On Friday, New York Governor Andrew Cuomo announced that his state would commit $1.4 billion to 26 renewable projects, including 22 solar farms, three wind farms, and one hydroelectric project. The outlay is a huge sum compared to what most states spend on renewable energy.
At the same time, the governor denounced the Trump administration’s plan to open nearly 90 percent of offshore federal waters to oil drilling. Cuomo asked that Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke exclude two areas off the New York coast from lease sales, citing concerns about oil spills like the BP Deepwater Horizon disaster in 2010 in the Gulf of Mexico. Cuomo noted that Florida has been able to obtain verbal approval that lease sales won’t be held in waters adjacent to the Florida coast (although some officials in the administration have contradicted that exemption).
The renewable projects will be sited throughout the state and were chosen by New York State Energy Research and Development Authority (NYSERDA) based on the proposed cost of each project, the project’s ability to create local jobs, and developer experience in building renewable projects in New York.
The solar installations range from a 1.53MW installation in the western town of Java, New York to a 100MW installation in the town of Coxsackie, just 25 miles south of the state capital of Albany. The southern tier of the Empire State will get two wind farms at 272MW and 121.8MW each, while another will be added in western New York with a capacity of 330.78MW.
As for hydro? Money for that project will be used to renovate an existing hydro plant, and the renovations are expected to result in an extra 3.23MW.
All of the projects are expected to be operational by 2022, and many of them will break ground in April 2018, according to a press release from the governor’s office. Altogether, the projects are expected to add 1,380MW of renewable energy to New York’s grid. That’s important given that the state intends to close the 2GW Indian Point nuclear power plant by 2021.
New York is also making moves to accelerate offshore wind adoption. In January 2017, Governor Cuomo approved a 90MW wind farm off the coast of Long Island, and the state committed to installing 2.4GW of offshore wind before 2030.