Incentives for Eligible Wind Energy Systems Installers

NYSERDA (the New York State Energy Research and Development Authority which, among other things, administers the state’s Renewable Portfolio Standard or RPS) issues approximately $1.5 million per year in incentives to encourage the development of a network of Eligible Installers who will install end-use wind energy systems for residential, commercial, institutional or government use.

The incentives, of up to $150,000 per site, will be paid to Eligible Installers who install approved new grid-connected wind generation systems using Qualified equipment; eligibility requirements are described below.

Incentives are intended to benefit both the installer for business development, and the wind generation system owner, where generated power offsets the customer’s utility power purchases. The Eligible Installer must pass through incentives directly to their customers. Incentive levels depend on wind generator size, tower height, and customer type and are posted on www.PowerNaturally.org.

Information about the program is available in Program Opportunity Notice (PON) 1098, which was released in 2007. Applications accepted through December 31, 2009 by 5:00 PM Eastern Time.

The PON predated legislative changes in 2008 that expanded New York’s net metering regime and which encourage more wind on the grid.

Schenectady County wind project considered

Albany Times Union (10/21) reports that Reunion Power is studying a wind farm project in Princetown and Rotterdam in Schenectady County.

A Vermont wind energy company is in the very early stages of developing a wind farm in Schenectady County. A site for a 79.2-megawatt wind farm is being studied in the towns of Rotterdam and Princetown by Reunion Power LLC of Manchester. Steve Eisenberg, Reunion’s managing director, said the company has not yet acquired land for the project, although a meteorological tower has been erected to collect data…

Reunion also is examining wind farm feasibility in nearby Richmondville.

Albany Times Union editorial urges “No” to NIMBYism

In a forceful editorial, the Albany Times Union (10/8) urges towns to avoid succumbing to NIMBY (“Not in my backyard”) concerns in the context of renewable energy project siting:

It’s hard to imagine any more dismaying and self-defeating words and sentiments than the old standby of opposition to innovation, experimentation or progress summed up by “not in my backyard.”

Hard, but not impossible. Listen, for instance, to the howls of protest in rural Albany County to the mere possibility of a wind energy project. They add up to a more specific, and more troubling, form of NIMBY. Call it NGEINMBY, for “No green energy in my backyard.” An even more pointed slogan for this attitude might be FDOFFIMBY – “further dependence on fossil fuels in my backyard.”…

The crux of the matter appears to this blogger to be that there is a conflict between state renewable energy goals and the local practice of renewable energy siting. That is, towns  largely have been left on their own to address siting issues, despite state policies (such as the Renewable Portfolio Standard or RPS and a recent expansion of net-metering) that encourage if not mandate the inclusion of more renewables in the state’s energy mix. Potential pitfalls in this structure may be illustrated by the Attorney General’s investigation into allegedly improper relationships or goings on between wind developers and towns.

New York wind energy: Albany County, Farmersville

Shell Wind Energy potentially in Towns of New Scotland and Rensselaerville (Albany County)

The weekly Altamont Enterprise (10/2) reports [as does the Schenectady Daily Gazette 10/7 and the Albany Times Union (10/7)] on apparent plans by Shell Wind Energy to develop two 25-turbine sites in Albany County not far from the Helderberg Escarpment:

Shell Oil and Cinco Energy Land Services are looking to build commercial wind farms on both state and private land in Rensselaerville and New Scotland.

Representatives have been approaching residents about leasing their properties. Shell has been tight-lipped about the project’s details, and neither town has zoning regulating the building of windmills.

Part of this project involves building on the Partridge Run State Wildlife Management Area in the Helderbergs…

Farmersville (Cattaraugus County) may enact moratorium

Buffalo News (10/5) reports on a wind development moratorium being considered by the Town of Farmersville

The Farmersville Town Board will meet in a special session at 7 p. m. Monday to discuss the possibility of placing a moratorium on permits for wind-energy generating facilities.

Officials also canceled a public hearing Wednesday on a proposal to increase wind project application fees and amended the town’s law regulating wind farms…

New York wind siting: Enfield reviews draft wind energy law

The Ithaca Journal (10/2) reports that the Town of Enfield (Tompkins County) has reviewed a draft law to regulate commercial wind projects:

Wind power in Tompkins County took another step toward becoming a reality with the completion of a wind law for Enfield. The Enfield Town Board is still months away from adopting the law, but a draft of it was reviewed by the board and its attorney, and is now in the hands of the Tompkins County Planning Department for additional scrutiny.

NYS DEC issues Galloo Island environmental scoping document

Galloo Island wind environmental scoping document available

The New York State Department of Environmental Conservation (NYS DEC) final environmental scoping document for this wind farm project in the Town of Hounsfield (Jefferson County), filed under the State Environmental Quality Review Act (SEQRA), is available online.

Upstate NY Power Corp intends to place up to 84 wind turbines on Galloo Island in Lake Ontario with nameplate generation capacity up to 269 megawatts. The scoping document comprises 40-pages of detailed requirements but indicates that an underground transmission line necessary to be constructed for the project is not subject to SEQRA review. The transmission line will receive Article VII review from the New York Public Service Commission (PSC). The NYS DEC asserted itself lead agency for environmental review of the wind project over the objection of the Town of Hounsfield Planning Board.

Watertown Daily Times (9/30) article on the NYS DEC document here.

Where is Galloo Island you ask? Right here.

Wind power New York: NYISO, Cape Vincent, Italy

Cape Vincent wind zoning parameters determined

Watertown Daily times (9/27) reports on zoning requirements in the Town of Cape Vincent (Jefferson County):

The boundary for the wind turbine overlay district is set tentatively as Route 6 to the west and the riverfront district to the north. The town’s wind zoning amendment committee agreed to those boundaries at its meeting Thursday afternoon.

Yates County approves Town of Italy wind incentives

From the Finger Lakes Times (9/26)

The Yates County Planning Board approved proposed incentive zoning amendments to the Town of Italy’s comprehensive plan that would make way for wind energy development. Incentive zoning refers to designated areas in the town where wind turbines would be allowed and developers eligible for financial incentives…

New York State wind power expands

Schenectady Daily Gazette (9/28) reports on expansion of wind industry in New York:

Wind power will soon become a bigger part of the state’s energy picture. In September, there were over 700 megawatts of wind generating capacity in commercial operation in New York. By next summer, wind capacity is expected to grow to more than 1,200 megawatts, while proposed projects would add another 6,500 megawatts of wind capacity by 2011. The New York Independent System Operator is already preparing for the increase in wind power.

Newsday opinion piece (9/28) supporting wind power in New York state