New York State bills affecting wind power

The New York State Legislature has reconvened, this time with Democratic control of both the Assembly and the Senate (the latter if barely) for the first time in a very long time. With a Democrat governor, it is possible that bills  may have an easier time becoming law. Time will tell.

A number of bills affecting wind power are currently under consideration. At least two directly affect the siting of wind facilities, one substantially. The bills include:

A00626, referred January 7 to the Local Governments committee, relates to requiring local building and planning regulations to accommodate the use of renewable energy resources such as solar thermal, photovoltaic, wind, hydroelectric, geothermal electric, geothermal ground source heat, tidal energy, wave energy, ocean thermal, and fuel cells using renewable fuels. It is sponsored by Amy Paulin of Westchester County.

The bill would modify village and town law to require local building and planning regulations to accommodate the use of renewable and alternative energy sources.  The justification is:

When a town or village creates zoning and planning regu- lations, they are created in accordance with a comprehensive plan and with consideration to several factors. Currently, among such factors are “safety from fire, flood, panic and other dangers.” In order to encourage the use of alternative sources of energy, the proposed legislation adds the accommodation of “renewable energy resources which, for the purposes of this section shall include solar thermal, photovoltaics, wind, hydroelectric, geothermal electric, geothermal ground source heat, tidal energy, wave energy, ocean thermal, and fuel cells using renewable fuels” to the list of factors that a town or village shall consider when creating its zoning and planning regulations. It is important to consider alternative sources of energy when making zoning and planning decisions and requiring towns and villages to do so will, hopefully, promote the use of “green” energy sources which are cleaner, renewable and better in the long-term.

S00785, introduced by Senator Jim Alesi of western New York, would establish the New York state task force on wind generating facilities siting and permitting policies to study the need to implement a uniform statewide policy regarding the siting and permitting of wind energy production facilities; further establishes an 18 month moratorium upon the siting and permitting of wind energy production facilities; and repeal such provisions effective December 31, 2010.  The bill was referred to Energy and Telecommunications on January 15.

The task force would:

(a) analyz[e] the variety of current local processes for siting wind facilities;

(b) consider[] establishing a standardized formula for the siting of wind energy generating facilities to use the following factors:

(i) proximity to residential areas;
(ii) availability of natural resources;
(iii) economic impact on the local community;
(iv) visual, audible and atmospheric impacts; and
(v) impact on adjacent communities;

(c) investigat[e] the possibility of a uniform permitting procedure for the siting of wind energy generating facilities;

(d) study[] the feasibility of establishing a statewide list of properties which are appropriate for wind energy generating facilities and the siting of such a facility would have no impact on residential or neighboring communities; and

(e) prepar[]e and submit[] a report [by December 31, 2010] to the governor and the legislature that provides specific recommendations including, but not limited to, the existing local laws on the siting of wind energy generating facilities; the necessity of a statewide policy on wind energy generating facilities and the possible structure of a statewide policy on wind energy generating facilities.

Readers of this blog will recall that according to a very unscientific poll, WPL Blog readers favor state siting oversight.

A01087, sponsored by Aileen Gunther, representing Sullivan and Orange counties, would allow farmers to provide for on-site wind electric generation facilities and receive a tax credit of up to $7,500. The bill was referred to Ways and Means on January 7. The proposed legislation has been around since 2001.

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