Section 94-c Process for Renewable Energy Projects
The Accelerated Renewable Energy Growth and Community Benefit Act (the “Act”) was passed in April 2020 as Part JJJ of Governor Cuomo’s 2020-21 enacted state budget. The Act adds a new section 94-c to the Executive Law, titled Major Renewable Energy Development (the “94-c Process”), which is intended to establish an expedited review process with uniform permit standards for New York State renewable energy projects in place of the procedures set forth in Article 10 of the Public Service Law (“Article 10”).
New York State is working to achieve the most ambitious renewable energy and GHG targets in the nation
The Climate Leadership and Community Protection Act (CLCPA), established the following targets:
- GHG reduction from 1990 emissions of 40% by 2030 and 85% by 2050
- Renewable energy generation target of 70% by 2030 and 100% emissions free by 2040
- 9 GW Offshore wind by 2035, 6 GW PV by 2025, 3 GW storage by 2030
- To achieve success, renewable energy needs to be sited in a timely, balanced and cost-effective manner
The Act creates a newly-established Office of Renewable Energy Siting (“ORES”), within the New York State Department of State, as part of the 94-c Process to provide a single forum for the environmental review and permitting of proposed major renewable energy facilitates, which includes renewable energy systems with a nameplate generating capacity of 25 megawatts (MW) or more, co-located energy storage systems, and electric transmission facilities less than 10 miles in length. Additionally, while Article 10 applications that have received a completeness determination will be deemed complete under the new 94-c Process, the Act allows projects currently undergoing the Article 10 siting process to either remain in Article 10 or opt-in to the new expedited process established under Executive Law Section 94-c. The rules and regulations adopted by the ORES will include an expedited permitting process to account for matters and issues already presented and resolved in the alternate Article 10 proceedings.
Within one year of the Act’s passage, the Office of Renewable Energy Siting is required to promulgate regulations to implement the Accelerated Renewable Energy Growth and Community Benefit Act.
On September 16, 2020, the Office of Renewable Energy Siting issued draft regulations and uniform standards and conditions for public comment pursuant to the State Administrative Procedure Act (SAPA). Several public hearings were held and public comments were accepted on the draft regulations through December 7, 2020.
The draft regulations, and draft uniform standards and conditions are available here:
- Draft Regulations Chapter XVIII Title 19 (Subparts 900-1 – 900-5; 900-7 – 900-15)
- Draft Regulations Chapter XVIII Title 19 (Subpart 900-6)
For more information on Executive Law Section 94-c, please visit the Office of Renewable Energy Siting website at www.ores.org.