New rules are now in place that should help New York meet its clean-energy goals by speeding up the process of siting large-scale wind and solar projects.
It’s been less than a year since a law was passed requiring new, streamlined rules for the permitting and operating conditions of clean-energy projects that generate 25 megawatts or more.
Under the Climate Leadership and Community Protection Act, the state must get 70% of its energy from renewable sources by 2030.
Anne Reynolds, executive director of the Alliance for Clean Energy New York, pointed out under the old rules, it could take five to ten years just for projects to get the permits to begin construction.
“These new rules will really help get projects reviewed and permitted faster,” Reynolds explained. “They create uniform standards, so the developers know what rules they have to abide by, and the towns would know, too.”
She added the wind and solar projects are also expected to create tens of thousands of new, good-paying jobs and new tax revenue for the state.
Reynolds noted three wind projects that were in the process of getting permits under the old rules may switch to the new rules, and many more projects are on the way.
“I would say there’s maybe another 25 solar projects, that are proposed all over the state, that would be going through this new process,” Reynolds remarked.
She estimated completing current projects will put the state about halfway toward meeting its clean-energy goals.
The rule reforms were mandated by the Accelerated Renewable Energy Growth and Community Benefit Act, passed as part of the state budget last year.
Reynolds commended state officials for quickly completing that process.
“The fact that New York State, in a pandemic, got these new rules out in under a year really demonstrates that they’re committed to this type of economic development, and this type of pollution-free power,” Reynolds concluded.