Senator Gillibrand calls for federal tax credit for NY wind turbine production

Gillibrand Calls on Feds to Provide Tax Credit for Wind Turbine Production in Syracuse, Rochester, Buffalo, and Ogdensburg

U.S. Senator Kirsten Gillibrand today urged the federal government to approve an investment tax credit to build wind turbines in manufacturing sites in Syracuse, Rochester, Buffalo and Ogdensburg. The D’Arcinoff Group, a U.S. based company, is looking to operate clean technology manufacturing facilities in 15 plants across the U.S. According to their estimates, the four New York plants could employ up to 15,000 people, working in multiple shifts. If fully financed, Phase One of the project could create upwards of 800 jobs at Syracuse’s New Process Gear facility in DeWitt, 6,000 jobs in Rochester, 2,000 jobs in Buffalo, and 1,200 jobs in Ogdensburg.

via Kirsten Gillibrand – United States Senator for New York: News.

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NY Assembly Bill Would Create Wind Project Siting Task Force

The siting of wind facilities in New York is by and large a local affair. Unlike some states, New York does not have in place a comprehensive statewide framework for wind energy facility siting. Enter the state legislature.

Assembly Bill A04793 would establish a New York state task force on wind generating facilities siting to study the need to implement a uniform statewide policy regarding the siting and permitting of wind energy production facilities. The bill, referred to the Energy Committee,  has no Senate “same as” as of 3/14/2011.

The Senate does have pending a somewhat related bill pending, however. Senate Bill S01086 would authorize and direct NYSERDA to conduct a comprehensive study of the potential siting processes required to establish wind energy production facilities. The Senate bill has been referred to the Energy and Telecommunications Committee.

With the legislative session set to end in a few months, at this juncture passage of either bill seems somewhat remote.

Text of Bill A04793 | Text of Bill S01086

[3/18/2011: Nice article on how Wisconsin is currently dealing with the issue of whether states or locales should determine wind project siting policy.]

ACE-NY 2010 Policy Agenda favors “one stop shop” for energy facility siting

Well, we brought you the New York State Towns Association’s legislative agenda, which calls for continued local control over wind and other energy facilities siting. Comes the policy agenda of the Alliance for Clean Energy, NY, which favors a state “one stop shop”, with local representation. The issue of (clean or otherwise) power plant siting oversight has been a constant irritant for municipalities, developers and utilities alike since the expiration of Article X some seven years ago.

ACE NY strongly supports the enactment of a law establishing a “one-stop shop” siting board for new power plants. We support a fuel neutral siting bill but believe that if any generation projects are provided with streamlined permitting, that priority should be provided for clean energy projects. Since clean energy generation sources should be the state’s preferred generation resources, they may warrant slightly different substantive and procedural treatment within a reenacted siting bill. A siting board would provide much-needed consistency in treatment of projects across the state; better interagency coordination of needed permit approvals; and clearer, streamlined time frames for all interested parties. ACE NY supports the inclusion of provisions for intervenor funding and inclusion of local representation on the board for specific project review, and is open to discussion as to the appropriate project size limit for inclusion in a new statewide siting law.

The policy agenda otherwise endorses more wind energy, including offshore.

Source: Final ACE NY Policy Agenda 2010.

New York and related wind power developments

From news sources:

New York City and New York State are just darn green, gosh darn it. (Green Inc. 9/21)

Natural Power, a global renewable energy consulting firm, establishes U.S. presence, opens office in Saratoga Springs. (Natural Power, 9/2009) [someone better alert the EDF green economy map people]

U.S. House passes Rep. Paul Tonko’s (NY-21) Wind Energy Research and Development Act of 2009  (Tonko website, 9/9) Says Tonko:

This bill will take us in the right direction in terms of creating a renewable energy infrastructure that will help power our future energy needs and wean us off our gluttonous dependence on fossil fuels,” said Rep. Tonko. “We need to make sure that we develop renewable technologies that are as safe, reliable, and energy efficient as possible. The program created by this bill will do just that.

