New York’s renewable fuel agenda was off to a strong start in 2020. On January 8th, Senate Bill S4003A, which would establish New York’s low carbon fuel standard, was referred to the Environmental Conservation Committee (ECC).
Later in January, Governor Cuomo enthusiastically outlined the Fiscal Year 2021 Budget, titled – Making Progress Happen. The first item addressed was climate change. Due to the dire nature of the climate change problem, New York was going to have to do more and do it faster than any other state. According to the governor, “Our $33 billion initiative – the largest in the nation – five-year plan, $3 billion is the Restore Mother Nature Bond Act, which we talked about in the State of the State; $740 million for resiliency and environmental conservation; $9 billion for offshore wind; land-based renewables, $6 billion; clean energy research, $1.9 billion; the green bank, $1.1 billion; electric transit buses and charging stations, $1.5 billion. It is a comprehensive program and it provides the funding to actually do it.”
With the money in place, the transportation sector needed a plan for the LCFS to follow. Part of the problem in getting the LCFS bill moving forward in the past was not having a plan for its future. A legislative analyst working for a Senator on the ECC told The Jacobsen that the ECC was hopeful to have a plan in place this year. The ECC placed the Climate Action Council in charge of getting a scoping plan together and their seemed to be momentum.
The coronavirus made its impact felt shortly after the governor’s fiscal address. Shelter in place orders kept workers at home. Meetings were cancelled and timelines extended. Caught in the mix was New York’s LCFS Bill. E-mails to the Climate Action Council have not yet been returned. However, the Legislative Analyst said there will be a special session later this year, but there is little chance the LCFS bill will be part of it. The Climate Action Council, according to the analyst, has yet to complete a draft scoping plan, which is a perquisite to moving forward on the bill.
Like Washington State, New York is now also hoping to find their LCFS legislation being re-addressed in 2021. Programs of interest with a chance of having 2020 announcements are Colorado, Oregon and British Columbia, Canada.
Colorado is due to release a feasibility study later this month. Colorado is one of 11 states that have adopted California’s Zero Emission Vehicle (ZEV) mandate. States following this mandate represent over 30 percent of new car sales in the light duty vehicle market.
Oregon, which already has a program in place, requires a 10 percent reduction in average carbon intensity from 2015 levels by 2025. Through executive order, Oregon’s Department of Environmental Quality was instructed to amend the low carbon fuel standards, with the goal of reducing greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions 20 percent from 2015 levels by 2030 and 25 percent below 2015 levels by 2035.
British Columbia, Canada, has a LCFS program in place as well. The goal of the program was to reduce the average carbon intensity (CI) of transportation fuels 10 percent by 2020 relative to 2010 levels. The BC initiative extends the BC-LCFS to a 20 percent CI reduction by 2030. British Columbia’s government plans to vote to officially extend its Low-Carbon Fuel Standard out to 2030.