The New York State Public Service Commission on January 21 approved a 10-year, $5 billion Clean Energy Fund that is expected to address climate change and strengthen resiliency in the face of extreme weather.

It will also bolster Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s aggressive Clean Energy Standard, which calls for the state to meet 50% of its electricity needs with renewable resources by 2030.

The governor said in a statement that the $5 billion fund, to be administered by the New York State Energy Research and Development Authority, would operate four major portfolios.

These include activities to stimulate consumer demand for clean energy alternatives and energy efficiency. It will also fund long-term commitment for the state’s growing solar electric market and capitalize the NY Green Bank. Finally, the fund will “spur innovations through research and technology development that will drive clean-tech business growth,” he said.

Cuomo laid out an aggressive climate policy and renewable energy agenda in his January 13 State of the State proposal, reaffirming plans to cut carbon pollution in New York by 40% by 2030 and 80% by 2050. In that proposal, he also outlined plans to phase out the state’s three active coal plants within the next four years.

The 380-MW Huntley Power Station in Tonawanda is expected to close at the end of March, leaving only the 312-MW Cayuga plant outside Ithaca and the 668-MW Somerset facility in Niagara County operating. The Federal Energy Regulatory Commission on January 13 approved the sale of Upstate New York Power Producers’ Cayuga and Somerset plants to Blackstone Group subsidiary Riesling Power.

Sonal Patel, associate editor (@POWERmagazine, @sonalcpatel)