Recently, Karp Strategies had the privilege of participating in the City and State’s Clean Energy Summit, which shed light on New York's path towards a zero-emission electricity sector by 2040 and the ambitious goal of achieving 70 percent renewable energy generation by 2030. The summit featured comprehensive discussions on New York's multifaceted approach to combating climate change across diverse industries, spanning strategies from enhancing building energy efficiency to fortifying coastal resilience against climate impacts.
The dialogues revolved around pivotal themes, encapsulating New York's holistic approach to climate action. Let's delve into these central themes, mirroring the prevalent discussions throughout the conference.
Achieving Climate Smart Communities
The discussions during the summit delved into the idea of creating climate-smart communities driven by a persistent pursuit of efficiency. New York's dedication to utilizing alternative and efficient energy sources is crucial in nurturing these environmentally friendly, more sustainable, fair, and resilient communities. The envisioned zero-emission electricity system aims to fuel homes, offices, schools, healthcare facilities, and transportation with renewable energy sources, strengthening urban areas and communities against environmental adversity caused by climate change. The summit focused on policy frameworks like CAP and Invest, highlighting the critical role of private investments alongside government support in achieving New York State’s ambitious energy objectives.
Navigating the Offshore Wind Landscape
A significant highlight of the summit was the spotlight on the offshore wind industry—a linchpin in New York's pursuit of cleaner energy sources. The burgeoning industry in New York promises to distribute economic advantages equitably among workers, utility customers, and local communities.
However, the discussions highlighted significant hurdles: workforce shortages and limited supplier availability. Gregory Lampman from NYSERDA outlined a response strategy focusing on recent Requests for Information (RFIs) to source supply chain investments and expedite Requests for Proposals (RFPs). This approach emphasizes the necessity for cost-effective planning under the Offshore Wind (OSW) Master Plan to navigate the industry's current landscape characterized by inflationary pressures and developers renegotiating contracts.
Bridging Gaps and Pioneering Equitable Development
Amidst the dialogue about New York's energy landscape, the spotlight fell on the impact on small businesses and the average consumer. Ensuring an inclusive transition, mitigating cost impacts, and addressing affordable housing in policy decisions took center stage. Rebecca Karp, our CEO and Founding Principal, emphasized the significance of comprehensive workforce development programs, ranging from early career exposure in schools to advanced training initiatives to bridge skill gaps and ensure equitable career progression.
She stressed the transformative potential for New York to become a national model for clean energy workforce development. She discussed various initiatives, including the Green Economy Fund, which allocated funds from a transmission project to support inclusive green workforce development. Karp also highlighted the Growing Green Initiative, a market analysis that connects BIPOC businesses to green economy opportunities, addressing barriers small and minority-owned businesses face. Additionally, she presented case studies such as NYSERDA's Offshore Wind Youth Action Program and the CUNY Bridges to Offshorewind program, illustrating the importance of awareness, education, and fostering transferable skills in the clean energy sector.
The summit made clear that clean energy development is a long-term endeavor, requiring a focus on strategic, lasting gains over short-term challenges. Solutions proposed by Karp Strategies involve developing workforce and minority- and women-owned business enterprise capacity, emphasizing transferable skills, and understanding the long timelines associated with transformative projects. Despite setbacks, such as Ørsted's recent cancellation of New Jersey OSW projects, Karp Strategies remains optimistic about the industry's future, emphasizing the need for ongoing preparation and commitment to equity. The critical takeaway is to maintain a relentless focus on equity and invest deeply in people to ensure success as the clean energy economy grows.