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NYC Launches Green Energy Action Plan

February 29, 2024
By: Mark Skinner

Leaders within the largest city in the United States, and one of the most influential in the world, recognize the daunting challenges resulting from New York City’s vulnerability to climate change—evidenced already in violent storms, flooding, and rising sea levels—as well as the economic opportunity that comes in combating the negative impacts of that change and reducing the city’s contributions to further temperature rise. As a result, it should not surprise Digest readers that the Green Economy Action Plan released by New York City Mayor Eric Adams on February 28 is saturated with innovation and TBED-centered initiatives.

Altogether, the plan commits the Adams administration to work on 63 specific actions across five key goals. The goals include key pieces to a green economy that typically don’t generate headlines, such as launching the use of the newly developed circular construction guidelines, starting with the SPARC Kips Bay, a $1 billion, two million-square-foot life sciences innovation center.

From the economic development perspective, one anticipated outcome of the plan’s implementation, the mayor projects, would be the creation of nearly 400,000 “green collar” jobs in New York City by 2040. Estimates suggest that 133,000 jobs within NYC currently can be considered green.

Some commitments in the plan are underway already. For example, the Mass Timber Studio, which is currently seeking design teams for its first cohort. Also already open is the Greenlight Innovation Fund, a $50 million capital fund to provide up to $3 million matching grants to support the nonprofit development of facilities to support innovation industries within green economy, life sciences, and advanced technology; responses to the first RFP are due April 24.

However, many are new and larger in scale. Press materials released yesterday suggest the “critical” element to the plan’s success is a new $100 million “Climate Innovation Hub” to be developed at the Brooklyn Army Terminal. “This new space will accelerate commercialization pathways for climate tech startups and other green economy businesses. It will serve 150 startups over 10 years—generating $2.6 billion in economic impact and creating 600 jobs—while providing local workforce training and job placement, particularly for the local Sunset Park community.”

According to the plan’s impact estimates, the Climate Innovation Hub, together with the Trust for Governors Island and the Brooklyn Navy Yard Development Corporation, will create a green economy ecosystem across three campuses that will support 5,000 new permanent jobs, educate and train 2,100 New Yorkers, and generate $55 billion of economic impact.”

The New York City Economic Development Corporation (NYCEDC) and the Mayor’s Office of Talent and Workforce Development (NYCTalent) will lead the plan’s implementation. For example, the plan calls for the NYCTalent to stand up green training centers in each of the boroughs, with a goal of securing more than 12,000 green economy apprenticeships by 2040. Green building and construction jobs will be the focus during an initial pilot program working with 100 people annually.

In a city of 8.8 million people living in the five boroughs and 2.2 million cars registered across the city, according to an Oct 9, 2023 article in the New York Times,  the public EV charging goals of the plan might be considered modest at best: the creation of “the largest EV charging facility in the city” near the JFK airport that would be able to charge only 1,000 vehicles per year. The plan mentions an additional 80 EV chargers being installed across the Brooklyn Navy Yard campus.

The full NYC Green Economy Action Plan is available as a PDF here.

energy, climate change, innovation, tbed