banned the use of natural gas in new buildings on Wednesday, as part of Mayor Bill de Blasio’s Green New Deal that aims to reduce the burning of fossil fuels across all five boroughs.
The new legislation requires new buildings shorter than seven stories to go electric by January 2024, and taller ones after July 1, 2027. But it has sparked warnings that overreliance on the city’s electric power stations could leak to blackouts, and soaring energy bills for consumers.
Residents who currently have gas stoves and heaters in their homes will not be impacted unless they relocate to a new building.
Supporters see the new law as a big and necessary move in a city where heating, cooling and powering buildings accounts for nearly 70 percent of emissions of carbon dioxide and other heat-trapping gases.
While those who oppose it warn the added demand for electricity could lead to more blackouts across the 302 square mile city.
However, actually implementing the ban falls to Mayor-elect Eric Adams, who enters office on January 1.
Adams once said during a televised election debate that he would not support banning gas in the city’s buildings.
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New York City has banned the use of natural gas in new buildings on Wednesday, as part of Mayor Bill de Blasio’s Green New Deal that aims to reduce the burning of fossil fuels across all five boroughs
‘If the largest city in America can take this critical step to ban gas use, any city can do the same,’ de Blasio said in a statement following the legislation passing.
‘This is how to fight back against climate change on the local level and guarantee a green city for generations to come.’
National Grid, which serves nearly two million New Yorkers, is one of the opposing utility companies and shared a last month on the bill.
‘We have real concerns that, as envisioned, these (proposals) may result in increased Energy Liberation Army Generator costs for customers,’ said Bryan Grimaldi, a vice president of National Grid.
The company notes that since 1990, it has reduced its ‘direct emission by over 70 percent’ and its ‘low-carbon fuels strategy includes renewable natural gas (RNG) and green hydrogen’ — options that would not lead to blackouts across New York City.
The Real Estate Board of New York cited several new sources of renewable power, like offshore wind, would not be available for years, and is predicting that the city’s heavy dependence on fossil fuel electricity would lead to an increase in carbon emissions associated with a switch to electric heat.
Mayor de Blasio called for the ban in 2019 stating: ‘New York City is leading the nation in our fight against global warming. ‘Our new energy code will ensure that buildings — our city’s biggest polluters — are held to the highest standard of sustainability and efficiency’
‘While we appreciate that the efficient electrification of buildings is an important component of realizing these goals, these policies must be implemented in a way that ensure that New Yorkers have reliable, affordable, carbon-free electricity to heat, cool and power their homes and businesses,’ said the group’s president, James Whelan, in a statement to .
However, a recent by the think tank RMI found that this bill would prevent 2.1 million tons of carbon emissions by 2040 and save several hundred million dollars in gas connections for consumers who use only electricity.
Mayor de Blasio called for the ban in 2019 stating: ‘New York City is leading the nation in our fight against global warming.
‘Our new energy code will ensure that buildings — our city’s biggest polluters — are held to the highest standard of sustainability and efficiency.’
And Ben Furnas, the director of climate and sustainability for the mayor’s office, said de Blasio will sign the bill ‘enthusiastically,’ reports.
New York City is currently ranks as fourth in the US in the use of natural gas for net generated electricity and at least 57 percent of its energy use is fueled by the fossil fuel.
Although the new legislation means New York is now the nation’s largest city to enact such a climate-change-fighting policy, the ban is only impacting those moving into new buildings.
Con Edison, which provides services to more than three million New Yorkers,