NYS Renewable Energy Portfolio

Great changes are happening in the energy world.  Not enough is being understood.  Locally there are many solar farms being built which when added to our already existing wind farms will be providing the majority of our electrical power in the lifetime of most of us.   Yet there are many editorials suggesting that solar panels are toys and that they are going to ruin the soil and be junky eye soars within a decade.  I hope my publishing this energy standard I can educate some of these nay sayers.

Renewable Portfolio Standard

I am sure that most states have an energy plan to guide the continuing production of electrical energy I their respective state. Having worked the majority of my career in the energy construction business I am fascinated how well the private sector has been able to meet and often exceeded the expectations of this plan.

Before the Clean Energy Standard, New York State operated under the Renewable Portfolio Standard (RPS).

On September 24, 2004, following extensive stakeholder engagement, New York State’s Public Service Commission (the PSC) issued the Order Approving Renewable Portfolio StandardpastedGraphic.png adopting the RPS. The goal of the RPS was to increase the proportion of renewable energy New Yorkers used from 19.3 percent (using 2004 as the baseline year) to at least 25 percent by the end of 2013.

On January 1, 2010, after a review of the RPS, the PSC issued another orderpastedGraphic.png increasing the RPS goal from 25 percent by 2013 to 30 percent by 2015, using the same 2004 baseline. Later, after the launch of Governor Andrew M. Cuomo’s Reforming the Energy Vision, and to fulfill the 2015 New York State Energy Plan, the State set its sights on 70 percent of New York’s electricity coming from renewable energy by 2030, established officially by the Clean Energy Standard.

Renewable Portfolio Standard Main Tier Program

Through eleven solicitations, the Main Tier has 81 active projects under contract totaling 2,421 MW of new renewable capacity. Active Main Tier projects by resource include:

  • 10 Landfill Gas projects totaling 60.1 MW
  • 2 Biomass projects totaling 69.3 MW
  • 34 Hydroelectric projects totaling 68.4 MW
  • 26 Wind projects totaling 2,148 MW
  • 5 Fuel Cells totaling 3.0 MW
  • 3 Anaerobic Digesters totaling 11.8 MW
  • 1 Solar Project totaling 49.9 MW

The power generated from these 81 projects is expected to provide enough clean power to supply over 825,000 average-sized homes per year.

For a generating facility to be eligible for Main Tier program procurements, it must have met the generation type and fuel source eligibility requirements as defined and clarified by the PSC in its various orders. The PSC orders issued for Case 03-E-0188pastedGraphic.png are the controlling authority for all determinations of eligibility of projects in the New York State RPS.

Efforts over the past decade to reduce emissions from the power sector have made New York’s electricity some of the cleanest in the nation, and now transportation is the largest source of greenhouse gas emissions in New York.

The State is also working to reduce GHG emissions (including methane and hydrofluorocarbons) from buildings, food waste, and other sources outside the power and transportation sectors.  Currently the standard is supporting many solar farms in western New York State.

In sharing this information, I hope more people will be more aware and supportive of the energy programs that are making significant changes to our rural landscape.

Most of this information is from the New York State Portfolio Standard.

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