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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.

March 4, 2021

ORES Procedural Regulations Now Effective

Last year, the New York State Legislature passed the Accelerated Renewable Energy Growth and Community Benefit Act (the Act) as part of the NYS budget. Among the Act’s many components is the Major Renewable Energy Development program, which established the Office of Renewable Energy Siting (ORES), housed in the NYS Department of State. The Act mandated that within one year of its effective date, ORES establish draft regulations and a set of uniform standards and conditions for the siting, design, construction, and operation of each type of major renewable energy facility. ORES published its draft regulations on September 16, 2020. The following day, we issued an alert reporting on the draft regulations.

Yesterday, March 3, 2021, ORES’s long-awaited procedural regulations became final and effective.

By and large, the final rules maintain the same substantive components as the proposed regulations. The rules provide for pre-application requirements with numerous environmental studies, application processing guided by strict timelines, application fees, municipal and intervenor participation, and a final decision on the permit generally within 12 months of a completeness determination. ORES, however, did make a number of important changes and clarifications. Notably, with respect to community involvement in the application process, ORES changed the notice requirement for the meeting with community members. An applicant must provide notice of the meeting no sooner than 30 days (as opposed to 21 days) and no later than 14 days prior to the meeting. Decommissioning was also added as a topic for a new applicant’s initial summary of local requirements. Also, an applicant must now notify ORES 14 days in advance of a submission of a transfer application and ORES clarified that the applicant must pay the ORES fee for a transfer application to cover both the review and processing of an application. Previously, transfer fees were not as clear.

Our team at Barclay Damon is closely monitoring these recent developments with respect to the ORES siting process and is prepared to assist clients in assessing the impacts of these new regulations and uniform standards and conditions and ultimately navigating renewable energy projects through this new regulatory regime. For further information, the finalized regulations can be accessed here.

If you have any questions regarding the content of this alert, please contact Brenda Colella, Regulatory Practice Area co-chair and co-team leader of the Renewable Energy and Energy Markets Teams, at; Patricia Naughton, partner, at; Angela Sicker, associate, at; David Solimeno, associate, at; or another member of the firm's Regulatory Practice Area, Renewable Energy Team, or Energy Markets Team.

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