'A pivotal time': Harris anointed in top job at New York energy development body

  • Apr 08, 2021
  • Recharge News

Doreen Harris has been named president and CEO of the New York State Energy Research and Development Authority (NYSERDA) in the US.

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Harris, who appointed to the post in acting capacity from Alicia Barton last June, was previously vice president of large-scale renewables at the authority.

“We have witnessed Doreen’s unparalleled leadership and passion for clean energy for more than ten years at NYSERDA through her strategic approach to developing and executing on some of the largest clean energy initiatives in the nation,” said board chair Richard Kauffman.

“Doreen brings to NYSERDA a wealth of experience and accomplishments having served in both the private and public sectors which is needed now more than ever as we advance [New York] governor [Andrew] Cuomo’s nation-leading energy goals in tackling global climate change.”

Harris said it was a “pivotal time… for industry-leading actions to rebuild our economy with renewable energy and green jobs while fighting for healthier communities and a more sustainable future for all”.

“Under governor Cuomo, NYSERDA’s assertive, globally significant actions demonstrate important momentum on the achievement of its climate action targets and sends a clear market signal that will help to further drive economic development, deliver savings for consumers, and significantly reduce emissions across the state,” she stated.

“I firmly believe that no challenge poses a greater threat to our future than climate change and no institution is better poised to meet that challenge head-on than NYSERDA,” she wrote on LinkedIn.

Harris’ CV in public and private sector leadership roles stretches back more than 20 years. As vice president of NYSERDA’s large-scale renewables portfolio, Harris was responsible for overseeing the state’s development of land based clean-energy resources, including spearheading new siting legislation for utility-scale projects, and developing New York’s offshore wind initiative, the largest in the US.

She also serves on the boards of the Advanced Energy Research and Technology Center, Alliance to Save Energy, Clean Energy States Alliance and National Offshore Wind Research & Development Consortium.

US President Joe Biden’s administration has marked out a swathe of the New York Bight between Long Island and the New Jersey coast for its first round of competitive Atlantic offshore wind lease area sales, set to launch as early as the fourth quarter.

The Bureau of Ocean Energy Management, the federal industry regulator, said it identified four “priority” zones within the Bight that for administrative purposes will comprise a single Wind Energy Area totalling an estimated 9.6GW of wind power capacity.

New York state aims to have 9GW of offshore wind online by 2035, having awarded almost 4.2GW capacity so far.

The US Department of Energy recently struck a light for the most ambitious scenarios for offshore wind power expansion in the country, setting a “national goal” to have 30GW of turbines turning by the end of the decade spurred forward by a forecast annual capital spend of some $12bn.