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New York Issues RFI for Build-Ready Sites to Host Large-Scale Renewable Energy Developments

Have a large site ready for renewable energy development in New York? The state is looking for you.

On July 22, 2020, New York Governor Andrew Cuomo announced a search for possible sites, requesting information (RFI) from local communities and private parties about prospective sites.[1]

This announcement furthers New York’s Clean Energy Standard set in 2019 of reaching 70 percent electric power demand from renewable resources by 2030. To reach this ambitious goal, New York enacted the Accelerated Renewable Energy Growth and Community Benefit Act (the Act) as part of a massive budget bill signed into law April 3, 2020. The Act establishes the Office of Renewable Energy Siting, puts in place a new, state-level fast-track siting process and set of uniform standards, and advances the identification and assessment of “Build Ready” sites for developing large-scale projects. A state-level siting office is a new concept, one that should help developers find areas amenable to large-scale project. Passing the Act was an effort by the state to create more green jobs and get the economy back on track amidst the COVID crisis.

The RFI, launched by the New York State Renewable Energy Research and Development Authority (NYSERDA), allows local governments, community members, private parties, and other interested parties to nominate potential Build-Ready sites for large-scale (at least 65 acres) renewable energy projects. Priorities for the Build-Ready Program include:

  • the re-use of previously developed or disturbed sites;
  • protecting environmental justice areas, high quality agricultural soils and ecologically important landscapes;
  • leveraging existing or planned infrastructure; and
  • providing benefits to host communities.

Preferred sites include brownfields, landfills, former industrial sites, dormant electric generating facilities, and other underutilized sites.

A state-level siting office should help developers find areas amenable to a large-scale project and expedite the resolution of site-specific concerns. NYSERDA will conduct a viability evaluation of nominated sites which may include a review of environmental site conditions, ability of the site to interconnect to the grid, discussions with the site owner, nominating party, and local officials, and review of whether the site aligns with the Build-Ready principles. Once sites are fully permitted, NYSERDA will competitively auction the developed sites, bundled with contracts for renewable energy payments, to provide a de-risked package for developers to construct and operate projects at these sites.

NYSERDA is taking site nominations for a year, from July 21, 2020, through July 20, 2021.  Schiff Hardin can assist in helping to evaluate sites or to prepare documentation for this NYSERDA program.


[1] This RFI was announced together with New York’s announcement of the largest combined solicitations for renewable energy ever issued in the United States. The requests for proposals, announced July 21, 2020 by the New York Renewable Energy Research and Development Authority and the New York Port Authority, seek up to 4,000 megawatts of offshore wind and land-based renewable energy projects.

© 2020 Schiff Hardin LLPNational Law Review, Volume X, Number 210

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About this Author

Amy Antoniolli, environmental attorney, Schiff Hardin, permit appeals legal counsel, environment regulations lawyer, Illinois Pollution Control law
Staff Attorney

Amy Antoniolli concentrates her practice on environmental matters, advising clients on compliance with relevant laws and regulations and representing them in permit appeals, requests for relief from regulations and in rulemakings.

Amy’s prior experience as Assistant Attorney for the Illinois Pollution Control Board and as Assistant Counsel to the Illinois House of Representatives informs her work at Schiff Hardin and regularly benefits her clients.

Having advised the Board Members of the Illinois Pollution Control Board...

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Sarah Fitts, Schiff Hardin Law Firm, New York, Corporate and Finance Law Attorney
Partner

Sarah advises clients on private mergers and acquisitions, development projects, joint ventures, financings, sustainable investing, and restructurings, with a focus on the energy and infrastructure industries.

She represents U.S. and global clients, including Japanese companies doing business in the United States and around the world. Her clients include power developers, investors, sovereign wealth funds, and private equity across a broad range of industries, such as power generation, publishing, biotech and medical devices, and automotive. Enjoying both business and the practice of law, she often acts as outside general counsel for clients without legal departments, in addition to advising on transactions.

A recognized leader in her field, Sarah has received numerous industry accolades from her peers and clients. In addition to her corporate practice, Sarah has long been committed to public service and she actively lends her expertise to pro bono initiatives. She reads and speaks Japanese.

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Jane E Montgomery, Schiff Hardin Law firm
Partner

Jane E. Montgomery concentrates her practice in a variety of matters at the local, state and federal levels. Ms. Montgomery regularly: Counsels many companies with day-to-day compliance issues, including air permitting, NSPS, MACT, and solid and hazardous waste issues. In her work, she often encounters difficult elemental mercury, manufactured gas plant, and PCB issues, and she recently has focused on Reform New Source Review (NSR) compliance for utilities. Counsels clients with respect to climate change issues. Such work has included work on carbon sequestration issues, greenhouse gas...

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