NY legislature passes net metering bills; Paterson to sign into law

A package of bills expanding “net-metering” or the ability of electricity users to generate their own electricity (including with wind turbines) and send it back to the utility, effectively spinning their electric meters “backwards”, made it through the New York legislature and will be signed by Governor David Paterson.

Among other expansions, the new law will authorize net metering for wind technology for all utility customer classes, including non-residential classes. The state’s previous net metering legislation authorized such systems only for residential and farm operations. The law also will allow non-residential wind electric generators to net meter up to the lesser of their peak load or 2 megawatts, and increase the maximum size of wind facilities for farm operations from 125 kilowatts to 500 kilowatts. Caps on net-metering enrollment in utility service territories will also be increased.

Governor Paterson’s press release lauding the legislation is here. The legislation received substantial bi-partisan support, a necessity in a legislature with a Republican controlled Senate and Democratic Assembly.

New York’s leading voices on renewable energy, who had worked hard to see the legislation pass, also applauded the agreement. Carol Murphy, head of ACE-NY, called the legislation a “huge victory for the future of renewable energy in New York state.”

ACE-NY reports that the bills in the package included three bills in both houses and were supported by the Assembly Energy Chair Kevin Cahill and Senate Energy Chair George Maziarz. In the Senate, S.7171B and S.8415, sponsored by Senator Owen Johnson (R-Babylon), passed earlier this year and S8481, sponsored by Senator George Maziarz (R-Newfane), was passed by the Senate yesterday. The Assembly passed the three bill package, which included A.11146 and A.11592, sponsored by Assemblyman Steve Englebright (D-Setauket) and A.11482, sponsored by Assemblyman Tim Gordon (I-Bethlehem).

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