a major increase in jobs and job opportunities as we continue to make the transition toward zero-emission standards.
The largest job losses in this transition will be in gas pumping and delivering fuel oil; these industries will contract while renewable energy industries expand. The opportunities to transition into the clean energy economy – installing solar, wind, geothermal, air source heat pumps, performing building energy efficiency upgrades, selling and maintaining electric vehicles and more – are virtually unlimited and are already supported by diverse training programs. People in sunsetting industries such as fossil fuel need to be prepared to learn and adapt; If they are, the opportunities are vast.
To mitigate any economic impact and ensure that current and formerly employed power plant workers benefit from the transition to clean energy, the plan supports displaced workers as much as possible by establishing continuing education, registered apprenticeships, certifications, and licensing in clean energy trades and professions. Assistance and support for companies and organizations is also provided to help transition the workforce to clean energy jobs. In the transition away from fossil fuels, we will see the largest wage increase in middle wage positions ($28-$37 an hour).
How will these changes impact renters and non-homeowners?
While renewable energy will ultimately result in money saved, the transition away from non-renewables will be an initial investment. Most of this money will be funded through state initiatives and incentives. Landlords will be financially and instructionally supported in implementing changes and following guidelines. Renters will continue to pay rent and utilities as usual. Additionally, many upgrades to HVAC will also include indoor air quality and other improvements in the comfort quality of your home.Short-term costs are inevitably affected by other factors such as supply chain, cost of conversion, etc., but long-term costs will decrease.
What about low-income households that don’t have any extra resources?
The Climate Act requires the state to invest or direct resources to ensure that disadvantaged communities and low-income households receive at least 35, with the goal of 40 percent, of overall benefits of spending on clean energy and energy efficiency programs, projects or investments in the areas of housing, workforce development, pollution reduction, low-income energy assistance, energy, transportation, and economic development.
Programs are being developed to help everyone afford the changes they are being asked to make, and to make jobs in the clean energy economy widely available. For example, Empower NY is a program funded by NYSERDA that actively reaches out to low income neighborhoods, through social service agencies and community based organizations, with an aim to help people access free home energy upgrades. To see if you are eligible for low or no cost home and appliance upgrades, visit NYSERDA’s website. Income qualified families with a HEAP award letter dated October 1, 2021 or later, and a valid Client Identification Number (CIN) or Case number may be eligible for the installation of clean heating and cooling heat pumps in addition to other EmPower measures. Your contractor will assist you in completing any necessary paperwork to receive the heat pumpThese transfer heat from outside rather than converting it from fuel. Resources: • Air Source Heat Pump Buying Guide
incentive. Later this year, a new follow-on program, Clean Energy Hubs, will bring together energy outreach and education experts with social service agencies and community based organizations to reach more widely into the communities that most need energy savings.
The Climate Justice Working Group and Climate Justice Advisory Panel played an important advisory role in the Climate Action Council process, focusing on the needs of disadvantaged communities in the plan for transitioning to renewable energy. Their work will ensure that while we move the state toward a carbon neutral economy, all New Yorkers will reap the economic and environmental benefits of this transition. All meetings are recorded and can be found here.
I am open to using more renewable sources of energy, but I don’t want to make all these changes at once or be told how I should go about it. Can I do this at my own pace and in my own way?
There is no expectation for how or when you begin to implement these changes. At some point in the coming years, state building codes are likely to remove polluting fossil fuel technologies from being newly installed, most likely starting with new construction. Over the next twenty years, most homes will need to replace their heating and cooling systems, and renewable options will grow in availability and affordability over that period. We recommend an approach that begins with learning about renewable technologies so that, when your conventional car or fossil fuel boiler needs to be replaced, you have a plan and are confident in going forward with a renewable option. For example, Marbletown, New York has made a commitment to shift to 100% renewable energy and helps community members plan using a ten step process to tackle each component of your energy system. More information about Marbletown, NY can be found HERE.