The regulatory phase now begins. 

That’s the assessment of two of the agency leaders who will be involved in implementing the state’s new climate blueprint. 

The Climate Action Council (CAC), responsible for developing a scoping plan to reduce New York's greenhouse gas emissions, voted on Monday to approve the plan, which will reduce greenhouse gas emissions by 70% by 2040.

According to Basil Seggos, commissioner of the state Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC), and Doreen Harris, president and CEO of the New York State Energy Research and Development Authority (NYSERDA), the work of making investments and crafting regulations now begins in earnest. 

“(There are) several decades of work ahead for us,” Seggos told Capital Tonight. “The most important work is arguably in the first year or two when we have to craft regulations.”

Multiple agencies will be involved in crafting regulations, including DEC, NYSERDA and the Public Service Commission (PSC). 

The backbone of the CAC’s plan is called “cap and invest," which, like the Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative (RGGI), will earn revenue from polluters wanting to exceed their caps. That revenue will be invested in clean energy projects. 

It’s not yet clear whether the Hochul administration has the power to implement cap and invest through agencies, or if the Legislature will need to pass a law enabling the plan.

“It’s a proposal at this state, right? The council said, let’s advance this as a recommendation and now it’s up to us whether to do it,” Seggos said. “We’re still in the TBD phase.”

But investing in large-scale renewables has gone beyond the TBD phase, according to Harris. 

“What the scoping plan revealed is that we will be investing at an even greater scale,” she said.  

The Climate Leadership and Community Investment Act (CLCPA) necessitates investments across the state’s economy, but New York has been lagging behind other states in actual construction. Harris reports that there is currently a pipeline of over 100 projects under contract with NYSERDA. 

“Constructing renewable energy projects is going to be order number one,” she stated.