New York awards permits for 1.5GW of new solar, part of 6.4GW renewable commitment

New York governor Kathy Hochul announces the project, which will see 79% of the state’s energy needs met by renewables by 2030. Image: Governor Kathy Hochul via Flickr

The New York state government has awarded permits, and committed funds, to 6.4GW of new clean energy projects in the state, 1.5GW of which will be in new solar capacity.

The investment, which the state government described as the “nation’s largest-ever”, is part of a plan to meet 70% of New York’s energy needs with renewables by 2030. Governor Kathy Hochul expects the new clean energy capacity to help drive a renewables sector that will meet 79% of the state’s energy needs by the end of the decade, and make the state’s power sector zero-emissions by 2040.

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“An investment of this magnitude is about more than just fighting climate change – we’re creating good-paying union jobs, improving the reliability of our electric grid and generating significant benefits in disadvantaged communities,” said Hochul.

“Today, we are taking action to keep New York’s climate goals within reach, demonstrating to the nation how to recalibrate in the wake of global economic challenges while driving us toward a greener and more prosperous future for generations to come.”

In total, the initiative will deliver 14 new solar projects, headlined by the 402MW Mineral Basin Solar project, developed by Swift Current Energy in neighbouring Pennsylvania, that will supply energy to the New York electric grid. US energy company AES is also a significant beneficiary of the announcement, with a pipeline of four solar projects with a combined capacity of 560MW in the state, alongside five wind projects.

The state has also approved the development of Nexamp’s 145MW Stonewall solar-plus-storage project, which includes 20MW of storage capacity, in the town of Meredith, in Delaware County.

The Solar Energy Industries Association (SEIA) notes that the state has “considerable” solar potential, and that it had the eighth-most installed solar capacity among the 50 US states in the second quarter of this year. The SEIA also expects the state to add 8.8GW of new capacity over the next five years, the sixth-most among the states, and initiatives such as these will help the state realise this potential.

There has also been considerable interest in small-scale and community solar in the state, with the latter set to benefit from the passage of the Inflation Reduction Act in particular. The SEIA reports that, between 2019 and 2022, community solar projects accounted for the most new installed capacity of any type, and this interest is affecting the New York renewable sector more broadly.

However, when asked about the role of community solar in this scheme, the New York State Energy Research and Development Authority (NYSERDA) told PV Tech that while community solar remains a priority for the state, such projects would not receive particular support from the latest round of funding and permitting.

“NYSERDA supports a broad range of solar projects, including rooftop solar, community solar and large-scale solar arrays, all of which play a significant role in helping New York achieve its Climate Act goals,” said a NYSERDA spokesperson.

“These large-scale renewable project awards are separate and distinct from the financial incentives and programs that support community solar projects and are not anticipated to have an impact on the continued development of community solar.”

However, the announcement will benefit some community renewables, as one of the offshore wind projects approved by the state government includes a 1.3GW community project, developed by RWE and National Grid Ventures, and the state’s energy mix as a whole could be significantly altered by this emphasis on renewable power.

The news follows Lightstar Renewables’ development of the first agrivoltaics project in the state last month, a 2MW project that will further expand the state’s small-scale solar sector.

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