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New Proposal to Expedite Clean Energy in NY

A proposed budget amendment could speed up permitting and construction of large scale renewable energy facilities. ( Stock)
A proposed budget amendment could speed up permitting and construction of large scale renewable energy facilities. ( Stock)
February 24, 2020

ALBANY, N.Y. -- A new budget proposal would streamline the process for the placement and construction of large scale renewable energy projects in New York.

Gov. Andrew Cuomo's proposed budget amendment would create a new Office of Renewable Energy Permitting to expedite the development of renewable energy projects.

The current siting process was created for permitting fossil fuel generating plants.

Deb Peck Kelleher, director of policy and operations for the Alliance for Clean Energy New York, points out that modifying that process will be critical to meeting the state's mandated renewable energy benchmarks.

"We have a large number of solar and wind grid-scale projects that have been waiting to get approval and we are never going to meet our goals under the new climate law if we don't actually start building," she states.

The Climate Leadership and Community Protection Act, signed into law last year, requires the state to obtain 70% of its electricity from renewable sources by 2030.

The governor's proposal also includes transmission planning provisions that Peck Kelleher notes will be vital as the state accelerates the move to electric vehicles.

"It's ensuring that the local lines are constructed and then the larger distribution system to ensure that we have enough power going in the right places," she points out.

Other provisions of the proposal would help standardize taxation rules for renewable energy facilities and create workforce training, especially in disadvantaged communities.

Peck Kelleher says the proposal, called the "Accelerated Renewable Energy Growth and Community Benefit Act," will be added to the budget bills already being considered by the state legislature.

"We're very excited about this proposal and are looking forward to working with the legislature on seeing this enacted."

Final passage of the state budget is due by April 1.

Disclosure: Alliance for Clean Energy New York, Inc. contributes to our fund for reporting on Budget Policy & Priorities, Climate Change/Air Quality, Energy Policy, Environment. If you would like to help support news in the public interest, click here.
Andrea Sears, Public News Service - NY