Just Transitions & Energy

Our nation’s dependency on fossil fuels and unchecked energy consumption continues to have important environmental justice implications, including the siting of power plants and other energy infrastructure. NYC-EJA has collaborated with several partners to ensure that energy planning and economic development in NYC are conducted equitably, and that low-income and communities of color do not continue to bear an overwhelming burden.

NY Renews is an unprecedented statewide cross-sector alliance of over 370 environmental, justice, faith, labor, community groups, and other advocates from across New York State working together to demand healthy communities, good jobs, 100% clean, renewable energy, environmental justice, and worker protection. Co-founded by NYC-EJA, NY Renews is the driving force behind the nation’s most progressive and ambitious climate action law, the Climate Leadership and Community Protection Act (CLCPA), passed in 2019. The CLCPA – which mandates 100% net zero emissions economy-wide by 2050 – creates a Just Transition energy policy by including strong protections for communities on the front lines of the climate and environmental crisis and provides important tools to ensure racial and economic equity in applying emission reduction policies. The CLCPA created the category of “disadvantaged communities”, which now requires NYS to commit 35-40% of the state’s total clean energy funding to these disproportionately vulnerable frontline communities (NYC-EJA and one of our members UPROSE both had our Executive Directors appointed to NYS’s first-ever Climate Justice Working Group which created the disadvantaged communities criteria.) The CLCPA inspired President Biden’s climate laws, including Justice40.

NY Renews is currently organizing around the Climate, Jobs, and Justice Package (CJJP), a legislative roadmap to help fund the CLCPA to rapidly decarbonize New York State, make our state healthier and more equitable, ensure a just transition for workers, and help create an accessible clean-energy economy that will benefit the New Yorkers of today and tomorrow.

  • A critical piece of the CJJP is the passage the People’s Climate Justice Budge, which calls for investing in NYS’s newly minted Climate Action Fund, created in 2023.
  • The People’s Climate Justice Budget outlines $1 Billion in funding to critical, shovel-ready climate and environmental justice projects for a pollution-free, resilient climate future built by workers with good union jobs, thereby ensuring a healthy, livable state for future generations.

For more information or to get involved, visit the NY Renews website.

Co-led by NYC-EJA and ALIGN, Climate Works for All (CW4A) is a city-wide coalition of labor, environmental justice, community, and faith groups united to ensure that efforts to address climate change in NYC also create good, career-track jobs and prioritize low-income, climate-vulnerable communities. Our campaigns demand a Just Transition and aim to move us towards an equitable economy that prioritizes justice for low-income Black and Brown communities while building a resilient, livable, and healthy climate across NYC.

CW4A’s mission is to decarbonize and make resilient NYC’s building sector (which contributes to over 70% of city-wide emissions) while centering workers and environmental justice communities. In 2019, the coalition achieved a landmark victory with the passage of the NYC Climate Mobilization Act, the centerpiece is Local Law 97, which requires buildings larger than 25,000 square feet to meet strict greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions limits starting in 2024.

CW4A is also campaigning to implement Green Healthy Schools across NYC. The campaign calls on the City to install solar panels and conduct deep retrofits in all K-12 public schools, prioritizing those in environmental justice communities. These retrofits will help the City enhance air quality, reduce emissions, create green career jobs, and foster resilient communities.

For more information about campaigns, visit the Climate Works for All website.

REVitalize is a collaboration between NYC-EJA, PUSH Buffalo, The POINT CDC, We Stay/Nos Quedamos and UPROSE, to address the opportunities and challenges associated with community energy planning and community-owned renewable energy and energy storage. As part of this process, REVitalize seeks to create a replicable planning model where local grassroots organizations carry out baseline research to identify their community’s energy needs, articulate goals and objectives to address them, and identify resources for implementation. NYC-EJA provides technical assistance to the four community-based organizations in developing their plans. NYC-EJA and REVitalize partners facilitate dialogues with public officials and agencies to target and dismantle state regulatory barriers to community-co-owned renewable energy projects, as well as articulate policy and programmatic recommendations to inform future government-community partnerships and support community-based energy planning.

