New York Gov. Kathy Hochul on Oct. 2 announced the auction of New York State’s first “Build-Ready” project to advance large-scale renewable energy development across the state.
The New York Energy Research and Development Authority is seeking a partner to transform a former mine in St. Lawrence County into one of the largest solar projects in the Adirondack Park.
NYSERDA is the administrator of the State’s Build-Ready program and will facilitate the auction.
Sited within the boundaries of Benson Mines on a former tailings pile, once operational, the solar project to be located at the site will be a total of 12 megawatts in terms of its size.
NYSERDA has entered into an exclusive lease option agreement with Benson Mines for the project area and has fully permitted the project with the Adirondack Park Agency.
NYSERDA has also advanced the project to the mid-stage of the state’s interconnection process and will be providing interconnection cost estimates to eligible bidders. The awarded bidder will enter into agreements with NYSERDA to buy the project and complete the remaining development and construction needed to bring the envisioned solar project into operation.
NYSERDA will host an informational webinar to provide an overview of the project and the auction process on October 17, 2023 at 11:00 a.m. ET. Interested parties can register for the webinar here.
The Request for Proposal is being implemented through a two-step process.
Step one eligibility applications are due on December 7, 2023, at 3:00 p.m. ET. Proposers must meet all minimum eligibility qualifications and be invited to submit a proposal in step two. Step two proposals are due on March 14, 2024, at 3:00 p.m. ET. Interested proposers can review the application process here. NYSERDA anticipates notifying the awardee in the second quarter of 2024.
NYSERDA has worked with community leaders, business partners, and regional partner agencies to explore and advance community benefits associated with the project.
NYSERDA also collaborated with the Town of Clifton to ensure the project complements the community's character and long-term economic development plans. NYSERDA and the St. Lawrence County Industrial Development Agency (SLCIDA) are establishing a Host Community Improvement Benefit Fund to be managed by SLCIDA. The fund’s purpose is to advance and support projects that have local impact and align with community and regional interests.
The state’s Accelerated Renewable Energy Growth and Community Benefit Act established the Build-Ready Program and directed NYSERDA to identify, assess, and facilitate the development of suitable sites for renewable power-generating facilities, giving priority to “previously developed sites” and “existing or abandoned commercial sites,” such as brownfields, landfills, or other disused or underutilized sites, and provide benefits to host communities.
In October 2020, the New York Public Service Commission issued an order formally approving the Build-Ready Program. The order reiterated that the Build-Ready Program will prioritize (1) advancing renewable energy projects on previously developed and existing or abandoned commercial sites and (2) providing benefits to communities hosting these sites.
The Build-Ready Program is currently advancing a pipeline of sites across New York State, having screened over 5,000 locations, and progressing dozens of sites through more advanced assessment and development as it prepares multiple solar projects across the state for future Build-Ready auctions.
Local community members, elected officials, private companies, environmental justice communities, and other interested parties are being encouraged to nominate potential Build-Ready sites, which will be considered on a rolling basis, through the program’s Site Nomination Process.