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Following Paris announcement, NY claims largest ever clean energy procurement

New York state has launched the "largest clean energy procurement by a state in U.S. history" a day after Gov. Andrew Cuomo reacted to the announced withdrawal of the U.S. from the Paris Agreement on climate change by signing an executive order committing New York to upholding the international accord's standards.

Cuomo announced June 2 the $1.5 billion investment in renewables, energy efficiency and solar installations at public buildings that will generate 2.5 million MWh of electricity a year.

Complimenting the announcement, the New York State Energy Research and Development Authority, or NYSERDA, simultaneously issued requests for proposals from qualified developers to build the renewable energy projects. The RFPs are the first in a series of procurements that are expected to result in the construction of 40- to 60 large-scale renewable projects by 2022. The solicitations for 2.5 million MWh of electricity a year from NYSERDA and the New York Power Authority, or NYPA, are specifically intended for wind, commercial solar and solar arrays; small and large-scale hydro; and fuel cells.

New York's investments are collectively known as the Clean Climate Careers initiative and are a part of a multistate commitment launched on June 1 in reaction to President Donald Trump's decision to withdrawal the U.S. from the Paris Agreement to mitigate climate change by cutting emissions. Called the United States Climate Alliance, the coalition – initially made up of New York, California and Washington state – is committed to upholding the international accord as well as meeting or exceeding targets set by the shelved federal Clean Power Plan.

"As the federal government abdicates its responsibility to address climate change – at the expense of our environment and economy – New York is leading the nation in advancing a clean energy future," Cuomo said. "The Clean Climate Careers initiative is a groundbreaking investment, representing the largest state clean energy procurement in U.S. history."

Under the initiative, NYPA is also doubling its annual investments in energy efficiency and solar deployments at local government buildings, public facilities and schools from $150 million to $300 million through an expansion of its BuildSmartNY and K-Solar programs. The money will result in the installation of more than 125 MW of solar capacity at schools and public buildings by 2020. In addition, the state committed $15 million towards preparing New York's workforce for clean energy careers through job training.