When energy demand in New York City spikes above normal levels, highly polluting power plants known as “peakers” fire up in the South Bronx, Sunset Park, and other environmental justice communities, spewing harmful emissions (i.e., NOx, SOx, PM2.5) into neighborhoods overburdened by pollution – communities that are also emerging as among the most hard-hit by the deadly respiratory virus COVID-19. The PEAK coalition—UPROSE, THE POINT CDC, New York City Environmental Justice Alliance (NYC-EJA), New York Lawyers for the Public Interest (NYLPI), and Clean Energy Group (CEG)— came together to end the long-standing pollution burden from power plants on the city’s most climate-vulnerable people. This coalition is the first comprehensive effort in the U.S. to reduce the negative and racially disproportionate health impacts of a city’s peaker plants by fighting to replace them with renewable energy and storage solutions. Our collaboration brings technical, legal, public health, and planning expertise to support organizing and advocacy led by communities harmed by peaker plant emissions. Together with communities, we are advocating for a system of localized renewable energy generation and battery storage to replace peaker plants, reduce emissions, lower energy bills, and make the electricity system more resilient in the face of increased storms and climate impacts. Visit our PEAK Coalition website and read our 2020 report “Dirty Energy, Big Money” here.

The Renewable Rikers vision emerged from conversations about the post-carceral future of the island, led by survivors of Rikers who advocated for its closure in partnership with environmental justice leaders. Renewable Rikers is led by criminal justice, environmental justice, and environmental advocates. In 2021, the Renewable Rikers coalition pushed the NYC Council to pass the Renewable Rikers Act, which transfers jurisdiction of Rikers Island from the Department of Correction (DOC) to the Department of Citywide Administrative Services (DCAS) and mandates two feasibility studies on the island’s potential to generate and store renewable energy and host a wastewater treatment plant thereby reducing related emissions generated by polluting infrastructure in environmental justice communities. Under the Act, DOC will be prohibited from operating jails on the island after August 31, 2027. Renewable Rikers can demonstrate how to actualize a Just Transition in NYC. The vision is a world where communities long victimized by both the carceral state and environmental racism can finally see a measure of true justice on the horizon.

To learn more, visit the Renewable Rikers website and read the factsheet.

NYC-EJA co-leads an effort alongside Northeast members of the Climate Justice Alliance and other allied organizations in engaging Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative’s (RGGI) Third Program Review process. As a coalition, we expressed serious concerns about cap-and-trade systems, urged RGGI to adopt a zero-emissions cap by 2040, ensure proportionate investments go to environmental justice communities, and investigates whether RGGI program is leading to disproportionate emission reductions across RGGI participating states.

Ravenswood Generating Station is the largest fossil fuel power plant in New York State, sited just across the street from North America’s largest public housing development. NYC-EJA is working to close Ravenswood Generating Station by advocating for a suite of solutions, including offshore wind, district heating, transmission, and battery storage with the goal of a Just Transition for Ravenswood. Through this campaign, we have also led the effort to pass the Just Energy Transition Act, which will mandate New York State to transition at least 4GW of fossil fuel power plants with zero-emission resources that protect the jobs, health, and environment of all New Yorkers.

New York’s landmark Climate Act mandates that 9GW of offshore wind be developed by 2035. Working alongside UPROSE, NYC-EJA is working to ensure that the development of the offshore wind industry and its associated “green gold rush” will be the critical force needed to help uplift communities burdened by polluting power plants and become a long-term investment that equitally benefit environmental justice communities.


  •  In 2023, through the Climate Works for All coalition, NYC-EJA advocated for the passage of Local Law 77, which requires the NYC Department of Buildings to release regulations on limiting the use of Renewable Energy Credits (RECs) to comply with our building decarbonization legislation Local Law 97, which would reduce emissions in the biggest polluting sector in NYC-buildings.

  • In June 2023, REVitalize welcomed its newest partner, NYC-EJA member WE STAY/Nos Quedamos, which is developing rooftop and deployable solar and battery projects in the South Bronx.

  • In May 2023, PEAK celebrated the start of the Peaker Rule, a NYS Department of Environmental Conservation regulation that will curb peaker plants from operating during the hottest months of the year. The Peaker Rule directly led to the voluntary retirement of several peaker plants.

  • In fall of 2023, after years of advocacy and subsequent litigation process, NYC-EJA and the PEAK Coalition led a successful campaign to deny NRG Astoria from repowering their peaker plants, and led to the sale of the property to an offshore wind developer for interconnecting clean energy.

  • In April 2022, New York Power Authority (NYPA) released the Small Clean Power Plant Adaptation Study in consultation with PEAK Coalition, confirming the technical possibility of transitioning NYPA peaker plants in New York City individually to battery storage by 2030. NYPA subsequently issued an RFP to begin the process of transitioning some of their peaker plants off fossil fuels.

