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Environment ∙ Jobs

Building Our Way into the 21st Century

New York City has been too slow in making a meaningful transition to clean energy. Narrow special interest groups have had too much power over major projects, keeping New York from fulfilling its potential for green infrastructure projects and job creation. With the expected federal funding for infrastructure, New York City needs to think big and build the political will to execute on transformational projects. 

As NYSERDA has highlighted, green projects, such as battery energy storage solutions, are essential to a resilient and reliable power grid, the adoption of sustainable energy generation, and a clean energy economy. Technologies such as these are the way forward to create jobs and sustain our environment. 

For example, Microgrids Network (MGN), a group that exclusively develops renewable energy and resilient grid systems, is building the first battery storage system that will help New York City reduce its reliance on fossil fuels and transition to a clean economy. This will help reduce electricity brownouts and outages, provide emergency power and deliver energy cost savings to ratepayers. MGN has raised close to $200 million in private investment with plans to build dozens of battery storage projects around New York City, which would create thousands of jobs over the next three to four years.

Unfortunately, the battery storage projects have been bogged down in the City’s convoluted permitting process, which requires multiple overlapping reviews by as many as four separate agencies, much of which is still conducted through the exchange of letters. In the case of the Williamsburg project, the permitting process delayed the construction start by 18 months - even though construction itself will only take 3-4 months. On April 12, 2021 Andrew Yang participated in the groundbreaking for MGN’s new battery storage system. Across the five boroughs, dozens of major projects like the Williamsburg battery storage system are stalled by bureaucracy, burdensome permitting requirements, and long-standing political battles. 

New York City is notorious for its byzantine permitting process for everything from a minor renovation to new construction. The system is plagued by vague requirements, caprice, and long delays that create uncertainty for developers, making it more expensive to build and ultimately driving housing costs higher. The City’s review of new permits and renovations must be thorough, but need not be lengthy and opaque.

Andrew Yang commits to streamlining City permitting for constructing and development so we can get shovels in the ground for priority projects. 

To create a culture that rewards action and directly addresses one of the chief sources of building paralysis, Andrew will commit to cutting permitting time in half for affordable housing, clean energy, and major infrastructure projects

In order to achieve this goal, Andrew will:

  • Hire more permitting staff.
  • Build in-house expertise on priority project types like new energy systems.
  • Direct City agencies like DOB and FDNY to simplify the permitting process. 
  • Put in place technology to improve coordination and provide transparency. 
  • Enable applications for closely related projects to be processed on the basis of exceptions from prior successful permits, rather than having to start from scratch for every project.

Andrew will help businesses like MGN to get shovels in the ground and projects built. By working with the private sector and focusing on shovel-ready and shovel-worthy projects, we can build 21st century projects for a 21st century economy.