On Earth Day 2021, Governor Cuomo Announces More Than 20 Large-Scale Renewable Energy Infrastructure Projects will be Under Construction Across New York State this Year
Projects Expected to Create More than 2,000 jobs and Spur Nearly $1.5 Billion in Private Investment to Help Stimulate the State's Economic Recovery
April 22, 2021
Governor Andrew M. Cuomo today announced that more than 20 large-scale renewable energy infrastructure projects will be under construction across the state this year, including the first utility-scale solar project in Upstate New York to enter the final phase of construction. These projects will create more than 2,000 jobs and spur nearly $1.5 billion in private investment to help stimulate the state's economic recovery from the COVID-19 pandemic.
The Governor also announced that New York State has launched its fifth annual solicitation, the State's largest land-based procurement to date, for large scale renewable projects to accelerate the rapid pace of clean energy development and combat climate change. This announcement advances progress toward New York's goal that 70 percent of the state's electricity come from renewable sources like wind and solar by 2030 as outlined in the Climate Leadership and Community Protection Act.
"New York State's economy faces huge challenges from both the COVID-19 pandemic and the ongoing climate crisis, and renewable energy has a vital role to play in our state's ongoing convalescence and our economic recovery," Governor Cuomo said. "These large-scale renewable projects will foster much-needed investment and thousands of good-paying jobs across New York as we continue to rebuild the state's economy with green energy. We're strengthening our commitment to renewable energy by creating new private-public partnerships that can accelerate the development of these critical resources to meet the unprecedented challenges posed by climate change."
"As someone who grew up near Lake Erie and saw first-hand the harmful effects caused by emissions from the local steel plant, protecting our environment has always been a personal fight for me," Lieutenant Governor Kathy Hochul said. "By making historic investments in renewable energy and creating good paying jobs, New York continues to show the rest of the country how to fight the effects of climate change and chart a cleaner, more sustainable path for the post-pandemic future."
Together, these projects are expected to generate enough renewable energy to power more than 320,000 New York homes and reduce carbon emissions by nearly one million metric tons annually, equivalent to taking over 215,000 cars off the road every year.
Lieutenant Governor Kathy Hochul made this announcement in Washington County at a ribbon-cutting ceremony for the first utility-scale solar project in Upstate New York, the first of the projects, which is entering the final phase of construction. Located in Easton, the 20-megawatt Branscomb Solar project developed and constructed by CS Energy and owned by Goldman Sachs Renewable Power will generate over $20 million in private investment and create nearly 100 jobs to support its construction and future operations and maintenance in the Capital Region.
NYSERDA President and CEO Doreen M. Harris said, "Governor Cuomo's commitment to growing New York's green economy is demonstrated by the state's significant pipeline of large-scale renewable projects now entering construction, including this first upstate utility scale solar project, which will help to power dozens of upstate communities with clean, renewable energy while bringing new jobs and economic benefits. As we launch our next large-scale renewable energy solicitation, NYSERDA remains committed to working with local governments and community stakeholders throughout the project development process to responsibly site projects, including the protection of prime agricultural lands, as we work together to achieve New York's nation-leading clean energy goals."
Maintaining a predictable pace of annual solicitations for renewable energy developers, NYSERDA today issued its fifth annual, and largest land-based solicitation to date, calling for approximately 4.5 million megawatt-hours of renewable electricity per year, enough to power nearly 600,000 homes. Eligible projects include any project that can be certified as a Tier 1 renewable technology and commenced operation after January 1, 2015, and that commences commercial operation by November 30, 2023, with the option to extend to November 30, 2026. NYSERDA expects to notify the awarded developers in late 2021.
This announcement builds on New York's success under the Clean Energy Standard. Over the past five years, the State has contracted with over 90 new large-scale land-based renewable energy facilities including solar farms, onshore wind farms, and hydroelectric facilities, some of which have been paired with energy storage and have brought significant private investment and new jobs and economic development to local communities in more than 30 counties. NYSERDA's competitive program has leveraged the declining cost of renewable energy, with the latest round of awarded projects priced over 40 percent lower than those awarded just a year previously, maintaining the cost-effective ramp-up of renewable energy across the state.
This solicitation strengthens NYSERDA's commitments to delivering the overall job creation and benefits to disadvantaged communities, consistent with the State's Climate Act, sending clear signals to proposers that a new and growing component of the Clean Energy Standard will be focused on this imperative. NYSERDA will favorably evaluate projects that can tangibly advance benefits for these historically underserved communities.
