October 19, 2016

Brattle Economists Contribute to City of New York’s Roadmap to 80 x 50 Report

A team of Brattle consultants has contributed to the recently released report, “New York City’s Roadmap to 80 x 50,” published by the New York City Mayor’s Office of Sustainability. To support the Mayor’s Office, the Brattle team analyzed the change in energy-sector greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions resulting from more than six future scenarios. These scenarios explored the impacts of aggressive energy efficiency efforts, off-shore wind, and the continuance of low natural gas prices on the emissions footprint of New York City.

The report itself provides an in-depth, integrated analysis across sectors – buildings, energy, transportation, and waste – to understand potential strategies for New York City to achieve an 80 percent reduction in GHG emissions by 2050, or 80 x 50. The report modeled GHG emissions and potential reductions across the four sectors based on existing policies and explored key portfolios of strategies necessary to achieve 80 x 50. The three main portfolios analyzed were: 1.) business as usual (BAU), which includes projected growth, existing state and federal regulations, and City programs and policies that were in place before 2014; 2.) BAU plus recently launched initiatives, such as the 2016 Energy Code, NYC Clean Fleet, and Zero Waste; and 3.) additional strategies and actions that could be deployed to achieve 80 x 50. These portfolios of strategies were also analyzed considering uncertainties beyond the control of the City, such as the evolution of renewable energy technology costs.

The analysis shows that in order to reach 80 x 50, New York City will need to achieve a significant portion of its GHG reductions as a result of a dramatic shift towards a renewables-based grid. This shift towards renewables must overcome the anticipated retirement of nuclear facilities prior to 2050 and will be supported by the implementation of New York State’s Clean Energy Standard and the declining cost of renewable energy. Large-scale renewable energy sources, including off-shore wind, utility-scale land-side solar and wind, and hydropower – and the transmission of these resources into New York City’s electricity grid – will likely play an important role in making this vision a reality.

The report can be view on the New York City Mayor's Office of Sustainability website.