New York


Select Economic and Energy Data Value State Rank
Real Gross Domestic Product, per capita $49,499 3rd highest
Unemployment 8.8% 24th lowest
Gasoline Price, per gallon $2.94 7th highest
Electricity Price, per kWh 15.66¢ 3rd highest

New York has some of the highest energy prices in the country. Its electricity prices are 58 percent higher than the national average. New York gets about two-thirds of its electricity from nuclear power and natural gas, and New York has imposed a number of regulations that increase the cost of energy and the products that use energy. Nuclear power provides over 30 percent of the state’s electricity from four nuclear plants, and natural gas generation contributes about the same amount. Coal produces about 10 percent of the state’s electricity, and hydroelectric power plants on the Niagara and Hudson Rivers typically provide about 20 percent of the electricity production.

New York generates more electricity from hydroelectricity than any other state east of the Rocky Mountains. When the 2,353-megawatt Robert Moses Niagara power plant near Niagara Falls was completed in 1961, it was the largest hydroelectric power plant in the western world.[i] Non-hydroelectric renewables contribute about 3 percent of the state’s generation, with production from wind, wood, municipal solid waste and landfill gas.

New York has minor reserves of oil and natural gas found in the western part of the state. Most of its natural gas is delivered by pipeline from the Gulf Coast and Canada.

Regulatory Impediments to Affordable Energy

Although affordable energy is a vital component of a healthy economy, regulations frequently increase energy costs. Regulations imposed in the name of reducing carbon dioxide and greenhouse gas emissions are especially costly. Carbon dioxide is a natural byproduct of the combustion of all carbon-containing fuels, such as natural gas, petroleum, coal, wood, and other organic materials. Today, there is no cost-effective way to capture the carbon dioxide output of the combustion of these fuels, so any regulations that limit carbon dioxide emissions will either limit the use of natural gas, petroleum, and coal, or dramatically increase their prices.

Below are some facts about New York’s regulatory environment that are likely to affect the cost of energy or the cost of using energy. New York’s has imposed a number of costly regulations.

  • New York does not cap greenhouse gas emissions, but the 2002 State Energy Plan included non-binding goals cut greenhouse gas emissions to 5 percent below 1990 levels by 2010 and 10 percent below 1990 levels by 2020.[ii] Also, as a member of the Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative, New York has imposed a cap on greenhouse gas emissions from power plants.
  • New York is a member of the Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative (RGGI), a regional agreement among ten Northeast states to limit greenhouse gas emissions. This agreement requires states to cap carbon dioxide emissions from the electrical generation sector and to reduce those emissions by 10 percent by 2018 through a cap-and-trade scheme.
  • New York requires utilities to generate from renewable sources a certain percentage of the electricity they sell. Updated January 2010, the state’s renewable portfolio standard requires utilities to provide 30 percent of electricity from renewables by 2015. Of this 30 percent, approximately 19.3 percent of the target will be derived from existing (2004) renewable energy facilities and one percent (1 percent) of the target is expected to be met through voluntary green power sales.[iii]
  • New York does not require gasoline to be mixed with renewable fuels. However, New York requires that motorists in the New York metropolitan area use reformulated gasoline blended with ethanol.[iv]
  • New York imposes automobile fuel economy standards similar to California’s, which include attempts to regulate greenhouse gas emissions from new vehicles. The New York State Environmental Board adopted California’s vehicle emissions standards in 2005.[v]
  • New York requires new residential and commercial buildings to meet energy efficiency standards. Residential and commercial buildings must meet the New York Energy Conservation Construction Code, which is based on the 2004 International Energy Conservation Code (IECC) and ASHRAE 90.1-2004. The IECC (developed by the International Code Council) and ASHRAE 90.1 (developed by the American Society of Heating and Refrigeration and Air Conditioning Engineers) are model codes that mandate certain energy efficiency standards. In 2001, Governor George Pataki issued Executive Order 111, requiring executive state agencies to reduce energy consumption 35 percent from 1990 levels by 2010 in buildings they own, lease, or operate.[vi] State agencies must also purchase Energy Star products when acquiring or replacing energy-using equipment. Governor Pataki also committed the state to buy 20 percent of its electricity from renewable sources by 2010. Executive Order 111 also requires new state construction and substantial renovation to meet the U.S. Green Building Council’s Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) standards to the extent possible. New state buildings must also exceed the state energy code by at least 20 percent, while substantial renovations should exceed the code by at least 10 percent. Assembly Bill 7246, enacted in 2009, directs the state Office of General Services to develop requirements for all state entities to meet LEED or equivalent standards.[vii]
  • New York imposes state-based appliances energy efficiency standards. These standards currently affect consumer audio and video products and digital television adapters. However, the Secretary of State can, in consultation with New York State Energy Research and Development Authority, add any additional commercially available products that are not covered under existing federal standards.[viii]
  • New York allows electric and natural gas utilities to “decouple” revenue from the sale of electricity and natural gas, respectively. By allowing utilities to decouple, New York allows utilities to increase their revenue by selling less electricity and natural gas.

[i] New York Power Authority, Niagara Power Project,

Data Sources: Real GDP per capita 2008: Bureau of Economic Analysis, News Release: GDP by State (June 2, 2009), state/gsp_newsrelease.htm; Unemployment: Bureau of Labor Statistics, Regional and State Employment and Unemployment–February 2010 (Mar. 10, 2010); Gasoline Prices: American Automobile Association, AAA Daily Fuel Gauge Report (Mar. 30, 2010); Electricity Prices: Energy Information Administration, Electric Power Monthly, Table 5.6.B., Average Retail Price of Electricity,  (March 15, 2010),; Electricity Generation Data: Energy Information Administration, Electricity Generation 2009,

[ii] New York State Energy Plan, Section 1.3: Energy Policy Objectives and Recommendations,

[iii] Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory, Renewables Portfolio Standards in the United States,

[iv] Energy Information Administration, New York, Apr. 8, 2010,

[v] New York Department of Environmental Conservation, Regulations, Ch. III, Subpart 218-8: Greenhouse Gas Exhaust Emission Standards,

[vi] N.Y. Exec. Order No. 111 (June 10, 2001),

[vii] A.B. 7246-B (2009),

[viii] Database of State Incentives for Renewables and Efficiency, New York Appliance and Equipment Energy Efficiency Standards,

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