Additionally, NYSERDA is developing an Agricultural Technical Working Group to bring together State agencies, non-governmental agricultural organizations, local governments and solar developers to identify actions that each of these stakeholder groups are taking to address agricultural concerns alongside renewable energy development. The A-TWG will provide support and guidance to the Farmland Protection Working Group, established as part of this year's enacted State Budget, which will include leadership from key New York State agencies with support from municipal organizations and farmland protection boards to make recommendations regarding responsible siting of solar on the state's agricultural land.
Notable provisions in this solicitation include but are not limited to:
- Requiring that workers associated with the construction of any awarded facility be paid the applicable prevailing wage to ensure quality, good-paying jobs for New Yorkers;
- Strongly encouraging workforce development commitments and partnerships with labor and trade organizations and supporting the adoption of project labor agreements and labor peace agreements by proposers;
- Preserving and protecting New York's valuable agricultural and environmental resources by requiring proposers to avoid development on the highest-quality agricultural lands or commit to mitigation measures or funding to support regional agricultural operations;
- Encouraging near-term economic activity in communities hosting projects by incentivizing economic benefits that can begin immediately and allowing proposers to commit to economic development activities/projects as part of their bid;
- Ensuring that communities that will host successfully awarded projects are fully involved in the development process, and that proposers demonstrate a commitment to frequent and active community engagement;
- Requiring that all renewable energy facilities 25 megawatts and greater fund an annual bill credit for each of the first 10 years of operation to benefit the community hosting the project; and
- Continuing to encourage proposals that cost-effectively pair renewable energy with energy storage technologies, including preferential evaluation of storage facilities in primarily fossil-served regions of the state to combat the acute impacts of pollution that have been disproportionately borne by disadvantaged communities.
New York State Department of Labor Commissioner Roberta Reardon said, "Governor Cuomo continues to position New York to be the national leader in the green economy. These infrastructure projects are laying a strong foundation for the future of New York. This latest commitment advances the state's progressive renewable energy effort and will create thousands of green jobs. We are working to ensure that New Yorkers are skilled and ready for these opportunities."
New York State Agriculture Commissioner Richard A. Ball said, "New York State is one of the top agricultural states in the country, growing and producing dozens of crops that feed our communities and fuel our economy. We have been working with our partners at NYSERDA to reach the Governor's clean energy goals while taking into consideration the need to protect valuable farmland and prime soils across New York. The Agricultural Technical Working Group is an excellent way to build on these efforts, strengthening our renewable energy development agenda to combat climate change but in a way that prioritizes agriculture."
New York's robust pipeline of large-scale renewable energy, comprised of nearly 100 solar, land-based wind and offshore wind projects, will add nearly 11,000 megawatts of clean power to the grid when completed - enough to power over five New York million homes. The State's commitment to building out new green energy transmission, led by 250 miles of new major upgrades already underway throughout the state, with other future green transmission projects planned, will allow the current pipeline of renewables to power over 50 percent of New York's electricity from renewable sources once operational.
CS Energy Chief Commercial Officer Eric Millard said, "CS Energy is proud to continue to support New York State as it pursues and achieves its ambitious clean energy goals. As the leading solar company in New York, we are proud of our role in developing and building this project, and we are excited to continue to grow our business in New York State and deliver many more large-scale renewable projects for the State. Finally, we are pleased to have partnered with Goldman Sachs Renewable Power, NYSERDA, and the Town of Easton, all of whom have contributed significantly towards the success of this important project."
Goldman Sachs Renewable Power Vice President Michael Conti said, "The GSAM Renewable Power Group is excited that the State of New York has demonstrated such decisive leadership with the Clean Energy Standard and NYSERDA's large-scale renewables program, which is critical for renewable energy project development and capital formation in New York. We are happy to support the State's initiative and partner with both NYSERDA and CS Energy, organizations that share our focus of helping to realize a low-carbon future for the people of New York."
National Grid NY President Rudy Wynter said, "Branscomb Solar is an opportunity to work with NYSERDA, Goldman Sachs Renewables, CS Energy and our customers to invest in the next generation of energy infrastructure, advance our mutual clean energy goals, ensure a safe reliable, affordable energy delivery system and - importantly -it's an opportunity to leave things a bit better than we found them for the next generation."
