A plan to crank up efforts to make New York more sustainable faster has been hailed by the Real Estate Board of New York and the Building and Construction Trades Council.
Governor Andrew M. Cuomo has announced he is advancing a 30-day budget amendment to dramatically speed up the permitting and construction of renewable energy projects, combat climate change and grow the state’s green economy.
The move, said Gary LaBarbera, president of the (BCTC) and James Whelan (REBNY) “is a strong step forward in addressing the critical infrastructure challenge of building more renewable energy and bringing it to areas of need around the State, all while creating tens of thousands of good middle-class jobs with benefits for New Yorkers.”
In a joint statement, the two industry leaders added, “We commend the Governor for his leadership and encourage him to continue to prioritize rules and programs that speed clean energy production, transmission, and storage in our state.”
If adopted, Cuomo’s Accelerated Renewable Energy Growth and Community Benefit Act will create a new Office of Renewable Energy Permitting to improve and streamline the process for environmentally responsible and cost-effective siting of large-scale renewable energy projects across New York.The program is in line with a state mandate to obtain 70 percent of New York’s electricity from renewable sources.
“Climate change is the existential challenge of our time, and New York State has risen to the occasion by enacting the strongest laws in the nation to protect and preserve our environment,” Governor Cuomo said.
“This legislation will help achieve a more sustainable future, invigorating the green economy and reaffirming New York’s position as a market leader with a revamped process for building and delivering renewable energy projects faster.”
The state’s existing energy generation siting process was designed for permitting fossil-fuel electric generating plants and created prior to the current clean energy and environmental goals under the CLCPA.
The new siting process will create modern standards for developing renewable energy projects at an expedited pace to meet the urgency of the climate crisis.
By aligning New York’s leading climate and economic development strategies, the legislation will also ensure that renewable energy development is a central part of the state’s economic future and will spur an even greater growth of green jobs.
The new structure created by the Act centralizes renewable energy siting and permitting activities within the Department of Economic Development.
The structure also creates, separately, a new program through which the New York State Energy Research and Development Authority will collaborate with the Department of Environmental Conservation and Department of Public Service to develop build-ready sites for renewable energy projects.
The new Office of Renewable Energy Permitting monitor permits, developments and their impact and draft plans for public comment that will that complete applications are acted upon within one year.
The Act also creates NYSERDA’s Clean Energy Resources Development and Incentives Program to rapidly advance new “Build-Ready” projects and prioritize the development of existing or abandoned commercial sites, brownfields, landfills, former industrial sites and abandoned or otherwise underutilized sites.
And it streamlines the process for creating the infrastructure needed to transmit clean power.