ALBANY — The New York State Office of Renewable Energy Siting (ORES or the Office) announced today they have issued a final siting permit for a major solar facility, Watkins Glen Solar Energy Center, LLC (Watkins Glen). Watkins Glen is a 50-megawatt solar electric facility in the Town of Dix, Schuyler County. This solar facility is expected to generate enough clean power to more than 12,000 New York homes and reduce carbon emissions by over 42,000 metric tons annually, the equivalent of taking more than 8,200 cars off the road every year.
The Office’s decision follows a detailed review and robust public participation process to ensure that this solar facility meets or exceeds the requirements of Section 94-c of the Executive Law and its implementing regulations. This solar facility and other major renewable energy facilities permitted and currently under Office review are vital to meet the Climate Leadership and Community Protection Act’s (CLCPA) aggressive carbon reduction and clean energy targets to combat climate change.
“This project is in line with the State’s commitment to ensure that its nation-leading pipeline of large-scale renewable energy projects will be permitted in a timely, responsible manner while ensuring the protection of the environment and consideration of all pertinent social, economic, and environmental factors. We are laser focused on helping New York State achieve its nation-leading energy goal of 70 percent renewable energy by 2030 and look forward to continuing to work with all stakeholders as these facilities are constructed.” said ORES Executive Director Houtan Moaveni.
Under the Accelerated Renewable Energy Growth and Community Benefit Act (the Act), New York State created the nation's first Office of Renewable Energy Siting to improve and streamline the process for environmentally responsible and cost-effective siting of large-scale renewable energy projects across New York while delivering health, environmental, and economic benefits to local communities. Today's announcement demonstrates swift progress under the state's recently expanded Clean Energy Standard and advances New York’s goal to obtain 70 percent of the state's electricity from renewable sources by 2030 as mandated in the Climate Leadership and Community Protection Act.
This project will create over 125 temporary and full-time jobs and spur private investment to help stimulate the state's economic recovery from the COVID-19 pandemic. Local taxing jurisdictions will receive payments in lieu of taxes (PILOTs) and other funding over the life of the project. Watkins Glen Solar Energy Center paid $50,000 in intervenor funds to enable municipal and community groups to fully participate in the review of the facilities.
Doreen M. Harris, NYSERDA President and CEO said, “It is exciting to see our State come together to respond to the enormity and urgency of climate change with support for advancing renewable energy. Having our legislative leaders, ORES and multiple agencies working in a coordinated fashion with local government to take action that will simultaneously reduce harmful emissions and bring economic benefits and jobs to the community is an inspiring occasion for all who feel a responsibility to future generations.”
State Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) Commissioner Basil Seggos said, “This announcement is great news that demonstrates the progress being made in reaching New York’s renewable energy goals through solar. Thanks to the commitment to combatting climate change shown by Governor Hochul, DEC joins ORES and our other partners in continuing to support clean energy in Schuyler County and across the state to reduce harmful greenhouse gas emissions and create green jobs that grow local economies.”
Anne Reynolds, Executive Director of the Alliance for Clean Energy New York said, “This important announcement about the Watkins Glen Solar Energy Center illustrates the progress being made under the state's new siting process. This renewable energy project and others like it will help communities across the state be part of the climate solution while creating good-paying jobs and realizing key economic and social benefits. Large-scale projects will play an important role in New York State achieving it ambitious renewable energy goals."
New York State Assemblymember Michael Cusick, Chair, Assembly Energy Committee said, “As a state we are working towards achieving our ambitious renewable energy and environmental goals. Achieving our solar power goals requires a significant commitment to building large-scale solar projects. Today’s announcement demonstrates this commitment and will go a long way towards increasing our solar capacity and reducing emissions in our state.”
Today’s decisions may be obtained by going to the Office’s website at https://ores.ny.gov/permit-applications.
New York State's Nation-Leading Climate Plan
New York State'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 achieve 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 investments to ramp-up clean energy including over $21 billion in 91 large-scale renewable projects across the state, $6.8 billion to reduce buildings emissions, $1.8 billion to scale up solar, more than $1 billion for clean transportation initiatives, and over $1.2 billion in NY Green Bank commitments. Combined, these investments are supporting more than 150,000 jobs in New York's clean energy sector in 2019, a 2,100 percent growth in the distributed solar sector since 2011 and a commitment to develop 9,000 megawatts of offshore wind by 2035. Under the Climate Act, 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 are directed to disadvantaged communities, and advance progress towards the state's 2025 energy efficiency target of reducing on-site energy consumption by 185 trillion BTUs of end-use energy savings.
The Office of Renewable Energy Siting (ORES or Office) is the first-of-its-kind state agency dedicated solely to environmentally responsible and cost-effective siting of renewable and was established by the Accelerated Renewable Energy Growth and Community Benefit Act in April 2020. The Office consolidates the environmental review and permitting of major renewable energy facilities to ensure that siting decisions are predictable, responsible, and done in a timely manner with input from local governments and host communities. On March 3, 2021, the Office adopted comprehensive regulations including a set of uniform standards and conditions to implement the Act. The Office is designed to enable New York to obtain 70 percent of the state's electricity from renewable sources by 2030, as required under New York’s nation-leading climate plan, enshrined into law through the Climate Leadership and Community Protection Act. For more information on ORES, please visit www.ores.ny.gov.
Nathan Stone | [email protected] | (518) 473-4536