A final generic environmental impact statement for developing and implementing an Energy Portfolio Standard (EPS) — a key step toward New York’s goal of reducing electric usage by 15% of projected levels by 2015 and setting an energy efficiency goal for natural gas — has been accepted by the New York State Public Service Commission (PCS).

When the PSC initiated the proceeding to design an electric and natural gas EPS last year, it noted that the 15% reduction target could not be met by commission action alone, or solely by ratepayer funding (see Daily GPI, May 18, 2007). The PSC anticipated legislative actions to strengthen building codes and raise appliance efficiency standards; Long Island Power Authority and New York Power Authority contributions; and New York City and other municipal and local initiatives.

The purpose of the proceeding is to design an EPS to meet the targets for energy efficiency which, along with additional renewable resource development and other programs, decrease New York’s dependence on fossil fuel-based generation and imported fuels, reduce its greenhouse gas emissions, reduce customer bills, stimulate economic development and create jobs.

A PCS staff report found that an EPS has the potential to reduce New York’s 2015 electric energy requirement by 27,400 GWh/year, which would correspond to a peak load reduction of 5,487 MW, allowing the state to avoid the need for approximately 6,390 MW of installed capacity. Initial studies also estimated that the gas saving could be 15,204 MDth and peak day load reductions at 100 MDth by 2016.

The commission said New York’s electricity consumption is projected to increase approximately 1.3% per year through 2015. At current trends by 2015 electric energy usage in New York is estimated to be 13% higher than current levels.

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