Will Section 94-C Enable Renewable Energy Project Siting and Help New York State Achieve Its Energy Targets?

Fields, Alexander

Through the enactment of the Climate Leadership and Community Protection Act (CLCPA), New York State (NYS) has adopted highly ambitious targets to address climate change. Achieving these targets will require a transformation of NYS’s electricity generation system, including a massive buildout of new large-scale wind and solar power projects. The success of this endeavor will depend on the ability of new projects to be efficiently sited through a streamlined process. This Note argues that the new framework adopted under Section 94-C of Article 6 of the New York Executive Law (Section 94-C) should enable this transformation. However, this is highly contingent upon whether the newly-created Office of Renewable Energy Siting (ORES) promulgates and enforces regulations and standards with the explicit intent of meeting the CLCPA targets.
This Note examines how Section 94-C is an improvement from earlier siting regimes in NYS, which emphasized a time-intensive and comprehensive approval process primarily tailored to the environmental and socioeconomic impacts of fossil-fuel power projects. This Note explains how Section 94-C sought to bridge the historical disconnect between old siting statutes with NYS’s more recent priorities for renewable energy adoption and addressing climate change. This Note demonstrates how Section 94-C can bypass massive delays, provided that ORES establishes more reasonable and predictable substantive standards, as well as reduces the complexity and extent of procedural requirements for developers.


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Columbia Journal of Environmental Law

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August 18, 2022