New York Makes Historic Investment In Renewable Energy

Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo, D-N.Y, has announced the single largest commitment to renewable energy by a state in U.S. history.

According to the New York State Energy Research and Development Authority (NYSERDA), which selected the new projects through a competitive process, a total of $1.4 billion will advance 26 large-scale renewable energy projects across New York. In addition to 22 utility-scale solar farms, other projects include three wind farms and one hydroelectric project. One of the wind farms features an energy storage component, marking the first time a large-scale renewable energy project has done so in New York State, claims NYSERDA.

Several projects will break ground as early as April, and all projects are expected to be operational by 2022, adding over 1,380 MW of capacity and generating over 3,200,000 MWh annually.

NYSERDA says the projects are expected to generate enough renewable energy to power more than 430,000 homes and create over 3,000 short- and long-term well-paying jobs. The projects also advance the Clean Climate Careers initiative, announced by Cuomo in June 2017. The initiative focuses on accelerating renewable energy and energy efficiency to make New York home to 40,000 new, good-paying clean energy jobs by 2020.

Award recipients were chosen from a pool of 88 applications from 30 clean energy developers. During the competitive selection process, bonus points were awarded to renewable energy projects that demonstrated a commitment to the creation of local jobs and the use of locally manufactured components. The two-step review process also included non-price criteria to evaluate the applications. The criteria included scoring for the developer’s experience in constructing and financing renewable projects; the developer’s previous project development experience in New York; and the project’s development status related to grid interconnection, permitting and site control. Proposals were reviewed and scored by a technical committee of professional independent evaluators.

According to NYSERDA, the projects represent a significant step in advancing Cuomo’s Clean Energy Standard, mandating that 50% of New York’s electricity comes from renewable energy sources by 2030. The new $1.4 billion investment is expected to spur over $3 billion of direct investment over the life of the projects, with support provided by NYSERDA. The weighted average award price for this solicitation is $21.71/MWh of production over the 20-year term of the awarded contracts – which is 11% less than the price awarded through the last two prior years’ awards, says NYSERDA.

“This is an historic moment for New York as we make the largest purchasing commitment to renewable energy by a state in the history of our country,” comments Alicia Barton, president and CEO of NYSERDA. “Achieving 50 percent of New York’s electricity from renewable sources by 2030 is a cornerstone of Governor Cuomo’s nation-leading agenda to fight climate change, and I look forward to watching these projects create jobs, expand our clean energy economy, and provide New Yorkers with clean, reliable power for decades.”

Anne Reynolds, executive director of the Alliance for Clean Energy New York, adds, “It is exciting to see Governor Cuomo’s nation-leading clean energy policies drive on-the-ground wind and solar projects and real job creation. These first contract awards under the new 50 percent Clean Energy Standard show that New York is serious about making progress towards the 50 percent by 2030 target.”

The 26 large-scale renewable energy projects, by region, are as follows:

Capital Region

  • Columbia Solar 1, Columbia County: Hecate Energy will build a 60 MW solar facility in the town of Copake.
  • Darby Solar, Washington County: Granada Solar will build a 19.99 MW solar facility in the town of Easton.
  • Flint Mine Solar, Greene County: Hudson Energy Enterprises will build a 100 MW solar facility in the town of Coxsackie.
  • Greene County Energy Properties, Greene County: Greene County Energy Properties will build a 19.9 MW solar facility in the town of Coxsackie.
  • Pattersonville, Schenectady County: Teichos Energy will build a 19.99 MW solar facility in the town of Pattersonville.

Central New York

  • Janis Solar, Cortland County: Granada Solar will build a 19.99 MW solar facility in the town of Willet.
  • Sky High Solar, Onondaga County: Cypress Creek Renewables will build a 19.99 MW solar facility in the town of Tully.

Finger Lakes

  • Java Solar Energy Center, Wyoming County: Invenergy will build a 1.53 MW solar facility in the town of Java.

