New York opts for 1GW-plus of solar in annual RES procurement series

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A New England landscape. Source: Flickr, Eric Neuman

New York state has revealed it has awarded 17 new ground-mounted solar projects totalling 1,090MW, alongside 40MW of battery storage projects.

Last Friday, state Governor Andrew Cuomo identified the winners of New York Energy Research and Development Authority’s (NYSERDA’s) annual competitive procurement series, now in its third year, in his 2020 State of the State address.

Among the most ambitious projects selected under the 1,278MW round were a 200MW solar project backed by 20MW of energy storage and a standalone 180MW PV plant from NextEra Energy Resources; a 270MW plant backed by 20MW of energy storage proposed by ConnectGen; a 120MW solar facility backed by Boralex; and an 80MW PV plant from SunEast Tabletop Solar.

The remaining 12 PV projects were smaller, targeting 19.99MW or 20MW of capacity. Four wind projects also were awarded.

“The weighted average award price for this solicitation is US$18.59 per megawatt hour of production over the 20-year term of the awarded contracts, the lowest average award price resulting from a NYSERDA large-scale renewables solicitation in over a decade,” a government press release published Friday notes.

Some bids were 23% lower than the bids received in the 2018 series of the competitive renewables procurement programme, according to the release.

Construction is expected to start on some projects this year, and all are predicted to be operational by 2024, according to the government. NYSERDA and other state and local agencies will monitor development. 

The news heralds Canadian developer Boralex’s first foray into the US PV market. The company – headquartered less than two hours away from upstate New York in Montreal – won four projects in total.

“Not only was every project submitted selected, but the Boralex development team entered the New York market and took these projects from concept to today's announcement in less than a year,” president and chief executive officer Patrick Lemaire said in a press release.

“These projects mark our very successful entry in the United States solar energy market and represent an important step in the achievement of our growth and diversification orientations of our strategic plan,” Lemaire added.

Cuomo: Raft of solar and PV projects key to “aggressive” climate change strategy

New York is targeting 70% renewable electricity generation by 2030, with 3,000MW of storage planned to balance the grid.

“New York continues to be a leader in developing large-scale renewable energy projects in a way that brings significant economic benefits and jobs to the state,” Cuomo said. “With these projects we will build on our aggressive strategy to combat climate change and lay a foundation for a more sustainable future for all New Yorkers.”

The press release claims that the state will invest US$1 billion in the projects, which will in turn spur 2,000 jobs and more than US$2.5 billion in direct and private investments.

Details about next year’s solicitation to come in April

The government said that NYSERDA will issue the next solicitation for large-scale renewable energy by 22 April.

“Maintaining a predictable pace of annual solicitations for renewable energy will support continued development and investment interest in New York state, and build on the state's status as a leading market for renewable energy development in the US,” the press release notes.

NYSERDA has awarded more than 67 renewables projects in three years, which the government equates to 12% of the state’s electricity demand in 2030.

The prospects and challenges of solar's new era in the US will take centre stage at Large Scale Solar USA 2020 (Austin, Texas, on 23-24 June 2020).

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