New York proposes legislation to speed up clean energy project approval


New York governor Andrew Cuomo is proposing a 30-day budget amendment that he says will “dramatically” speed up the issuing of permits for and construction of large-scale renewable energy projects in the state.

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According to Cuomo, the plan, if approved, will create an Office of Renewable Energy Permitting, which will overcome challenges posed by the state’s existing energy generation siting process, initially designed for permitting fossil-fuel electric generating plants, prior to the setting of the state’s current clean energy and environmental goals. 

As per the governor, the new robust siting process will create modernised standards for expedited renewable energy project development approvals, that both reflect the environmental challenges common to large-scale renewable projects, and meet the urgency of the climate crisis.

It will also develop draft permits, open for public comment, and ensure that completed applications are acted on within a one-year period, with the only exception being certain former commercial and industrial sites, which will be reviewed within a shorter period of six months.

Under the Act, New York will also accelerate renewable energy transmission, to ensure clean energy can be used to meet the state’s ambitious renewable development and emissions reduction goals.

The Act establishes an “aggressive and comprehensive approach to accelerate the investment in and development of a reliable, state-of-the-art grid”.

“Climate change is the existential challenge of our time, and New York State has risen to the occasion by enacting the strongest laws in the nation to protect and preserve our environment,” Cuomo said. 

“This legislation will help achieve a more sustainable future, invigorating the green economy and reaffirming New York’s position as a market leader with a revamped process for building and delivering renewable energy projects faster.”

The award, which is the highest national honor conferred on the sector, was presented to Strathclyde’s Principal & Vice-Chancellor Professor Sir Jim McDonald by His Royal Highness the Prince of Wales.

Strathclyde is a long-standing leader in energy research, with more than 250 researchers working at any given time on energy systems innovations and more than 300 PhD graduates over the past decade with expertise in the field. The University also has a roster of spinout companies making valuable contributions to the enhancement of energy provision and it plays a prominent role in informing energy policy. 

Assessment of entries was made through a rigorous independent process lasting around six months, after which a shortlist was created and recommendations were made by the Awards Council of the Royal Anniversary Trust for the approval of HM The Queen.

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