Wind farms are a collection of wind turbines placed in the same location for the purpose of generating electricity. To produce the amount of energy required, they must be placed in areas with reliable wind speeds. Private companies are developing most of the wind farms in the United States. Wind farm developers use their own land or lease land from farmers, ranchers, or in some cases, the government. Developers sell electricity from the wind farms to power marketers, electric utilities, or directly to specific companies or government agencies.
Over a decade ago, NYSERDA's Wind Plant Development Program supported the installation and operation of two large–scale wind power plants in New York. These wind plants, totaling 41.5 MW, are located in Madison County, New York. Their success has been paving the way for present and future wind development at additional locations throughout the State of New York.
Large scale wind developments in New York State are now supported through the Renewable Portfolio Standard (RPS) Main Tier. Through regulations adopted by the Public Service Commission, New York first enacted its RPS in 2004 with the goal of increasing the amount of renewable electricity used by consumers to 25% by 2013. In an Order issued in January 2010, following a comprehensive mid-course review, the Commission expanded the RPS target from 25% to 30% and extended the terminal year of the program from 2013 to 2015.
Siting of Power Generation Facilities in New York
The Power NY Act of 2011 established a process for the siting of electric generating facilities and repowering projects. As part of the process, a multi-agency Siting Board is charged with streamlining the permitting process for power plants of 25 megawatts (MW) or greater. The Power NY Act also encourages investments in clean power plants and affords communities more opportunities to participate in the siting process.
"Article 10" was enacted in 2011 to be a portion of the New York State Public Service Law. It is a general state law that is applicable in all of New York State. Article 10 empowers the New York State Board on Electric Generation Siting and the Environment to issue Certificates of Environmental Compatibility and Public Need authorizing the construction and operation of major electric generating facilities.
A previous version of such a law expired on January 1, 2003. Key provisions of the new law include:
- Defines a major electric generating facility as facilities of 25 megawatts or more;
- Requires environmental and public health impact analyses, studies regarding environmental justice and public safety, and consideration of local laws;
- Directs applicants to provide funding for both the pre-application and application phases. It allows funding to be used to help intervenors (affected municipalities and other parties) hire experts to participate in the review of the application and for legal fees (but not for judicial challenges);
- Requires a utility security plan reviewed by Homeland Security and, for New York City (NYC) plants, NYC's emergency management office;
- Provides for appointment of ad hoc public members of the Siting Board from the municipality where the facility is proposed to be sited; and,
- Requires a public information coordinator within the Department of Public Service to assist and advise interested parties and members of the public in participating in the siting process.
More information on the Power NY and Article 10 are available on the Department of Public Service website.