Senator Kevin Parker said, "As we continue to work towards meeting our ambitious clean energy goals in NYS I applaud Governor Cuomo and NYSERDA for launching new initiatives that will ensure we are on track to obtain 70 percent of the state's electricity from renewable sources by 2030. Today's announcement in honor of Earth Day speaks to how much of a priority a clean energy future is to the State of New York"
Senator Daphne Jordan said, "Continued private-public investment in renewable energy helps preserve and protect our environment, supports decreased emissions, and facilitates the creation of good-paying jobs in the green energy sector. I'm pleased to support today's announcement in Washington County of the first utility-scale solar project in upstate New York, right in the Town of Easton that is part of my 43rd Senate District. The strong local support for this project is indicative of how such an initiative should move forward. I applaud the local leadership of Easton Town Supervisor Dan Shaw, the Easton Town Board, CS Energy, and NYSERDA in realizing this project that is expected to generate over $20 million in private investment and create nearly 100 jobs in the Capital Region to support its construction, future operations and maintenance."
Assemblymember Carrie Woerner said, "I applaud these projects that will keep New York on the path to responsibly developing renewable energy sources. The creation of jobs with this private investment in our state's energy infrastructure is good for our community and good for the future of our state. In particular, I am happy to see the development of a working group that will include representation from local governments and the agricultural community. It is critical that these projects prioritize locations that don't implicate quality farmland or diminish our agricultural properties. Thoughtful development of these opportunities with plenty of community input will serve the residents of areas impacted by these projects while meeting goals for generating clean energy into the future."
Alliance for Clean Energy New York Executive Director Anne Reynolds said, "We love putting New Yorkers to work building clean energy! Having so many wind and solar projects reach construction in 2021 is not a coincidence; it is the result of years-long efforts to develop and invest in projects, conduct environmental reviews and interconnection studies, and build new relationships in New York communities. Knowing that each of these projects creates construction jobs, pays new taxes to towns and schools, and brings clean electricity to New York's grid, the State of New York is an excellent partner in attracting this significant investment. The Cuomo Administration's continued attention and support for clean energy and climate action is the recipe for success, and our industry is proud to be putting people to work building clean energy as part of the State's COVID recovery."
New York League of Conservation Voters President Julie Tighe said, "Earth day is every day in New York. Our state continues to lead the nation in its commitment to building renewable energy projects that will power our economic recovery with more clean jobs, more clean energy, and a cleaner planet. We look forward to continuing to work with all stakeholders as projects are constructed. Thank you to NYSERDA for your leadership this Earth Day and every day."
Solar Energy Industries Association senior director of state policy for the East David Gahl said, "New York continues to make progress on its climate and economic recovery goals, and this latest announcement makes good on this promise to New Yorkers. The state is now committing to nearly 11 gigawatts of solar construction, which will help to jumpstart our economy with more than 2000 family-supporting jobs and over $1 billion in private investment. We look forward to keeping the clean energy train running with more solicitations from NYSERDA in the months to come."
New York State's Nation-Leading Climate Plan
Governor Cuomo's nation-leading climate agenda is the most aggressive climate and clean energy initiative in the nation, calling for an orderly and just transition to clean energy that creates jobs and continues fostering a green economy as New York State recovers from the COVID-19 pandemic. Enshrined into law through the Climate Leadership and Community Protection Act, New York is on a path to achieving its mandated goal of a zero-emission electricity sector by 2040, including 70 percent renewable energy generation by 2030, and to reach economy wide carbon neutrality. It builds on New York's unprecedented ramp-up of clean energy including over $4 billion invested in 91 large-scale renewable projects across the state, supporting more than 150,000 jobs in New York's clean energy sector in 2019, a commitment to develop 9,000 megawatts of offshore wind by 2035, and 1,800 percent growth in the distributed solar sector since 2011. Under Governor Cuomo's leadership, New York will build on this progress and reduce greenhouse gas emissions by 85 percent from 1990 levels by 2050, while ensuring that at least 35 percent with a goal of 40 percent of the benefits of clean energy investments to disadvantaged communities and advancing progress towards the state's 2025 energy efficiency target of reducing on-site energy consumption by 185 trillion BTUs of end-use energy savings.
NYSERDA, a public benefit corporation, offers objective information and analysis, innovative programs, technical expertise, and funding to help New Yorkers increase energy efficiency, save money, use renewable energy, and reduce reliance on fossil fuels. NYSERDA professionals work to protect the environment and create clean-energy jobs. NYSERDA has been developing partnerships to advance innovative energy solutions in New York State since 1975. To learn more about NYSERDA’s programs and funding opportunities, visit nyserda.ny.gov or follow us on Twitter, Facebook, YouTube, or Instagram.
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