  • In December 2021, PEAK celebrated the withdrawal of the Article 10 process by Eastern Generation LLC on the Gowanus Repowering Project, which will replace old and harmful peaker plants in Sunset Park with new sets of fossil fuel generators to continue polluting the community. This news comes as PEAK Coalition and allies pressured to deny NRG’s Astoria plant repowering by New York State DEC, citing CLCPA mandates. Eastern Generation’s decision to build battery storage capacity is consistent with PEAK’s goal to retire all New York peaker plants with renewable generation and storage. Read the press release here.

  • In October 2021, NYSDEC rejected the Title V air permit for Astoria Gas Turbine Power, LLC, effectively halting Astoria Replacement Project. This decision removes the threat of pollution that would result in public health impacts to environmental justice communities. The decision by DEC cites the project’s non-compliance with the requirements of the CLCPA, the first ruling of its kind citing the 2019 legislation. The PEAK Coalition and allies joined the over 6,600 public comments calling for DEC’s rejection of the permit. Shout out to our allies in the NY Renews coalition for ushering in a new era with the CLCPA!

  • In October 2020, PEAK announced its groundbreaking agreement with the New York Power Authority (NYPA) to work towards replacing the state authority’s existing NYC  peaker plants with renewable energy and battery storage. The partnership will collaborate to “evaluate the potential to replace NYPA’s existing peaker units, augment and otherwise install renewable and battery storage systems at NYPA’s New York City sites and surrounding communities.”

  • In response to the COVID-19 economic and public health crisis of 2020, Climate Works for All is building broad coalition support for a climate, jobs and justice stimulus plan to put frontline communities of color back to work. Read our 2020 report: An Equitable Recovery: Creating 100,000 Climate Jobs for Frontline Communities of Color.

  • In May 2020, PEAK released its first publication titled Dirty Energy, Big Money which brought to light that over the last decade, an estimated $4.5 billion of ratepayer money—in the form of what are called “capacity payments”—have gone to the owners of the city’s polluting peaker plants, simply to keep peakers online in case they may be needed.

  • NYC-EJA staff and allies were appointed to various advisory committees for the CLCPA, including the Power Generation, Transportation, Land Use and Local Government, Waste, and Energy-Intensive and Trade-Exposed Industries Advisory Panels.

  • Implementation of the CLCPA will be overseen by the Climate Action Council, and the definition of disadvantaged communities will be determined by the Climate Justice Working Group, to which our Executive Director has been appointed.

  • NY Renews had a landmark victory in 2019 with the passage of the NYS Climate Leadership and Community Protection Act (originally CCPA), which sets NY on a path to a carbon-neutral economy by 2050, requiring 85% emissions reductions economy-wide. This historic law also centers racial and economic justice by requiring that 35-40% of State spending on clean energy and energy efficiency benefit disadvantaged communities.

  • In 2019, thanks to grassroots efforts by Climate Works for All, NYC passed the Climate Mobilization Act, a suite of progressive climate policies that included the Dirty Buildings Law, Local Law 97 – which requires that NYC’s largest and most polluting buildings reduce their energy usage drastically, creating good, green jobs in the process.

  • In response to NYC-EJA’s and other allies advocacy efforts, Power NY mandates (for the first time) the development of environmental impact analyses and mitigation that prevents any net increases to an environmental justice community’s total local air pollution levels before a power plant siting can be approved.

  • In 1995, NYC-EJA launched the City’s first green jobs training program, then known as the Minority Workers Training Program. NYC-EJA is a co-founder of the New York City Apollo Alliance and is a partner in their living wage green jobs campaign in NYC; at the State level, NYC-EJA works with the Center for Working Families on NYS green jobs strategies.

City & State: Energy & Environment Power 100 (12/20/2020)
The Auto Channel: Hydrogen Hype in the Air (12/14/2020)
Grist: NYC removes peaker blinders(10/16/2020)
The New Republic: Turn Rikers Island Into a Solar Farm (06/19/2020)
City and State NY: Energy & Environment Power 50; 6-50 (12/22/2019)
Gotham Gazette: Offshore Wind, Offshore Justice (03/13/2018)
New York State Pressroom: Governor Cuomo Announces Major Climate and Jobs Initiative (06/02/2017)
El Diaro NY: Proteger Nuestro Medioambiente (05/31/2016)
Capitol Confidential: Praise For Power NY(08/04/2011)