New York renewable energy and energy efficiency

Renewable energy and energy efficiency programs exist in the state of New York across a wide range of technology types and are available for commercial, residential, and utility-scale customers and producers.

A history of renewable energy and energy efficiency in New York

The state of New York has been a leader in clean energy since the establishment of NYSERDA (New York State Energy Research and Development Authority) in 1975.1 When the New York State Energy Office closed its doors in 1995, NYSERDA took on critical roles in energy efficiency, energy planning and assessments, and policy analysis. In 2008, New York created its Energy Efficiency Portfolio Standard, which was aimed at creating programs and incentives to reduce electricity usage in the state. Also in 2008, New York joined the Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative (RGGI) along with eight other Northeast and Mid-Atlantic states. The RGGI became the US's first mandatory, market-based effort to limit emissions of greenhouse gases.2 In 2014, NY Green Bank was established as a specialized entity within NYSERDA, and was aimed at increasing private investment in renewable energy. Governor Cuomo launched his ambitious Reforming the Energy Vision (REV) program in the same year, which would grow to define energy policy in the State of New York. The 2015 State Energy Plan was created as a roadmap for accomplishing Governor Cuomo's vision.3 During the same year, the Clean Energy Standard was enacted under the direction of the governor, which expanded New York's Renewable Portfolio Standard (RPS).

New York's Renewable Portfolio Standard

New York's Renewable Portfolio Standard was first created and introduced in 2004. In 2016, it was expanded by Governor Cuomo's Clean Energy Standard (CES). The CES contains the goal of reducing greenhouse gas emissions by 40% by 2030 and 80% by 2050. New York's current RPS calls for 50% of New York's energy to come from renewable sources by 2030, although Governor Cuomo has proposed to expand that goal to 70%. In order to accomplish these goals, New York has created a Renewable Energy Standard (RES) and a Zero-Emissions credit (ZEC) requirement. New York's RPS supports three kinds of projects: the construction of new renewables, the preservation of existing renewables, and the maintenance of existing safely operating nuclear power plants. The Clean Energy Standard was expanded again in October 2020 following passage of the Climate Leadership and Community Protection Act in 2019.4

Important renewable energy organizations in New York

NYSERDA (New York State Energy Research and Development Authority) is one of the most important renewable energy organizations in the State of New York. NYSERDA aims its efforts at economic growth, reduction of greenhouse gas emissions, and reduction of customer energy bills. NYSERDA is led by a board of 13 members. Two of these members are the Commissioner of the Department of Environmental Conservation and the Commissioner of the Department of Transportation. The other nine members are appointed by the Governor and include three at-large members, as well as an economist, a consumer advocate, an environmentalist, an engineer/scientist, and an officer of a gas utility. NYSERDA is funded primarily through System Benefits Charges which are paid by customers of participating utilities.

Another important renewable energy organization in the State of New York is the Department of Public Service. The purpose of the Department of Public Service is to regulate utilities so as to provide safe, affordable, secure, and reliable access to utility services while protecting the environment. The Department of Public Service is chaired by up to five bipartisan commissioners. These commissioners are appointed by the Governor and confirmed by the senate for six year terms.

The New York Independent System Operator (NYISO) is another important renewable energy and energy efficiency organization in the state. NYISO is charged with managing the electric grid and the electric market in the State of New York. NYISO is an independent company not affiliated with any energy company or level of government which works to ensure a transparent market that works for all customers. NYISO is currently working with policymakers, energy suppliers, and other stakeholders to transform New York's power grid into a smart grid.

Utilities are also a major player in New York involved in the advancement of renewable energy and energy efficiency within the state. The state of New York has six large Investor-Owned Utilities (IOUs). Consolidated Edison (ConEd) is the largest utility in the state in terms of number of customers served. It serves New York City and a large portion of Westchester. The other five large IOUs are Orange and Rockland Utilities (ORU), Central Hudson Gas and Electric, Rochester Gas and Electric, New York State Electric and Gas (NYSEG), and National Grid. Additionally, New York has one large municipal utility, Long Island Power Authority (LIPA). This is the second largest municipal utility in the nation. New York also has a variety of smaller utilities.

How to go solar in New York

You can install solar panels on your property and benefit directly from solar energy in New York. The best way to go solar is to compare multiple quotes - you can join the EnergySage Marketplace for free to begin comparing your options from installation companies near you. Want to start with a little more research? Check out average prices for solar in New York, or read through reviews of the best local solar installers in New York.


  1. New York State Energy Research and Development Authority. “History of NYSERDA.” Accessed October 28, 2020.
  2. Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative. “Welcome.” Accessed October 28, 2020.
  3. New York State Energy Research and Development Authority. “New York State Energy Plan.” Accessed October 28, 2020.
  4. DSIRE. “Clean Energy Standard.” Accessed October 28, 2020.

{{ msgWrapperText }}

Filter Options

{{ filter.typeLabel }}: {{ filter.valueLabel }}