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Our attorneys stay on top of changes in legislation, agency regulations, case law, and industry trends—then craft timely legal alerts to keep clients up to date on legal developments important to their business.

July 28, 2020

NYSERDA Announces Procurement for Land-Based Renewable Projects and RECs

As part of a larger announcement regarding the development of renewables in New York State, on July 21, Governor Cuomo announced that the NYS Energy Research and Development Authority (NYSERDA) and NY Power Authority (NYPA) will coordinate solicitations for a total amount of land-based renewable energy projects equaling 1,500 megawatts (MW) of clean energy.

As part of this combined solicitation, NYSERDA has now begun solicitations for Tier 1 renewable energy certificates (RECs) for approximately 1.6 million MW-hours of renewable electricity per year under its Clean Energy Standard, which, once procured, will help the state achieve the Climate Leadership and Community Protection Act goal of generating 70 percent of its electricity from renewable sources by 2030. Qualifying facilities that enter commercial operation after January 1, 2015 but before November 30, 2022 (unless extended – up to November 30, 2025) are eligible for these Tier 1 RECs.

NYSERDA will oversee the REC solicitation process via RESRFP20-1, which will be implemented in a two-step process:

Step 1: Eligibility Application: Developers must provide evidence that the bid facility is Tier 1 eligible. The Step 1 eligibility application form opens on August 5and is due on August 27 by 3:00 p.m. Eastern Time (ET).

Step 2: Bid Proposal: NYSERDA will examine submissions to determine whether the proposal demonstrates that the bid facility and developer meet the minimum project viability threshold requirements and, for proposals that meet those minimum requirements, will conduct a full competitive evaluation based on price and non-price factors. Step Two bid proposals are due on October 21 by 3:00 p.m. ET.

Regarding the threshold requirements, the state has already notified developers that the focus continues to be on prevailing wage, prioritizing low-income and environmental justice issues, and pairing renewable energy with advanced energy storage technologies.

In their proposals, developers must identify, for the first time, whether the project involves an index REC or fixed price REC bid. Each proposal must utilize only one price structure; however, separate proposals for the same facility may use different price structures if the bid has material differences, such as proposals with and without energy storage or a bid with two different capacities. Developers must include a robust permitting plan, including an analysis of the potential environmental and agricultural impacts of the proposed facility, along with feasible plans to mitigate those impacts.

The proposals should also include robust public involvement plans for localities and host communities as well as a commitment to partnering with the elected officials in proposed host communities and eliciting input from the public and affected agencies. Also different from earlier REC solicitations, for projects over 20 MW, permitting plans could include plans for seeking a siting permit from the new Office of Renewable Energy Siting (ORES) created under the Accelerated Renewable Energy Growth and Community Benefit Act, which was passed as part of the 2020-21 state budget.

On Tuesday, August 4 from 1:00 to 2:00 p.m. ET, NYSERDA will host a webinar on the two-step process. Click here for additional information on RESRFP20-1.

Similarly, NYPA’s solicitation seeks utility-scale renewable projects (solar and wind) with an annual output of up to 2 million MW or more to serve New York State’s electricity demand. Eligible projects are expected to have a commercial operation date on or after January 1, 2021, but prior to December 31, 2024. The proposals are due by August 17 by 4:00 p.m. ET, and the NYPA is expected to announce the awardees before the end of 2020.

The proposed projects may include an option to pair with energy storage, and the option with energy storage can be included in the proposal with a separate pricing sheet. Projects must be physically interconnected to the NYISO Zones A through K and can fall within the category of 20-25 MW or 100 MW or greater. Similar to NYSERDA’s proposal, depending on the size of the project, developers will seek permits through the new ORES.

Our Barclay Damon team will continue to monitor these and other legal updates affecting the renewable energy industry.

If you have any questions regarding the content of this alert, please contact Brenda Colella, Regulatory Practice Group leader, Regulatory Practice Area co-chair, and co-leader of the Renewable Energy and Energy Market Teams, at bcolella@barclaydamon.com; Ekin Senlet, Regulatory Practice Area co-chair, at esenlet@barclaydamon.com; Angela Sicker, associate, at asicker@barclaydamon.com; or Dan Krzykowski, summer associate, at dkrzykowski@barclaydamon.com.

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