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NY Is Officially in the Offshore Wind Arena

NY Is Officially in the Offshore Wind Arena

By Joe Martens

After years of study and planning, New York State has made good on Governor Cuomo’s promise to pursue at least 800 MW of offshore wind in 2018 and 2019. Last week, the New York Energy Research and Development Authority (NYSERDA) released a request for proposals for 800 MW or more of offshore wind. The RFP is the culmination of a deliberative process that started with a Blueprint for Offshore Wind published in the fall of 2016, followed by the release in January 2018 of a NYS Offshore Wind Master Plan, followed by a Public Service Commission Order issued in August.  

To its credit, NYSERDA and its sister agencies have engaged stakeholders at every stage of the process and continue to refine the offshore wind program through the formation of four technical working groups covering environment, fisheries, ports and infrastructure, and jobs and supply chain. 

I serve on the Environmental Technical Working Group (E-TWG), which kicked off a two-day “State of the Science” workshop on wildlife and offshore wind energy development on Long Island this past week. The workshop was attended by well over 100 people, including experts from Europe, where there are now 91 offshore wind farms in operation. The workshop examined current research on the potential impacts to marine mammals, birds, bats, and more. Participants identified data gaps, research needs, and discussed how to prioritize the work that should be done to ensure that the offshore wind industry is developed responsibly with the least amount of environmental impact. 

Next up, NYSERDA is hosting a “Suppliers Forum” in New York City to ensure that information about offshore wind supply chain is broadcast far and wide and offshore wind-related businesses are connected to offshore wind developers in an effort to maximize the amount of New York vendors in this burgeoning industry. NYSERDA estimates that offshore wind development will employ some 5,000 people and generate some $6 billion in economic activity, making this Suppliers Forum very timely.

And finally, later this month, the Bureau of Offshore Energy Management will hold a Renewable Energy Task Force meeting to discuss its proposed Wind Energy Area in the New York Bight.  BOEM is proposing a dramatically reduced area for potential lease, causing concerns about whether it is adequate to ensure robust competition and large enough to meet the offshore wind goals of New York and New Jersey.  Stay tuned for more on this.

Getting Renewables Sited in New York

Getting Renewables Sited in New York

By Erin Landy

The rate of permitting for large-scale renewables in New York State has become a major concern for ACE members and a potential roadblock in the path of the State achieving its 50% renewable energy standard by 2030. At the rate that new large-scale renewable projects are being approved, we will be nowhere near our goal of 50% renewable energy by 2030. Only one project has been approved thus far, four applications have recently been deemed compliant (complete), and another 33 projects are in the pipeline. It seems inevitable that the Department of Public Service (DPS) will need more staff to process these applications in a workable timeframe.

At this year’s  ACE NY Fall Conference, the Article 10 siting issue was a major theme. Sarah Osgood, Director of Policy Implementation at NYS DPS spoke on one panel and stated, "We need to have a rigorous and comprehensive application and review process but — and this is I think a very big but — the process must work. Hard stop. It must work. It needs to be as frictionless and smooth as possible, and we're moving in that direction, but we clearly have work to do."

The Article 10 process is lengthy, expensive, and unpredictable. ACE NY has a number of recommendations on how the process can be much more efficient: We recommend more predictable and timely completeness reviews, a better stipulations process, the development and use of standardized conditions, and more open and  productive communications between applicants and staff at the various Siting Board agencies, including DPS, DEC, and others.

The good news? DPS has assigned Ms. Osgood to focus on improvement of the process at DPS, and we also hear that some consulting support is now available to help with Article 10 at the NYS agencies. This, and the recent completeness determinations, may be reason for optimism. Still, changing agency culture is tough, and it often appears like the staff encouraging renewables and the staff permitting renewables are from two different States – or planets.

ACE NY will continue to focus on this issue and welcomes ideas or war stories from members companies now engaged in Article 10.   

It's a Wrap! ACE NY Hosts Its Most Successful Annual Fall Conference and Membership Meeting

It's a Wrap! ACE NY Hosts Its Most Successful Annual Fall Conference and Membership Meeting

From Policy to Projects: Putting NYers to Work for Clean Energy -- ACE NY’s 12th Annual Fall Conference and Membership Meeting -- attracted over 200 attendees to the beautifully renovated Albany Capital Center October 9-10, from a broad range of industries, individuals, and media interested in clean energy.

 

Spotlight Speaker, Alicia Barton, President & CEO, NYSERDA, delivering a Clean Energy Update

 

 

Starting with a members-only Board meeting October 9, ACE NY’s growing membership of clean energy developers, nonprofits, and industry organizations used the rest of the day to engage in membership roundtable discussion groups that covered Article 10 issues and improvements, large scale renewables procurement by the state, and legislation on energy efficiency and distributed energy resources. The work-day wrapped up with a late afternoon panel discussion on the NYISO carbon charge proposal featuring panelists Michael Mager from Multiple Intervenors, Frank Murray from NRDC, Kathy Robertson from Exelon, and Chris LaRoe from Brookfield. The interest in the carbon charge panel was obvious, resulting in a standing-room only scenario and discussion lasting longer than the allotted 75 minutes from on-going member questions to the panelists about the topic.

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Made in NY? How can we foster voluntary corporate renewable energy buying in New York?

Made in NY? How can we foster voluntary corporate renewable energy buying in New York?

By Anne Reynolds

With the backdrop of United Nations VIPs clogging the streets of Manhattan, ACE NY hosted a breakfast panel discussion on corporate purchasing of renewable energy for Climate Week NYC to a standing-room only crowd. Richard Kauffman, New York’s Chair of Energy and Finance, set the context for the discussion, citing strong progress on renewables procurement by New York, including the draft RFP for offshore wind and reiterating NY’s intention to get this RFP finalized and released by the end of the year. (Exciting!). He also acknowledged the significant workload in getting renewable energy projects through the review and permitting process known as Article 10 and recognized the need to balance proper review with an efficient and timely process. Hopefully, New York will have more progress to report on Article 10 in the coming months.

Mr. Kauffman then outlined a “trial balloon” to get the conversation rolling: If the major barrier to getting renewables bought in NY vs. other states was a higher price for Renewable Energy Certificates (RECs), what if the state played a role in bringing down the price for voluntary purchases by a competitive auction and a public contribution to help make up the difference? An interesting idea.

Kara Allen of NYSERDA was a gracious moderator and began by asking our panelists to outline the benefits of voluntary renewable energy purchasing.  In response, Harry Singh of Goldman & Sachs cited their corporate sustainability goals, the interest in a possible hedge of energy prices, and the desire to have the procurement be related to their own load, i.e. near their footprint. While Goldman explored a deal in New York, it ultimately went with a wind project in Pennsylvania, mostly due to costs. For Cornell University, panelist Sarah Zemanick also cited sustainability goals, but also mentioned student and faculty demand for clean energy and the desire for a living laboratory – i.e. opportunities for research or education.  In the case of Cornell, there is also an interest in distributed projects that can be located on or near campus and offset their current campus-based fossil fuel electricity generation.

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