On Tuesday, New York State became the first state in the US to prohibit the use of natural gas and other fossil fuels in new buildings, requiring a transition to renewable energy and electricity once the state's power infrastructure reaches capacity.
As per the Washington Post, New York has become the first state in the US to approve legislation prohibiting the use of natural gas and other fossil fuels in most new buildings, a move that might inspire other states and further weaken the gas industry's residential future.
The legislation essentially demands all-electric heating and cooking in new buildings under seven storeys by 2026, and higher structures by 2029. And, while it allows exemptions for manufacturing plants, restaurants, hospitals, and even car washes, the bill does not do what some climate activists feared it would: it gives cities and counties the authority to override the ban.
The restriction also applies to heating oil and propane, raising concerns about their future use in New York's more rural towns.
According to the Post, natural gas presently provides for 46% of New York's electricity supply. In addition, the state notoriously prohibited hydraulic fracturing, or “fracking,” which has spurred an oil and gas boom in neighboring Pennsylvania.
Under Democratic Party rule, the state is striving toward renewable energy objectives, but lacks California's sunlight and must seek offshore to generate wind generation – a risky option.
Consumers in New York are already paying higher costs, in part owing to a shortage of capacity on the electrical system — and experts warn renewable energy projects will not be enough to replace fossil fuels that are being phased out.
A gas ban also poses legal challenges. The US. The Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals overturned a Berkeley, California restriction, ruling that federal energy power supersedes state and municipal authorities.
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