March 5, 2020
sPower strongly supports the Accelerated Renewable Energy Growth and Community Benefit Act for the following reasons:
1. Part JJJ improves the cost-effectiveness and efficiency of review and permitting, without sacrificing environmental protection or local control.
a. The proposal has similar environmental protections as the current permitting process.
b. Part JJJ will expedite permitting by removing lengthy and costly environmental studies applicable to fossil fuel plants, yet inapplicable to renewable energy resources, currently mandated in the Article 10 process.
c. Local governments can weigh in during the process, and proposed projects would still have to abide by local laws or obtain a waiver based on a local law being “unreasonably burdensome,” with the same provision for projects to comply with local laws as Article 10.
2. The proposal is the best vehicle to help NYS meet the Climate Leadership and Community Protection Act (CLCPA) enacted by the Legislature in 2019.
a. Today, renewable energy resources make up 27% of NYS’s energy portfolio. Per the CLCPA, NYS has 10 years to achieve the 70% renewable electricity mandate.
b. Wind and solar projects take 5-10 years to permit under the current Article 10 process. Without an accelerated permitting process, NYS will fail to meet the CLCPA mandate.
3. Part JJJ expands economic development and community benefits for renewable energy.
a. Communities will receive direct benefits, such as lower energy costs and intervenor funds for municipal governments to hire the experts they may need.
4. The State will make under-utilized properties build-ready for renewable energy development.
a. Brownfield, industrial and abandoned sites will be revitalized, restoring and protecting the value of taxable land and leveraging existing resources.
5. Electricity transmission bottlenecks will be addressed.
sPower is an independent power producer (IPP) that owns and operates more than 150 renewable generation systems across the U.S. We have a leading wind, solar and storage portfolio of nearly 2.0 GW, with 15.0 GW of projects under development. We have recently opened an office in Brooklyn, NY, as we are committed to NYS’s sustainable future.