NYSERDA to lead New York’s $160 million program to subsidize wind, solar projects

Source: By TED BOOKER, Watertown Daily Times • Posted: Thursday, April 9, 2015

Large-scale wind and solar projects being planned across the state will have a chance to get a financial boost from a $160 million program announced this week by Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo.

Developers will be able to apply for contracts of up to 20 years under the New York State Energy Research and Development Authority’s renewable portfolio standard program, according to a news release from the governor’s office.

Funding will be used to support private investment in a variety of renewable energy sources, such as wind farms, solar and biomass facilities, fuel cells, and small to medium-sized hydropower projects. A May 8 deadline has been set for developers to apply for the competitive program, which is part of the state’s “Reforming the Energy Vision” strategy.

The program’s launch comes as a 32-turbine wind project is being proposed on Galloo Island in the town of Hounsfield by Albany-based Hudson Energy Development. William M. Moore, principal of the firm, could not be reached for comment Wednesday morning about whether he plans to submit an application for the program.

Mr. Moore has said he plans to seek a 20-year payment-in-lieu-of-taxes agreement with the Jefferson County Industrial Development Agency that would require approval from the county, the town of Hounsfield and the Sackets Harbor Central School District.

The governor’s office said winning proposals under the NYSERDA program will improve energy reliability and affordability, while increasing new economic development opportunities and protecting the environment.

“This funding is a crucial resource for the development of New York’s clean energy infrastructure, and by supporting large-scale projects we are ensuring that the grid can meet the needs of a growing economy,” Gov. Cuomo said in a statement. “Investing in these kinds of projects is another example of how we are building a cleaner and more sustainable future in New York State, and I look forward to seeing that progress unfold in the years ahead.”

NYSERDA will notify qualified applicants before June 2, and they will have a June 17 deadline to submit project proposals. Winners are expected to be announced in July.

New York originally adopted a renewable portfolio standard in the fall of 2004 that had a goal of generating 25 percent of the state’s electricity with renewable sources by 2013. In 2010, regulators expanded that target to 30 percent by the end of 2015.

In contrast to other states, the RPS program has a central procurement model in which NYSERDA provides incentives for renewable energy generation for end-use in the state. In return, NYSERDA holds all rights to the power generated by renewable sources. The governor’s office said that for every $1 invested in renewable energy projects, New York realizes about $3 in economic benefits. The state’s previous nine rounds of NYSERDA funding for large-scale renewable projects have resulted in 65 projects with a combined installed capacity of about 2,036 megawatts. Once operational, those projects collectively will generate more than 5 million megawatt hours of renewable energy each year.