Cuomo touts 200-megawatt solar project in Orleans as part of green economy

Photo by Tom Rivers: Russell Brilhart, an employee with Sole Contracting in Delaware, carries a solar panel on Feb. 4, 2019 that was installed by the Albion sewer plant on Densmore Street. The Village of Albion completed a project that added 3,888 solar panels by the sewer plant. Gov. Cuomo said more solar projects are in the state’s future.

Staff Reports Posted 14 January 2021 at 10:50 am

Governor announces several initiatives in renewable energy agenda

Gov. Andrew Cuomo on Wednesday noted a 200-megawatt solar energy project proposed in Orleans County is part of the state’s push to embrace a “green economy.”

Cuomo, during a third State of the State address this week, touted “Orleans Solar” which has been proposed by Community Energy in the towns of Barre and Shelby. The company on Dec. 21 went over the project in an online forum. The project would cover 1,300 acres, with about 75 percent in Barre and 25 percent in Shelby.

Community Energy expects it will complete the permitting process by the second quarter in 2022, with construction to commence in the third quarter of 2022. Interconnection to the grid would be complete in the third quarter 2023, with construction done the fourth quarter that year. That was the timeframe presented by Joe Green, director of development for the company based near Philadelphia, Pa. For more on the project, click here.

Cuomo said the state has several proposals to expand and facilitate renewable energy projects, including the largest offshore wind program in the nation  near Long Island. Cuomo also said the state will become a global wind energy manufacturing powerhouse and will create a green energy transmission superhighway.

“We are proposing the largest wind programs in the nation and advancing our green manufacturing capacity and the jobs that go with it,” Cuomo said. “Our new energy superhighway will be optimized by state-of-the-art battery storage facilities, so we can store renewable energy to be used when needed. These projects will not only create power but bring needed economic opportunity to struggling parts of our state, create green jobs, and make New York State a global wind energy manufacturing powerhouse.”

Governor Cuomo continued, “Green energy is a pressing moral imperative and a prime economic opportunity. New York can and will be the nation’s leader for renewable energy innovation and production, all while securing jobs of the future for New Yorkers. Our entire green energy program will create a total 12,400 megawatts of green energy to power 6 million homes, directly create more than 50,000 jobs, and spur $29 billion in private investment all across the state.”

The proposals and projects announced by the governor include:

• Largest Offshore Wind Program in the Nation: The state will contract with Equinor Wind US LLC for the development of two new offshore wind farms more than 20 miles off the shore of Long Island, in what is the largest procurement of renewable energy by a state in U.S. history. Upon completion, the two offshore wind farms will yield a combined 2,490 megawatts of carbon-free energy, bring another $8.9 billion in investment, and create more than 5,200 jobs.

Once the large-scale renewable and offshore wind farms are complete, more than half of New York’s electricity will come from renewable sources, putting the state ahead of schedule toward reaching its goal of 70 percent renewable energy by 2030.

• Global Wind Energy Manufacturing Powerhouse: New York has secured commitments from companies to manufacture wind turbine components within the state and build the nation’s largest offshore wind program.

The projects will leverage almost $3 of private funding for every $1 of public funding, for a combined $644 million investment in these port facilities, and will ultimately yield 2,600 short- and long-term jobs in the offshore wind industry.

Plans to make New York State a global wind energy manufacturing powerhouse include upgrades to create five dedicated port facilities, including:

  • The nation’s first offshore wind tower-manufacturing facility to be built at the Port of Albany.
  • An offshore wind turbine staging facility and operations and maintenance hub to be established at the South Brooklyn Marine Terminal.
  • Increasing the use of the Port of Coeymans for cutting-edge turbine foundation manufacturing, and
  • Buttressing the ongoing operations and maintenance out of Port Jefferson and Port of Montauk Harbor in Long Island.

• Construct New York’s Green Energy Transmission Superhighway: As New York builds substantial capacity to generate clean energy Upstate, the next challenge is to create a modern transmission system capable of delivering this electricity efficiently to high-demand areas Downstate. Last year, New Yorkers utility bills reflected approximately $1 billion in unnecessary “congestion costs” because of bottlenecks on our antiquated transmission grid, Cuomo said.

In 2021, New York State will construct a new green energy superhighway of 250 miles, Cuomo said. The $2 billion project will create opportunities to maximize the use of renewable energy for the parts of the state that still rely on fossil-fuel plants.

Construction has already started on the New York Power Authority’s 86-mile Smart Path project from Massena to Croghan, and construction will soon start on several key projects in Western New York, Mid-Hudson, and the Capital Region.

The state will issue a Request for Proposals for transmission arteries to bring renewable energy from Upstate and Canada to New York City. Supercharging the new transmission superhighway will be vital to completing New York’s nation-leading green economic recovery and accelerating renewable energy development programs. Current and planned investments will result in more than 1,000 jobs and $5 billion of public and private sector investment.

• Public-Private Partnership to Build Nearly 100 Renewable Energy Projects: New York’s clean energy transformation has accelerated rapidly over the past five years, Cuomo said. During this period, the State has contracted for the construction of 68 new large-scale renewable energy facilities including solar farms, onshore wind farms, and three offshore wind farms that are among the largest in the nation. These investments in renewable energy have brought economic activity to 34 distinct counties, will add 6,100 megawatts of clean energy capacity to the state’s infrastructure, and generate investment of more than $12 billion.

The state will contract for another 24 large-scale renewable energy generation projects in 2021, to bring the State’s total clean energy build-out to nearly 100 projects. The 23 solar farms and one hydroelectric facility will be the most cost-efficient clean energy construction to date in New York, producing more than 2,200 megawatts of clean power, generating more than $2.9 billion of investment and creating 3,400 jobs in 16 counties Upstate.

• Energy Storage Projects: New York will continue to develop and deploy state-of-the-art renewable energy storage technology and facilities to generate electricity, build the capacity for storage, and help the state achieve its ambitious climate plans.

To that end, the New York Power Authority has already begun construction on a large-scale, 20-megawatt battery storage project in Northern New York, one of the largest storage projects in the State’s growing portfolio of almost 1,000 megawatts of contracted storage projects.

These projects will help meet the electricity demands of 1.2 million New York homes using renewable energy. In addition, these projects will help continue propelling this fast-growing job sector.

• Train the Green Energy Workforce: New York’s accelerated renewable energy development program is creating thousands of well-paying jobs. To make sure all New Yorkers benefit directly from growth in this sector, the State is investing $20 million in a new Offshore Wind Training Institute based at SUNY Stony Brook and Farmingdale State College.

The Institute will train at least 2,500 New Yorkers for good-paying jobs in wind and renewable. energy.