New York streamlines power plant siting – boon to renewable energy
New York is on a roll when it comes to reasonably historic legislation, and the new power plant siting legislation signed into law by Governor Andrew Cuomo is no exception.
The famous (or infamous depending on one’s point of view) Article X, which provided for the streamlined siting of power plants, expired in 2003. The old Article X covered plants with 80MW or more of generational capacity. The new law should permit much faster siting of power plants of only 25MW or greater capacity. It passed both the Assembly and Senate with overwhelming margins.
The decrease from 80MW to 25MW should be a significant boon to wind farm development potential in the state, as it will facilitate the installation of sites with, depending on turbine size, only some 10-17 turbines. Unsurprisingly, the new law singles out proposed wind projects to conduct studies of prospective impacts on birds and bats.
Governor Cuomo styles the new law as “An Investment to Create More Power in New York”
The Power NY Act of 2011 will encourage investment in clean power plants, afford communities more opportunities to meaningfully participate in the siting process, and expand opportunities for homeowners and businesses to invest in energy efficiency under the “Green Jobs/Green New York” program.
After years of gridlock, this important measure has advanced with support from industry, environmental advocates, consumer groups, labor and community organizations. The Power NY Act of 2011 will:
- Streamline the permitting process for power plants greater than 25 megawatts by creating a “one-stop” multi-agency siting board that will make siting decisions
- Empower communities to participate in the process by requiring power plant applicants to provide “intervenor funding” for the community affected by the proposed plant to hire experts and lawyers
- Improve the environment and public health by requiring the siting board to determine whether a proposed facility will create a disproportionate environmental impact in a community and, if so, requires applicant to minimize or avoid those impacts
- Reduce energy demand by allowing homeowners and businesses to pay back loans for energy efficiency upgrades using a surcharge on local utility bills
- Create jobs by encouraging investment in new power plants and energy efficiency retrofits
ACE-NY says that
The renewal of Article X marks an important step forward in reform of the state’s regulatory policies for renewable energy projects so that unnecessary delays and uncertainty do not prevent developers from investing in New York’s clean energy economy.
The law is found on the state legislature’s website. Search for companion bills A8510 or S5844.