The New York State Energy Research and Development Authority (NYSERDA) has reached agreements on two municipally owned sites for potential renewable energy development.
Under these memorandums of understanding, NYSERDA will work closely with Tompkins County in the Southern Tier and Orange County in the Hudson Valley through its Build-Ready Program to explore developing renewable energy projects on otherwise underutilized lands.
This represents progress under the state’s Accelerated Renewable Energy Growth and Community Benefit Act and advances New York’s goal for 70% of its electricity to come from renewable sources by 2030.
The first MOU was executed by NYSERDA and Tompkins County following a resolution passed in relation to a closed solid waste landfill. The Caswell Road Landfill took in an average of 29,400 tons of waste per year for 15 years until closing in 1985.
The 112-acre site will potentially host a large-scale renewable solar energy project on the capped landfill and adjacent area to bring new economic growth and opportunity to the local community. This potential project would advance progress towards the county’s goal of net-zero emissions while transitioning from outsourced grid-supplied electricity to local renewable generation.
This project also complements efforts by Empire State Development’s Southern Tier Regional Economic Development Council to invest in the development of industry clusters while ensuring healthy communities and the protection of the region’s integrity.
“The potential to generate solar energy from the Caswell Road site is huge. Tompkins County has aggressive goals on [becoming] a net-zero organization, [and] generating electricity from solar on otherwise dormant land is a great opportunity,” says Tompkins County Legislature Chairwoman Shawna Black.
The second MOU was executed by NYSERDA with Orange County. Located on the county’s former landfill (which closed in 1992), the site spans 420 acres and is under consideration for hosting a large-scale solar project. This potential project would complement the existing solar array at the emergency operations center; the combined heat and power renovations at the Valley View facility; geothermal design with ground source heat pumps for the proposed medical examiner’s building; LED lighting installation in various county buildings; and the county’s first three electric vehicle charging stations.
Entering into these MOUs will allow NYSERDA to evaluate the prospects of these large-scale renewable energy projects. If there is local acceptance, strong project feasibility, and agreement to move forward between NYSERDA and the counties, NYSERDA will initiate development activities through detailed engineering, interconnection and permitting.
The Build-Ready Program is currently advancing a pipeline of sites across New York State. Local community members, elected officials, private companies, environmental justice communities or other interested parties are encouraged to nominate potential Build-Ready sites through the program’s request for information.