Quinnipiac University (Hamden, CT) prepares for 25 vertical axis wind turbine “garden.” (The Day, 9/20)

North Carolina Senate votes to limit mountaintop wind turbines

As reported in Green, Inc., at least one state legislature is wrestling head on with wind energy facility siting. [Postsctipt: Here’s news on another state, Wisconsin state wind siting legislation developments, from Wind for Wisconsin]

As reported, the North Carolina Senate voted overwhelmingly for Senate Bill 1068, which would limit ridge top wind turbines to those erected for the purpose of generating electricity for residential purposes and provided that they are no more than 100 feet tall to the hub.

The bill otherwise prescribes review conditions for wind facilities of 3 MW nameplate generation capacity or greater, including as such might impact scenic vistas. Wind power generating facilities would not be permitted if

Construction or operation of the facility would have a significant adverse impact on views from any State or national park, wilderness area, significant natural heritage area as compiled by the North Carolina Natural Heritage Program, or other public lands or private conservation lands designated or dedicated due to their high recreational values.

And it’s not like the state does not endorse renewables to any extent. Since 2007 it has had on the books a renewable portfolio standard.

Guest article: Ontario, Canada set to become a wind power-house

What follows is a guest post from Toronto-based attorney Sven Hombach of the National Renewable Energy Group of the Fraser Milner Casgrain LLP law firm regarding the groundbreaking renewable energy legislation promulgated earlier this year in the province of Ontario, Canada, New York state’s “neighbor to the north”. The views expressed herein do not necessarily represent those of Clifford Rohde. If you would like to submit a guest article of potential interest to followers of wind power developments in New York State, please contact Clifford Rohde.

Ontario set to become a wind power-house

What do you get when an Ontario politician visits several European countries on a quixotic journey for wind farms? You get a surprisingly ambitious piece of legislation designed to bring the Province to the forefront of renewable energy in North America.

Following the European tour of Ontario Minister of Energy George Smitherman, the Province of Ontario introduced “Bill 150 – the Green Energy and Green Economy Act, 2009” this past February in the wake of a commitment to phase out coal-fired power generation in the Province by 2014. Less than three months later, Bill 150 has been reviewed, revised, and passed into law. While the detailed technical regulations are still being developed, the framework is already in place and heralds a new era of wind power incentives.

The Feed-In Tariff – Take it to the Bank

The heart and soul of Bill 150 is the creation of a European-style feed-in tariff by which the Ontario Power Authority enters into 20-year Power Purchase Agreements (“PPAs”) for certain prices per kWh. For wind power, the proposed prices are:

  • On-Shore Wind Power: 13.5 cents/kWh
  • Off-Shore Wind Power: 19 cents/kWh
  • Community-based or aboriginal wind projects up to 10 MW: 14.4 cents/kWh

The biggest implication of the feed-in tariff program is that project proponents will be able to provide lenders with a firm commitment by an entity at arm’s length with government to purchase power for virtually the entire life span of a project. In the current risk-adverse lending environment, a signed PPA can be expected to make financing much easier than it has been in the past.

Wind Power Siting – Reducing NIMBY

Anti-wind power interest groups and municipalities in Ontario have traditionally been able to use the municipal zoning process to their advantage to block certain projects. With the specific intention of reducing NIMBY (“Not In My Back Yard”), Bill 150 empowers the Province to invalidate municipal zoning bylaws designed to prevent otherwise meritorious renewable energy projects. This provision has received substantial criticism for disenfranchising local opposition and the conflict this creates. In order to alleviate such concerns, the final version of Bill 150 contains an added clause requiring the provisions of the statute to be applied “in a spirit that promotes community consultation”.

The environmental appeals process has also frequently been used by third party wind power opponents attempting to prevent or delay projects. In order to continue to allow legitimate appeals but curb frivolous ones, the jurisdiction of the provincial Environmental Review Tribunal has been limited to instances where an approval “will cause serious and irreversible harm to plant life, animal life, human health or safety of the natural environment,” as opposed to the current more lenient appeal clause.

