Memorandum in Support of Executive Budget Part JJJ
March 16, 2020
New York Solar Energy Industries Association (NYSEIA) strongly supports legislation that would improve and accelerate the siting of renewable energy projects, knowing that without additional renewable electricity generation capacity in NYS, our state will never meet the nation-leading goals established in the Climate Leadership and Community Protection Act (CLCPA) enacted by the Legislature in 2019. New York has ten years to achieve the 70 percent renewable electricity mandate and it now takes five to ten years to develop a large-scale solar project and make it through the permitting process.
Part JJJ of the proposed Executive Budget would create a permitting process for renewable energy projects (greater than 25 MW, or greater than 10 MW if a project opts in) with similar strong protections for the environment as New York has currently. Proposed projects would still have to abide by local laws or obtain a waiver based on a local law being “unreasonably burdensome,” as is the case under the current Article 10 process. Part JJJ expands economic development and community benefits for renewable energy. In addition, the State will make ready under-utilized properties for development by renewable energy companies.
NYSEIA supports this Bill as it would significantly accelerate the siting of large-scale solar projects, which if unaddressed, would prohibit New York from achieving its electric sector and economy-wide decarbonization mandates as laid out in the CLCPA. Furthermore, this bill highlights that the Green New Deal means creating green jobs, and recognizes that building solar and energy storage projects are important economic development goals that can also help our state. At the same time, NYSEIA urges the Administration and Legislature to advance legislation to improve the siting, permitting and property tax process for distributed generation (DG) solar projects, which are not currently addressed by Part JJJ and remain fundamental bottlenecks to the development, financing and construction of such projects. Such improvements include allowing larger DG solar projects to opt into the new permitting regime envisioned by Part JJJ, as well as the legislative standardization of Payment in Lieu of Taxes (PILOT) payments for solar projects above 1 MW.
For the above reasons, NYSEIA supports A.9508-A/S.7508-A and urges its prompt passage.