New York adopts laws to set higher energy efficiency requirements, promote renewable energy

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Under the new laws, NYSEG and other major energy utility companies will have to submit thermal energy pilot plans to the state by the end of the year. (Jillian Forstadt/WSKG)

New York Governor Kathy Hochul signed three new laws Tuesday aimed at helping the state meet its climate goals.

One of the new laws sets higher energy efficiency standards for new and renovated buildings. It also applies new efficiency standards to a range of different appliances and devices, ranging from swimming pool filters to gas fireplaces.

Another law incentivizes growth in renewable thermal energy jobs, which includes work on heat pumps, solar mass heaters and geothermal technology. The law also requires NYSEG and the state’s other largest energy suppliers to each submit a pilot program to develop thermal energy infrastructure before the year is over.

The laws also set a standard wage for solar and thermal energy jobs, which drew praise from labor leaders like United Pipe Trades spokesperson John Murphy, who was on hand at a bill signing ceremony.

“It is critical that workers in new green industries are paid a fair wage and that workers in the fossil fuel industry are not left behind,” Murphy said.

Governor Hochul said she wants more utility workers in the fossil fuel industry to be trained to retrofit buildings with thermal energy systems, like heat pumps and solar mass heaters. 

“I think the Pipe Trades like the sight of that [law],” Hochul said. “You’re going to be busy, John, getting those people trained. We’ve got to have a lot more jobs for people.”

Hochul said she anticipates New York will add 286,000 new clean energy jobs by 2050.