Clean Energy Standard (CES)


New York’s Clean Energy Standard (CES), established by Order of the Public Service Commission on August 1, 2016, is a mandate that 50% of New York’s electricity be from renewable resources by 2030. The CES replaced NY’s Renewable Portfolio Standard (RPS) that was in place for ten years.  When the CES was created, roughly 25% of total electricity used in New York already came from renewable sources, so the CES is designed to boost that up to 50%.

The CES has two distinct components – the nuclear program (also referred to as the Zero Emissions Credit (ZEC) program), and the renewable energy standard.

The renewable energy portion of the CES requires all electricity suppliers (referred to as load serving entities, or “LSEs”) to purchase renewable energy from NEW projects at a small percentage of their total load, increasing each year.  This obligation would be .6% of total electricity provided in 2017, increasing to 4.8% in 2021. The LSEs would demonstrate their compliance by purchasing Renewable Energy Credits (RECs), where 1 REC = 1 MWh of renewable power.

To ensure that there is a source of RECs to buy, the New York State Energy Research and Development Authority (NYSERDA) will enter into 20-year contracts for RECs for new eligible renewable energy projects, which can be wind, solar, sustainable biomass, hydropower, or fuel cells. NYSERDA will publish a schedule of solicitations for these RECs, but the Order Adopting the Clean Energy Standard includes anticipated procurement targets for NYSERDA for the years 2017 until 2021.

Electricity suppliers can comply with the CES buy buying RECs from NYSERDA or directly from renewable energy generators, or by paying and Alternative Compliance Payment (ACP). If the utilities own REC from distributed solar, wind, or fuel cells in their distribution system, they will most likely be able to use them for compliance as well.

Starting in September 2016, the Public Service Commission will continue to make various determinations to shape the implementation of the CES, as there are still design details to be decided. All information pertaining to the CES can be found in NYSDPS CASE 15-E-0302.


Order Providing Clarification 11/17/16

Order Approving Administrative Cost Recovery, Standardized Agreements and Backstop Principles 11/17/16

Order on Petitions for Rehearing 12/15/16

Order Directing Tariff Amendments 2/22/17

Order Approving Phase 1 Implementation Plan 2/22/17

Final CES Phase 1 Implementation Plan Implementation Plan 3/24/17

Proposed CES Phase 2 Implementation Plan CES Phase 2 Implementation Proposal 5/12/17