ALBANY, N.Y. — New York established a $5 billion clean energy fund Thursday intended to encourage renewable sources of electricity such as wind and solar while reducing the state's reliance on fossil fuels linked to climate change.
The money, which is set to be spent over 10 years, will be used to subsidize solar energy, spur energy research and development, and incentivize private investments in clean energy projects. It will also support programs that increase energy efficiency in homes and businesses.
The initiative is part of Governor Andrew Cuomo's plan to generate half of the state's energy from renewable sources by 2030. The Democrat announced the fund last week during his annual state-of-the-state address, and it was formally approved by the state's Public Service Commission Thursday.
"This state has both the ingenuity and the ambition to really start addressing climate change," Commission Chairwoman Audrey Zibelman said. "We're not going to get there by accident. We need a plan."
The commission is now working out the details of how the state will increase its use of renewable energy to meet Cuomo's 2030 goal. The plan will include mandates for energy companies, and the energy fund is seen as a way to help ease the transition.
The new fund will be generated by surcharges on consumer utility bills, though the Commission says the new program will require $90 million less in subsidies.