According the Renewable Heat NY website this program provides incentives toward the installed costs of high-efficiency, low-emission wood heating systems for homeowners and businesses without access to natural gas. The program was announced by Governor Cuomo in his 2014 State of the State address as “a long-term commitment to help the high-efficiency and low-emission biomass heating industry reach scale.”
It appears that this program is primarily funded by auction proceeds from the Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative. The recent update to the RGGI Operating Plan describes the expected benefits: “reduced GHG emissions relative to oil heat alternatives, increased energy bill savings, and the creation or retention of jobs in New York. The description goes on to state:
The program will reduce New Yorkers’ energy bills while providing significant environmental benefits. Included among these benefits are GHG reductions that stem from the replacement of fossil-fuel heating devices, and public health benefits related to the replacement and recycling of outdoor and indoor wood boilers with advanced technology cord wood boilers and pellet boilers. Renewable Heat NY will also create and retain jobs in New York State’s biomass industry by supporting New York State manufacturers of high-efficiency, low-emission wood heat technologies, and by providing needed training in hydronic biomass heating to qualify contractors and installers for the program.
The update also summarizes the financial commitments and the expected benefits of the program. The total incentive costs are $7.2 million. The net energy benefits are 4,755 mmBtu per year and 95,907 mmBtu over the lifetime of the program. The net greenhouse gas emission reductions are expected to be 413 tons of CO2e annually and 8,263 tons of CO2e over the lifetime of the program. The cost benefit ratio of the emission reductions is 19,301 $ per ton of CO2e.
Clearly this is not an effective GHG emission reduction program. If the REV 80 by 50 goal was dependent upon this program it would fail but it also shows that proponents of the program necessarily have to implement as many programs as possible.