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Cuomo Wants More Renewable Energy To Aid Economy

New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo (AP Photo/Jacquelyn Martin, File)

While Chautauqua County has been “going green” for the last few year with the installation of wind turbines and solar fields, Gov. Andrew Cuomo is making a larger push statewide.

He also believes this push to “go green” will help pull the economy up while it is struggling with COVID-19.

On Wednesday, Cuomo gave his third of his “State of the State” addresses, this one focusing on building a green economy for New York state.

Cuomo proposed a $26 billion public-private sector partnership to build nearly 100 renewable projects.

“Our program provides a diversity of project styles and locations. Sixty eight of those projects have been commenced, including 52 solar projects, 13 on-shore and three offshore wind projects,” he said, adding that another 24 would be announced shortly.

The governor highlighted a handful of the projects, but none of the ones mentioned in his address Wednesday were in Chautauqua or Cattaraugus counties.

He also said he wants New York to build turbines, which will create jobs. “We must stop relying on other countries’ economies to fuel ours. We must stop importing the green technology and equipment from other nations, and we need to create the manufacturing capacity here in New York. To do that we must develop a steady flow of projects to start up and sustain those new businesses,” he said.

He noted that New York has secured commitments from companies to manufacture wind turbine components within the state and build the nation’s largest offshore wind program, which would be placed off the Long Island shore. He did not say if there are plans to construct wind turbines on Lake Erie, although that has been discussed for a number of years.

Cuomo wants to construct a new transmission superhighway, which would be 250 miles long to transport the energy from upstate to New York city and cost around $2 billion. No final decisions have been made where the lines would be located.

He did say he wants an 86-mile Smart Path project in the North Country; 20 miles of transmission in Western New York to maximize the renewable energy output from Niagara Falls to Elma in Erie County; a 100-mile line from Marcy to New Scotland in Albany County, and a 50-mile transmission line from Rensselaer County to Dutchess County. “All of these projects will break the congestion, open the grid, and all of these projects will break ground this year,” he said.

Finally, Cuomo wants to see a trained, diverse workforce.

“We are leveraging our public higher education system by investing $20 million in a new Offshore Wind Training Institute at SUNY Stony Brook and Farmingdale State College that will begin certifying and training individuals this year,” he said. “We will train 2,500 workers beginning in the summer of 2021. But we won’t only be training for wind and solar projects. The evolution to green energy will involve replacing home heating and cooling systems in approximately 130,000 buildings with heat pumps and geothermal heating. We will train workers for those positions also.”

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