Dennis Elsenbeck Discusses New York’s Climate Leadership and Community Protection Act

Energy Consultant Says There Are Ways To Make New Climate Law Work For Everybody

By Ryan Whalen
PUBLISHED 4:04 PM ET Jun. 27, 2019 PUBLISHED 4:04 PM EDT Jun. 27, 2019 UPDATED 4:24 PM ET Jun. 27, 2019
 
BUFFALO, N.Y. — New York’s Climate Leadership and Community Protection Act accelerated the state’s efforts to eliminate greenhouse gas emissions, targeting 40 percent reduction from the 1990 level by 2030 and 85 percent by 2050.

“Achieving a carbon neutral means you are going to mitigate, reduce or minimize as much as you possibly can, any fossil-generated use of fuel so that it’s more about the renewable energy,” Phillips Lytle Energy Consultant Dennis Elsenbeck said.

The legislation creates an advisory group consisting of state agency commissioners and appointments made by the governor, and the state Senate and Assembly minority and majority conferences. The group is tasked with setting a policy agenda to reach those goals.

“What’s the return on the investment? I get the environmental excitement. I really do but we don’t have to do that at the expense of good economic future,” Elsenbeck said.

Elsenbeck acts as a liaison and a policy interpreter for private sector clients. He said the legislation provides a lot of opportunities for businesses to utilize state incentives to reach environmental benchmarks.

Elsenbeck believes businesses and state agencies need to align objectives to reward performance rather than simply predetermining what a company has to do.

“Just building something bigger because it has a higher contribution to this overall goal, doesn’t mean you’re being effective and it doesn’t mean you’re providing value to the marketplace or to the taxpayer, by the way,” he said.

New York already pledged $5.3 billion several years ago toward its energy goals and Elsenbeck believes that investment could increase by billions.

“I don’t know what the actual number is,” he said. “It will be big.”

However, he believes if the state looks at addressing market issues like limited capacity and aging infrastructure, taxpayers will see the results in their utility bills and be more understanding of the public expense.