NY approves state’s largest solar facility in Oakfield, Elba

Posted 25 July 2022 at 2:03 pm

500-megawatt includes footprint of 2,452 acres in Genesee County

Press Release, Gov. Kathy Hochul’s Office

Governor Kathy Hochul today announced the New York State Office of Renewable Energy Siting has issued a siting permit to Hecate Energy Cider Solar LLC, to develop, design, construct, operate, maintain, and decommission a 500-megawatt solar facility in the towns of Oakfield and Elba in Genesee County.

“Today’s announcement is a significant step in reducing our dependence on fossil fuels, and further cements New York as a national leader in the fight to combat climate change,” Governor Hochul said. “This project brings New York closer to not just meeting but exceeding our goal of obtaining 70 percent of our electricity from renewable resources while creating well-paying green jobs – creating a greener, more prosperous Empire State for generations to come.”

Hecate Energy Cider Solar, the fifth major renewable energy facility approved by the Office of Renewable Energy Siting since 2020, is a milestone achievement as the largest solar facility approved to date in New York State. ORES’s decision follows a detailed and transparent review with a robust public participation process to ensure the proposed facility meets or exceeds the requirements of Section 94-c of the Executive Law and its implementing regulations in a timely, cost-effective manner.

This solar facility and other major renewable energy facilities permitted and currently under ORES 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. Once completed, this solar facility is expected to generate enough clean energy to power more than 125,000 New York homes, which will result in a reduction of approximately 462,000 tons of CO2 annually.

Office of Renewable Energy Sitting Executive Director Houtan Moaveni said, “Today’s decision demonstrates the effectiveness and efficacy of the Executive Law § 94-c process to accelerating the development of large-scale renewable energy projects in New York State while ensuring the protection of the environment and consideration of all pertinent social, economic, and environmental factors. We look forward to working with all stakeholders as New York’s nation-leading pipeline of large-scale renewable energy projects are constructed in a timely and responsible manner.”

The project is expected to provide approximately $30 million in new revenue to the county, town and school district in property tax-type benefits to invest in infrastructure, additional services, and resources for residents.

The solar facility is expected to create 495 well-paying jobs during construction and throughout operation while investing approximately $28.1 million in construction labor, creating employment opportunities for those in the construction trades, including equipment operators, truck drivers, laborers, and electricians. Hecate Energy provided $500,000 in intervenor funds to facilitate the participation of local agencies and community groups in the review of the facilities.

New York State Energy Research and Development Authority President and CEO Doreen M. Harris said, “New York is advancing a nation-leading pipeline comprised of enough large-scale solar, onshore and offshore wind projects to power five and half million homes with clean, affordable electricity once completed. Today’s decision by the Office of Renewable Energy Siting reflects an ongoing commitment by developers like Hecate Energy who are working with local host governments and community stakeholders to ensure projects like this are sited responsibly and is a significant step in moving this groundbreaking Cider Solar project towards completion.”