Powering Strong Communities

New York State Energy Research and Development Authority seeks renewable energy supplies

The New York State Energy Research and Development Authority (NYSERDA) is looking to procure Tier 4 eligible renewable energy certificates (RECs) under a solicitation issued on Jan. 13.

NYSERDA said it is looking to negotiate contracts for up to an aggregate 1,500 megawatts but may exceed this quantity if it receives proposals that are sufficiently compelling.

A New York Public Service Commission October 2020 order established a new Tier 4 within the state’s clean energy standard (CES) in response to a NYSERDA CES White Paper.

The goal of the Tier 4 program is to reduce New York City’s reliance on fossil fuels by increasing the penetration of renewable energy into New York City (New York ISO Zone J) and by optimizing deliverability of renewable resources throughout the entirety of the state.

Through Tier 4, the state will procure the unbundled environmental attributes (in the form of Tier 4 RECs) associated with renewable generation delivered into Zone J. These environmental attributes include the avoidance of GHG emissions, as well as the avoidance of local pollutants such as NOx, SOx, and fine particulate matter. 

Tier 4 is open to the following renewable energy systems: solar thermal, photovoltaics, on-land wind, hydroelectric, geothermal electric, geothermal ground source heat, tidal energy, wave energy, ocean thermal, and fuel cells which do not utilize a fossil fuel resource in the process of generating electricity.

To be compensated under Tier 4, the resource must either be located in Zone J or delivered to Zone J over a new transmission interconnection (that electrically connects after October 15, 2020).

Non-hydropower renewables must achieve commercial operation after October 15, 2020 to be eligible for Tier 4. Hydropower resources must be existing or already under construction as of June 18, 2020.

Offshore wind RECs will be procured separately from Tier 4 resources. Behind-the-meter resources are not eligible under Tier 4.

The request for proposals is available here.

Cuomo details renewable energy progress

In his 2021 State of the State address that he delivered this month, New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo offered details on how the state plans to advance its renewable energy plans this year.

In 2021, New York will contract with Equinor Wind US LLC for the development of two new offshore wind farms more than 20 miles off the shore of Long Island, in what is the largest procurement of renewable energy by a state in U.S. history. Upon completion, the two offshore wind farms will yield a combined 2,490 megawatts.
Once the large-scale renewable and offshore wind farms are complete, more than half of New York's electricity will come from renewable sources, putting the state ahead of schedule toward reaching its goal of 70 percent renewable energy by 2030.

Over the past five years, the state has contracted for the construction of 68 new large-scale renewable energy facilities including solar farms, onshore wind farms, and three offshore wind farms that are among the largest in the nation. These investments will add 6,100 megawatts of clean energy capacity to the state's infrastructure.
New York will contract for another 24 large-scale renewable energy generation projects in 2021, to bring the state's total clean energy build-out to nearly 100 projects. “The 23 solar farms and one hydroelectric facility will be the most cost-efficient clean energy construction to date in New York, producing more than 2,200 megawatts of clean power, generating more than $2.9 billion of investment and creating 3,400 jobs in 16 counties Upstate,” Cuomo’s office said in a news release.

New York State this year will also construct a new green energy superhighway of 250 miles. The $2 billion project will create opportunities to maximize the use of renewable energy for the parts of the state that still rely on polluting fossil-fuel plants.

Construction has already started on the New York Power Authority's (NYPA) 86-mile Smart Path project from Massena to Croghan, and construction will soon start on several key projects in Western New York, Mid-Hudson, and the Capital Region.

In related news, the New York State Public Service Commission recently approved a 93-mile, 345-kilovolt transmission line that is being developed jointly by LS Power Grid New York Corporation and NYPA.

The nearly $854 million project, named the Marcy to New Scotland Upgrade Project, is designed to speed the flow of clean, reliable electricity to high-demand markets downstate.