State approves first 2 large-scale renewable energy projects through ORES

Posted 25 June 2021 at 12:39 pm

Large-scale solar projects given permits in Livingston and Suffolk counties

Press Release, Governor Andrew Cuomo’s Office

Governor Andrew M. Cuomo announced today that the New York State Office of Renewable Energy Siting has issued final siting permits for its first two major solar facilities, Riverhead Solar 2, LLC and Morris Ridge Solar Energy Center, LLC.

The siting approvals for these two facilities are the fastest in New York State’s history, 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 and responsible manner. In addition, ORES continues to see a strong market interest in its new permitting process with a pipeline of 46 permit applications in various stages of review with several more anticipated throughout the rest of the year.

Riverhead is a 36-megawatt solar electric facility in the Town of Riverhead, Suffolk County. Morris Ridge Solar Energy Center is a 177-megawatt solar electric facility coupled with 83-megawatt battery energy storage in the Town of Mount Morris, Livingston County. Together, these solar facilities are expected to generate enough renewable energy to power more than 46,000 New York homes and reduce carbon emissions by over 208,000 metric tons annually, the equivalent of taking more than 41,000 cars off the road every year.

“As part of our aggressive clean and renewable energy goals, we’re committed to protecting New York State from the effects of climate change and helping to ensure renewable energy sources can be built and distributed easily and efficiently,” Governor Cuomo said. “New York has long been a national leader on climate change, and with the approval of these two projects, we are taking significant steps toward saving the environment and fostering new jobs and investment to bring our economy back better, stronger and greener from the Covid-19 pandemic.”

Under the Accelerated Renewable Energy Growth and Community Benefit Act, these approved solar facilities will help the state combat climate change and jumpstart its economic recovery from the Covid-19 pandemic. As part of 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 Governor Cuomo’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.

The Office’s decisions follow a detailed review and robust public participation process to ensure that these solar facilities meet or exceed the requirements of Section 94-c of the Executive Law and its implementing regulations. These solar facilities and other major renewable energy facilities currently under Office review—as announced in Governor Cuomo’s 2021 State of the State address—are vital to meet the Climate Leadership and Community Protection Act’s aggressive carbon reduction and clean energy targets to combat climate change.

ORES Acting Executive Director Houtan Moaveni said, “In keeping with Governor Cuomo’s goal for a clean energy economy, today’s decision demonstrates how New York State is working to more quickly advance development of major renewable energy facilities, while also ensuring the protection of the environment and consideration of all pertinent social, economic, and environmental factors in permitting of such facilities with input from local governments and host communities. We look forward to continuing to work with all stakeholders as these facilities are constructed.”

These projects will create over 430 temporary and full-time jobs and spur over $200 million in private investment to help stimulate the state’s economic recovery from the Covid-19 pandemic. Local taxing jurisdictions will receive over $20 million in payments in lieu of taxes and other funding over the life of the two projects. Riverhead Solar and Morris Ridge Solar Energy Center paid $213,000 in intervenor funds to enable municipal and community groups to fully participate in the review of the facilities.

Today’s decisions may be obtained by going to the Office’s website by clicking here.