LIPA Approves Largest Solar Project in New York State

Long Island Power Authority (LIPA) last week announced that the LIPA Board of Trustees cleared the way for the largest solar power project in New York State.

The Board approved power purchase agreements (PPAs) with BP Solar International Inc. and enXco Development Corp. for LIPA’s 50 megawatts (MW) Solar Energy Project.

LIPA will enter into PPAs with BP Solar and enXco to provide up to 32MW and 17MW of capacity, energy and RECs from their projects. The costs to LIPA under the PPA for BP Solar’s ground-mounted solar project at Brookhaven National Laboratory are estimated to total approximately $298 million (including interconnection costs) over the contracted 20-year term. The costs to LIPA under the PPA for enXco’s solar project on car ports within existing parking lots, at railroad stations and other facilities owned by Suffolk County are estimated to total approximately $125 million (including interconnection costs) over the contracted 20-year term. Both PPAs require the companies to construct, operate and maintain the project and achieve full operation by mid 2011.

The effect of the costs of The Long Island Solar Energy Project to LIPA customers is equivalent to approximately .83 cents per month per customer, LIPA said. To defray some of the costs of the solar project, LIPA is actively pursuing funding under the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act in the amount of $15 million dollars and has already secured federal appropriations from Congressman Steve Israel in the amount of $1.75 million.

The project is in line with New York Governor David A. Paterson’s goal to meet 45% of the state’s electricity needs through improved energy efficiency and renewable sources by the year 2015.

On Tuesday, Governor Paterson accepted the final 2009 State Energy Plan from the New York State Energy Planning Board, a comprehensive blueprint for New York to continue to transition to a clean energy economy over a 10-year planning horizon. The Plan identifies a number of specific policy initiatives, including supporting the development of in-State energy supplies like solar energy and encouraging investment in, and identifying future needs for, energy infrastructure.

“While Long Island is no longer the defense capital of the region this project will pave the way for making Long Island the solar capital of the region,” said LIPA President and CEO, Kevin S. Law. “LIPA’s Solar Energy Project is expected to create hundreds of solar jobs for Long Island and the New York City area.”

In February 2009, LIPA officials announced the results of a competitive procurement process to install photovoltaic arrays, selecting BP Solar and enXco as the top two proposers to provide LIPA with capacity, energy and associated renewable energy credits (RECs) from solar arrays to meet LIPA’s renewable energy goals.

enXco is an EDF Energies Nouvelles Company (EEN.PA)

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