Mid-Hudson

  • Blue Stone Solar, Ulster County: Geronimo Energy will build a 19.99 MW solar facility in the town of Saugerties.
  • Daybreak Solar, Ulster County: Geronimo Energy will build a 25 MW solar facility in the town of Shawangunk.
  • Little Pond Solar, Orange County: Cypress Creek Renewables will build a 19.99 MW solar facility in the town of Deerpark.
  • Magruder Solar, Ulster County: Granada Solar will build a 19.99 MW solar facility in the town of Gardiner.

Mohawk Valley

  • Double Lock Solar, Montgomery County: Cypress Creek Renewables will build a 19.99 MW solar facility in the town of Minden.
  • East Point Energy Center, Schoharie County: NextEra Energy will build a 50 MW solar facility in the town of Sharon.
  • Grissom Solar, Fulton County: Granada Solar will build a 19.99 MW solar facility in the town of Mayfield.
  • High River Energy Center, Montgomery County: NextEra Energy will build a 90 MW solar facility in the town of Amsterdam.
  • Rock District Solar, Schoharie County: Cypress Creek Renewables will build a 19.99 MW solar facility in the town of Carlisle.
  • Sunny Knoll Solar, Schoharie County: Cypress Creek Renewables will build a 19.99 MW solar facility in the town of Schoharie.
  • Tayandenega Solar, Montgomery County: Cypress Creek Renewables will build a 19.99 MW solar facility in the town of St. Johnsville.

North Country

  • Lyons Falls Mill Redevelopment, Lewis County: Northbrook Lyons Falls will redevelop an existing hydroelectric facility, leading to an increase in new renewable capacity of 3.23 MW.

Southern Tier

  • Baron Winds, Steuben County: EverPower Wind Holdings Inc. will build a 272 MW wind farm in the towns of Cohocton, Dansville, Fremont and Wayland.
  • Bluestone Wind, Broome County: Calpine Corp. will build a 121.8 MW wind farm, accompanied by 6.2 MW of energy storage, in the towns of Windsor and Sanford.
  • Branscomb Solar, Tioga County: Granada Solar will build a 19.99 MW solar facility in the town of Candor.
  • Puckett Solar, Chenango County: Granada Solar will build a 19.99 MW solar facility in the town of Greene.
  • Regan Solar, Chenango County: Granada Solar will build a 19.99 MW solar facility in the town of Guilford.

Western New York

  • Alle-Catt Wind, Allegany and Cattaraugus County: Invenergy will build a 339.78 MW wind farm in the towns of Arcade, Farmersville, Freedom, Rushford and Centerville.

In response to the news, Abigail Ross Hopper, president and CEO of the Solar Energy Industries Association (SEIA), says in a statement, “We commend Governor Cuomo for this historic commitment to solar energy. These 22 solar projects will create thousands of jobs, generate billions of dollars in investment, and bring clean and affordable energy to the residents of New York state. It is highly rewarding to see that the Empire State has made this groundbreaking investment in solar energy, and we look forward to delivering on the promise that solar energy offers to New Yorkers.”

Building on the momentum of these project awards, NYSERDA will issue the next solicitation for large-scale renewable energy under the Clean Energy Standard on April 25. NYSERDA says maintaining a predictable pace of annual solicitations for renewable energy will support continued development and investment interest in New York State and establish New York as a leading market for renewable energy development in the U.S.

In the April 25 solicitation, NYSERDA will build upon the successful 2017 solicitation by including several new provisions:

  • NYSERDA will require that prevailing wage, a standard set by the Department of Labor, be paid for large-scale renewable energy jobs as a contract term in future solicitations. The state will also further explore labor standards, project labor agreements and other measures to ensure projects going forward continue to produce quality, well-paying jobs for New Yorkers;
  • To help meet Cuomo’s commitment to deploy 1.5 GW of energy storage by 2025, NYSERDA will seek to encourage proposals that cost-effectively pair renewable energy with advanced energy storage technologies; and
  • To preserve and protect valuable agricultural resources, the request for proposals will seek additional information to ensure that renewable energy projects selected for awards do not impose unacceptable impacts on New York State’s farmlands.

NYSERDA anticipates making awards in September and issuing a subsequent solicitation, if needed, in November.

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