New York is taking another step forward on renewable energy with its latest announcement of $250 million for a broad range of new clean energy projects – part of the state's efforts to meet its 30% by 2015 Renewable Portfolio Standard (RPS).
Financing from the New York State Energy Research and Development Authority (NYSERDA) will fund mid and large-scale projects in wind, solar, hydro and biomass.
The funds are a crtical component of the state's "Energy Highway Blueprint" for upgrading and modernizing New York's aging power infrastructure.
Under the blueprint, renewable energy generated upstate will be carried to to downstate NY where demand is highest. It will modernize old, dirty power plants and create the most advanced energy grid in the nation.
That's expected to spur $5.7 billion in private investment in 3200 megawatts of new energy and transmission capacity - enough for 3.2 million homes.
So far, NYSERDA has contracts with 54 large-scale renewable electricity generators that provide enough power for more than 650,000 homes a year. The portfolio includes two biomass facilities, 10 for landfill biogas, 25 for hydroelectric, and 17 wind farms.
Over the next two decades, the state estimates the direct economic benefits from these projects at almost $2.4 billion – the broader impact approaches $4.9 billion.
“As New York State looks to upgrade and improve its energy infrastructure, renewable energy will play an even greater role in providing power that is more reliable, efficient and environmentally sustainable,” says Governor Cuomo. “Through the RPS, the state is investing in its future. These projects will not only help diversify New York’s renewable energy portfolio, but also provide economic development opportunities across the state."
The state is being hard hit by the impending expiration of the federal wind production tax credit on December 31. That and cheap natural gas has cut the number of wind projects from 70 planned three years ago (9200 MW) to just 29 wind projects (2300 MW) under construction.
Thanks to its RPS program, which started in April 2010, New York is ranked as the largest wind producer in the Northeast and 8th in the US.
"Developing renewable resources, along with our energy efficiency efforts, provides our best hope toward ending dependency on fossil fuels, improving regional economies, reducing harmful emissions, and enabling all of us to gain greater control of our energy future. The Renewable Portfolio Standard ensures that the success of the state's renewable energy program continues unabated," says Public Service Commission Chairman Garry Brown.
Here is New York's latest solicitation: