New York to speed up permitting and construction of solar energy projects

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New York State governor Andrew M. Cuomo has announced that he is advancing the 30-day budget amendment to dramatically speed up the permitting and construction of New York Solar Energy projects and grow the New York’s green economy. If adopted, the Accelerated Renewable Energy Growth and Community Benefit Act will make a new Office of Renewable Energy Permitting to improve and streamline the process for environmentally responsible and cost-effective siting of renewable energy projects across New York on a large-scale. It will also deliver significant benefits to the local community.

His announcement will accelerate progress toward his goal of 70% of the state’s electricity from renewable sources — as stated under the state’s Climate Leadership and Community Protection Act (CLCPA). The state’s current energy generation siting process was designed to allow fossil-fuel electric generating plants. It was created before the state’s current clean energy and environmental goals under the CLCPA.

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Making modernized standards

This new strong siting process will help make modernized standards for developing renewable energy projects at an increased pace to meet the urgency of the climate crisis. Collectively, the provisions of the Act will serve to hasten new private investments and fuel additional job growth in the state’s already-thriving clean energy sector.

According to NYSERDA’s Clean Energy Industry Report, nearly 159,000 clean energy workers were employed across the state with the sector growing at more than twice the rate of the overall economy. In the last year alone solar jobs increased by over 10%, adding over 1,000 jobs in a single year according to the National Solar Foundation.

New York has already installed 2GW of solar and set aside US $2.9bn over the past two years to 46 solar and onshore wind projects. But permitting remains a persistent “pain point” for solar projects across the United States, according to Molly Cox, a solar analyst at Wood Mackenzie Power & Renewables. That’s in part because permitting was originally designed to aid a system reliant on fossil fuels — which New York is pulling away from — as well as wide differences in project variables.