New York lawmakers are considering a proposal to transition the construction of all new buildings to be powered by electricity, a progressive approach to housing that would reduce statewide carbon emissions but hurt the natural gas industry. If approved, the bill would facilitate a comprehensive switch to renewable energy in 2024, but a coalition of gas industry and labor officials warn that a rapid transition could drive up utility bills and disrupt the economy.
The proposal will play a pivotal role in the upcoming election season as progressive and conservative candidates debate possible solutions to hit state benchmarks meant to reduce the impact of climate change.
“This bill is a common-sense first-step strategy for decarbonizing buildings to address the climate crisis," said Anne Rabe, the environmental policy director at the New York Public Interest Research Group. "We can implement it today: heat pumps perform well in cold climates, including successful tests in the Arctic. The state has adequate electricity supply to handle the increased demand from new buildings relying on electric power through 2031 according to the NY Independent Operators System; and a new Buildings Institute report finds that all-electric, single-family homes are less expensive than new gas-fueled homes."