On April 3, 2020, New York State authorized the Accelerated Renewable Energy Growth and Community Benefit Act, which is aimed at improving the location and construction of large-scale renewable energy projects in an environmentally responsible and cost-effective manner. This Act led to the establishment of the Office of Renewable Energy Siting (ORES), which is responsible for evaluating the environmental impact of renewable energy projects and provides a common platform for making responsible, foreseeable and timely siting decisions that are integrated with the suggestions of local communities.
On September 16th 2020, ORES proposed draft regulations with a viewpoint to hasten the siting, construction and implementation of renewable energy projects. These regulations act as a framework to implement the Accelerated Renewable Energy Growth and Community Benefit Act, and essentially intend to assist New York in combating climate change and mitigating greenhouse gas emissions by speeding up the permitting process for the implementation of renewable energy projects. The draft regulations seek to efficiently support New York State’s directive to increase electricity consumption using renewable energy to 70 percent by the year 2030.
Previously, Walden covered New York State agencies’ legislation on greenhouse gas emission reductions and measures taken to battle climate change in the “NYSDEC and NYSERDA Take Steps to Support Implementation of State’s Nation-Leading Climate Law” blog in September 2020.
The draft regulations have been created to streamline the review of renewable energy projects and speed up the permitting process for the installation and operation of these projects, with a set of uniform standards and conditions. The regulations could especially speed up the permitting of projects located on brownfields, landfills, and former industrial or commercial sites. Another important aspect of these regulations is the need for renewable energy project developers to take into consideration the inputs of local governments and communities in the implementation of these projects, so that the projects are facilitated in a holistic and sustainable manner.
The regulations are applicable for large scale renewable energy projects over 25 MW. However, renewable energy projects with nameplate capacities of 20 to 25 MW, and projects for which Article 10 permit applications have already been submitted will be able to participate in the new regulatory process. The Article 10 process was designed to be applied for the construction and expansion of all major electrical generation facilities, including fossil fuel facilities. The Article 10 process presently reviews all major renewable energy projects, and will continue to do so until ORES begins to accept project applications.
The highlights of the proposed uniform standards and conditions include:
Public comments for the proposed draft regulations are being accepted until December 7th 2020.
Are you looking to develop a renewable energy project? Are you interested in reducing GHG emissions? Walden’s environmental professionals are experienced with providing site-specific and customized engineering and consulting services for the development and implementation of renewable energy projects. If you are looking to learn more about the benefits of the proposed new regulations and work on renewable energy projects, please contact Walden Environmental Engineering at 516-624-7200. We can help you make a switch to a cleaner environment in a cost-effective manner.