GSG hosts Doreen M. Harris, President and CEO of NYSERDA, to Discuss the State’s Energy and Infrastructure Outlook

Last week, GSG hosted our latest The Inside Scoop with GSG event – a speaker series featuring leaders in New York City and State. Doreen M. Harris, President and CEO of the New York State Energy Research and Development Authority (NYSERDA), provided invaluable insights into the pressing issues surrounding clean energy, infrastructure, and more.  

Appointed as NYSERDA’s President and CEO in April 2021, Doreen M. Harris has been instrumental in steering the organization towards a sustainable future. Her journey, however, began long before her official appointment, as she had been serving in an acting capacity since June 2020 and had been an integral part of NYSERDA since 2010. Notably, she co-chairs New York’s Climate Action Council, underscoring her commitment to driving impactful change. As Harris highlighted, the world finds itself in a vastly different circumstance from when she first joined NYSERDA. The enactment of the Cap-and-Invest Program, with its ambitious renewable energy goals, has set a new trajectory for New York State. With near-term targets looming on the horizon, the focus has shifted towards building resilient clean energy infrastructure and electrifying various sectors of society. 

The transition towards a decarbonized economy is not without its hurdles. Harris delved into the intricacies of implementing regulatory frameworks that require extensive feedback and navigating the role of natural gas and other fossil fuels in this transition phase. Amidst the complexity, there’s a concerted effort to ensure reliability while embracing emerging technologies and renewable resources. Harris emphasized the importance of affordability and accessibility, particularly for underserved populations. Initiatives like the Consumer Climate Action Account aim to ensure that the benefits of Cap-and-Invest are shared inclusively. As NYSERDA approaches its 50th anniversary, Harris’s focus remains on tackling the biggest challenges, including zero-emission reconstruction in the building sector and funding energy-intensive industries.