Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver and Energy Committee Chair Kevin Cahill today announced the passage of legislation to reauthorize and improve the Article X power plant siting law, provide for an on-bill recovery program for Green Jobs-Green New York Customers, and identify strategies to increase solar energy generation in New York.
"The residents and businesses of New York need clean, affordable and reliable electricity sources," said Silver (D-Manhattan). "The Power NY Act will allow New York to utilize rapidly advancing technology, encourage cleaner energy generation, and create jobs by attracting high-tech energy companies. With the inclusion of additional environmental justice and community health-related standards, we will help give New Yorkers an increased voice in the development of power plants in their communities."
"This legislation takes bold actions in terms of encouraging new markets for solar energy, enacting a new power plant siting law and providing homeowners and small businesses with access to new energy efficiency opportunities," said Cahill (D-Kingston). "We will finally put in place a process that will encourage the development of cleaner, more efficient environmentally friendly power generation while encouraging greater input and participation from the community. Adding on-bill recovery to our Green Jobs program will remove the financial hurdles that prevent homeowners from investing in common sense money saving energy efficiency improvements."
After the previous power plant siting law expired in 2003, the Assembly committed to protecting host communities and the surrounding environment from the potential harmful effects of new power plants. Under this legislation (A.8510/Cahill), any proposals for the siting of facilities that generate at least 25 megawatts - down from the previous 80-megawatt threshold - would require a detailed analyses of potential health and environmental impacts. Additionally, environmental justice concerns will be reviewed by a newly created siting board, which will include representation of local appointees selected by legislative leaders from a pool of candidates submitted by locally elected officials. To ensure further environmental protections, the legislation directs the Department of Environmental Conservation to promulgate standards to regulate power plant emissions, including carbon dioxide, mercury and sulfur dioxide.
The measure also prohibits the New York Power Authority and LIPA from assuming the lead role in assessing the environmental and health impacts of facilities they construct under the State Environmental Quality Review Act.
Additionally, the legislation will establish an on-bill recovery program to allow utility and Long Island Power Authority (LIPA) customers to repay their Green Jobs-Green New York energy efficiency retrofit loans on their monthly bill.
Under this legislation, NYSERDA would be directed to conduct a comprehensive analysis of the costs and environmental benefits of achieving the goal of 2,500 megawatts of in-state solar generation by 2020 and 5,000 megawatts by 2025.