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NY State Developing Energy Highway Big on Renewables

New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo said Dec. 24 that $250m is available for a broad range of renewable energy generation projects as part of his Energy Highway Blueprint that has the goal of upgrading and modernizing New York’s aging energy infrastructure.

Funding for these renewable projects is administered by the New York State Energy Research and Development Authority (NYSERDA) through the state's Renewable Portfolio Standard (RPS), and is targeted to projects that use wind, hydroelectric, solar, biomass or other clean-energy resources. The projects will not only help expand the state’s renewable energy portfolio but will assist the state in reducing its carbon footprint.

“As New York State looks to upgrade and improve its energy infrastructure, renewable energy will play an even greater role in providing power that is more reliable, efficient and environmentally sustainable,” said Cuomo. “Through the RPS, the state is investing in its future. These projects will not only help diversify New York’s renewable energy portfolio, but also provide economic development opportunities across the state.”

The RPS funding will be awarded competitively, with recipients expected to be announced by summer 2013.

“The RPS program has allowed New York State to expand its clean-energy economy by attracting private investment in these medium and large renewable energy projects, which are creating jobs and providing environmental benefits for local communities,” said Francis Murray Jr., President and CEO of NYSERDA.

“The generation of electricity from renewable sources increases energy diversity and promotes a better environment for us all,” said Public Service Commission Chairman Garry Brown. “Developing renewable resources, along with our energy efficiency efforts, provides our best hope toward ending dependency on fossil fuels, improving regional economies, reducing harmful emissions, and enabling all of us to gain greater control of our energy future. The Renewable Portfolio Standard ensures that the success of the state’s renewable energy program continues unabated.”

The RPS program is expected to yield significant economic benefits to the state. Over the next 20 years, the direct benefits from the projects currently within the RPS program are expected to approach $2.4bn, and the effects on the broader economy are estimated at more than $4.9bn, the state noted.

Under the RPS program, NYSERDA has current Main Tier contracts with 54 large-scale renewable electricity generators. These projects include two biomass facilities, 10 landfill biogas operations, 25 hydroelectric facilities and 17 wind farms.

Barry Cassell is chief analyst, coal sector, GenerationHub

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