Grid Access – Power to the People

The connection of generating facilities to the electrical grid has always been a bottleneck requiring developers to wait in line. While projects were provided with a queue position, this position by no means guaranteed timely connection. While Bill 150 does not address the core problem of the matter —namely limited resources to construct new infrastructure— it provides renewable energy projects with a competitive advantage over traditional sources of energy. Bill 150 specifies that renewable energy projects receive priority access to the grid, thus allowing them to jump the queue. However, there will not be any relative priority between renewable energy projects themselves.

What’s Next?

All of the various ministries and agencies tasked with implementing Bill 150 are working on developing the required technical regulations, which are expected to be released in draft during the second half of 2009. Project proponents and opponents, lenders, and lawyers alike are eagerly awaiting the release of the proposed “nuts & bolts”, as there will be an opportunity for public consultation. One thing, however, is clear: if coal, which currently accounts for 15 percent of all electricity generated in Ontario, is to be phased out by 2014 as planned, there will be tremendous opportunities for wind power to fill the void.

New York state wind power legislative update

Updates through April 10, 2009.

**Not previously reported** A00187/S02715 (Requires certain providers of electric service to purchase electricity from eligible electric generators; establishes a rate schedule for certain renewable energy projects; prescribes the powers and duties of certain state agencies and officials; and requires a report to the governor and the legislature concerning the effect of the purchase by providers of electric service of electricity generated from renewable energy sources.) On 01/07/2009, Assembly bill referred to energy committee. On 02/27/2009, Senate bill REFERRED TO ENERGY AND TELECOMMUNICATIONS committee.

A00626/S01991 (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.):  On 3/9/2009, Assembly bill passed assembly, delivered to senate, REFERRED TO LOCAL GOVERNMENT.

**Not previously reported** A00667/S02541 (Provides a tax exemption from sales and compensating use taxes on alternative energy systems including alternative energy systems, new Energy Star appliances and tangible personal property used in or on habitable residential and non-residential structure to improve energy efficiency; and defines relevant terms; authorizes municipalities to adopt the exemption.) On 01/07/2009, Assembly bill referred to ways and means committee. On 02/23/2009, Senate bill REFERRED TO ENERGY AND TELECOMMUNICATIONS.

**Not previously reported** A01018 (Expands the products which may be purchased for public use by including renewable energy resources; increases the cost premium percentage for renewable energy generated in New York.) On 03/25/2009 amend and recommit to local governments; 03/25/2009 print number 1018a; 03/31/2009 enacting clause stricken.

A01087 (Establishes a credit against income tax for wind electric generating equipment expenditures up to $7500.) No change.

A01744 (Establishes corporate and personal income tax credits for the purchase of wind energy system equipment; customer-generators will be allowed a tax credit of 25% of qualified expenditures on wind energy system equipment, not to exceed $7500.) No change.

**Not previously reported** A02448 (Authorizes school districts to issue bonds for the purposes of funding alternative and renewable energy sources for school facilities.) On 01/15/2009, referred to education committee.

**Not previously reported** A02672 (Creates the sustainable energy loan program to assist homeowners in the installation of distributed generation renewable energy sources or energy efficiency improvements; loan program offered through municipality; money appropriated through state grants and loans; provides definition for distributed generation renewable energy sources.) On 01/21/2009, referred to energy committee.

**Not previously reported** A04730 (Provides sales and compensating use tax exemptions on Energy Star rated appliances and alternative energy systems.) On 02/05/2009, referred to ways and means committee.

**Not previously reported** A05998 (Finances the installation of renewable energy sources or energy efficiency improvements in the Peconic Bay region; creates new article; defines terms; requires a report; makes related provisions.) On 02/23/2009, referred to local governments committee.

**Not previously reported** A05999 (Provides for the financing of the installation of distributed generation renewable energy sources or energy efficiency improvements; authorizes the governing body of any local government to designate an area within such local government within which authorized local government officials and property owners may enter into contractual assessments for public improvements and to make certain financing arrangements; defines terms; requires a report;makes related provisions.) On 02/23/2009, referred to local governments committee.

