ALBANY, N.Y. – Clean energy advocates in New York say the budget passed by the Legislature this week includes reforms needed to ensure the state can reach its clean energy goals.
The Climate Leadership and Community Protection Act, signed into law last year, requires the state to achieve 70% renewable energy by 2030.
According the Anne Reynolds, executive director of the Alliance for Clean Energy New York, more than 60 renewable energy projects already have contracts and could start construction, but are going through the permitting and review process.
“This bill streamlines that, improves the process and will hopefully get people to work, building wind and solar projects,” says Reynolds.
She adds the bill also maintains New York’s strong environmental and public participation standards.
The bill also adds deadlines to the permitting process for transmission development. Joe Martens, director of the New York Offshore Wind Alliance, says it requires a decision within 12 months on permits for building or improving transmission infrastructure.
“Sometimes it can take several years under the normal process,” says Martens. “So, this is extremely important for the offshore wind industry, as well as the onshore renewable energy industry.”
Last year, Governor Andrew Cuomo called for the development of 9,000 megawatts of offshore wind power by 2035.
Reynolds points out that the bill includes a provision for the state itself to identify sensible places to build additional renewable power-generating capacity.
“Specifically, identifying abandoned industrial sites, or power plant sites or landfills,,” says Reynolds. “And that’s a really interesting new program to help facilitate new solar projects.”
She says including renewable energy siting and transmission reforms in the budget bill will help jumpstart New York’s economic recovery once the COVID-19 pandemic is over.