Mamdani, who serves on the Assembly’s energy committee, sees BPRA’s defeat this year as a mandate to elect more people with organizing backgrounds to serve in Albany. DSA is currently backing a slate of primary challengers to boost their numbers in the New York legislature; their elections are later this month. “I don’t think we need to get to a point where we have a numerical majority,” he said of DSA-backed elected officials. “What we need is a set of socialist organizer electeds who will go into this body, organize it and ensure they are punching above their weight,” Mamdani argues. “There simply aren’t enough of us in that body doing that work of whipping and organizing and counting.”
The fiercest opposition to the BPRA came from the Independent Power Producers of New York (IPPNY) and the Alliance for Clean Energy New York (ACE NY), trade lobbies for merchant power generators who sell on to New York’s grid. As in other deregulated systems, New York’s investor-owned utilities—which distribute power—are barred from also generating it. Instead they procure it via the New York Independent System Operator (NYISO), which connects generation capacity (largely owned by private companies) with utilities that sell electricity to consumers. NYPA currently owns and operates a third of New York’s transmission lines, as well as a fleet of generation facilities that provide about a quarter of the state’s electricity. The BPRA would require NYPA to close its fossil fueled generation facilities by 2030, and affirms its ability to build, own and operate large-scale renewables.
In a memo opposing the bill, IPPNY and ACE NY called it “unnecessary,” arguing that private companies were already well on the way to achieving the goals set out by the the Climate and Community Protection Act (CLCPA) in 2019, to achieve 100 percent zero-emissions electricity by 2040. “Clearly, renewable energy and energy storage industries are investing in New York today, and there is no evidence,” the memo states, “that the CLCPA’s requirements cannot be met by private developers,” who (they argue) have a proven track record of building renewables that NYPA would be hard-pressed to improve upon.