**Not previously reported** A06104 (Establishes an alternative energy systems and generating equipment tax credit for qualified expenditures meeting the criteria prescribed by the department of taxation and finance, in consultation with the department of environmental conservation and the New York state energy research and development authority, for taxpayers subject to tax under articles nine-a, twenty-two, thirty-two and thirty-three of the tax law whose business is not substantially engaged in the commercial generation, distribution, transmission or servicing of energy or energy products.) On 02/25/2009, referred to ways and means committee.

A06258 (Establishes the New York state task force on wind generating facilities siting 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.)  No change.

**Not previously reported** A06766 (Establishes a small business energy assistance and advocacy services program as part of the division of small business to assist small businesses in accessing energy conservation, energy efficiency and renewable energy programs available through public and private sources; requires notice to be given to the division of small business prior to any rate increase; makes related provisions.) On 03/12/2009, referred to small business committee.

**Not previously reported** A06935 (Enacts the alternative energy management planning act; requires municipalities to consider using alternative energy sources in the construction of new municipal buildings; authorizes such municipalities to request a state or federal agency, authority or commission assistance providing information concerning alternative energy sources; directs municipalities to form alternative energy planning units.) On 03/17/2009, referred to local governments committee.

**Not previously reported** A07013/S01361 (Establishes an alternative energy systems and generating equipment tax credit for qualified expenditures meeting the criteria prescribed by the department of taxation and finance, in consultation with the department of environmental conservation and the New York state energy research and development authority, for taxpayers subject to tax under articles nine-a, twenty-two, thirty-two and thirty-three of the tax law whose business is not substantially engaged in the commercial generation, distribution, transmission or servicing of energy or energy products.) On03/18/2009, Assembly bill referred to ways and means; On 03/10/2009, Senate bill REPORTED AND COMMITTED TO FINANCE.

**Not previously reported**A07096/S01035 (Expands the products which may be purchased for public use by including renewable energy resources; further increases the cost premium percentage of a product deemed reasonably competitive.) On03/20/2009, Assembly bill referred to local governments committee; On 01/22/2009, Senate bill REFERRED TO LOCAL GOVERNMENT committee.

**Not previously reported** A07216 (Requires all persons entering into energy performance contracts to conduct a study of the cost and feasibility of at least one renewable energy source; defines terms.) On 03/26/2009, referred to energy committee.

**Not previously reported** A06840/S03828 (Establishes the solar or wind or farm waste energy system tax stabilization funds.) On 03/13/2009, Assembly bill referred to energy committee. On 04/02/2009, Senate bill REFERRED TO ENERGY AND TELECOMMUNICATIONS committe.

**Not previously reported** S00697 (Establishes an alternative energy systems and generating equipment tax credit for qualified expenditures meeting the criteria prescribed by the department of taxation and finance, in consultation with the department of environmental conservation and the New York state energy research and development authority, for taxpayers subject to tax under articles nine-a, twenty-two, thirty-two and thirty-three of the tax law whose business is not substantially engaged in the commercial generation, distribution, transmission or servicing of energy or energy products.) On 01/13/2009, REFERRED TO INVESTIGATIONS AND GOVERNMENT OPERATIONS committee.

S00785 (Establishes 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; repeals such provisions effective December 31, 2010.) No change.

**Not previously reported** S01000 (Expands the products which may be purchased for public use by including renewable energy resources; further increases the cost premium percentage of a product deemed reasonably competitive.) On 01/22/2009, REFERRED TO ENVIRONMENTAL CONSERVATION committee.

**Not previously reported**  S01642 (Expands the products which may be purchased for public use by including renewable energy resources; increases the cost premium percentage for renewable energy generated in New York.)  On 03/06/2009 AMEND AND RECOMMIT TO LOCAL GOVERNMENT committee; on 03/06/2009 PRINT NUMBER 1642A.

S01784 (Directs a study of the siting processes for wind energy production facilities and provides for a report with recommendations for an overall sitings plan.) No change.