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NYSERDA announces agreements on underutilized sites for renewable energy development

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Fri, Jun 14th 2024 12:30 pm

Memorandums of understanding will allow state to explore feasibility of hosting build-ready renewable energy projects on underutilized sites in Southern Tier & Western New York

The New York State Energy Research and Development Authority (NYSERDA) announced two agreements on underutilized sites for potential renewable energy development. Under these memorandums of understanding (MOU), NYSERDA, through its build-ready program, will work closely with Tompkins County in the Southern Tier and Niagara County in Western New York to explore the feasibility of developing renewable energy projects on otherwise underutilized sites, including a landfill and unused land surrounding an active airport.

NYSERDA said this announcement “represents progress under the state’s Accelerated Renewable Energy Growth and Community Benefit Act and advances New York’s goal for 70% of the state’s electricity to come from renewable sources by 2030 under the Climate Leadership and Community Protection Act.”

President and CEO Doreen M. Harris said, “Our build-ready program is part of New York’s comprehensive approach to accelerating the development of large-scale renewable energy projects and will help bring forward unique projects that stimulate local and regional economic growth. (These) agreements are an important step in understanding the practicality of transitioning these sites into revenue-generating renewable energy facilities, and we look forward to working with these local partners to help them capitalize on the significant economic and environmental benefits these projects will bring to their communities.”

Locally, Witmer Road Landfill is included. NYSERDA said, “The second MOU was executed by NYSERDA with Niagara County, the County of Niagara Refuse Trust, and the Town of Wheatfield in relation to the Witmer Road Landfill located in Wheatfield, New York. The 60-acre landfill, which was operational from 1969 to 1976, is now capped and closed and is being considered for hosting a solar project. The potential project will support Niagara County and the Niagara County Refuse Disposal District with its goal of developing solar on landfills and brownfields.”

The agency added, “Entering into these MOUs will allow NYSERDA’s build-ready program to conduct further due diligence and community engagement to evaluate the prospects of multiple large-scale renewable energy projects. If there is local acceptance, strong project feasibility, and agreement to move forward between NYSERDA and the municipalities, NYSERDA will initiate development activities including detailed engineering, interconnection, and permitting.”

Alliance for Clean Energy New York Executive Director Marguerite Wells said, "Private renewable energy developers are ready and willing to invest in New York, and NYSERDA's build-ready program removes some of the toughest barriers projects can face. By identifying these sites as candidates for development, NYSERDA has made it possible for crucially needed projects to be planned, built, and on the grid in less time."

Citizens Campaign for the Environment Executive Director Adrienne Esposito said, “To meet New York’s ambitious Climate Act goal of 70% of the state’s energy coming from renewable energy sources by 2030, we need to look and build outside of the box. Utilizing existing under-utilized sites for renewable energy is tapping into a plentiful resource that has been otherwise overlooked. Exploring the feasibility of these projects at the Ithaca Tompkins International Airport and at the Witmer Road Landfill benefits those communities and sets a blueprint for a path forward for the entire state to reap the benefits of solar energy production, battery storage and more renewable energy infrastructure projects. The build-ready program is an exciting and innovative way to bolster renewable energy production while helping meet the state’s Climate Act goals.”

NYSERDA stated, “The build-ready program is currently advancing a pipeline of sites across New York state, having screened over 17,000 locations and progressing dozens of sites through further assessment and development. Local community members, elected officials, private companies, environmental justice communities, or other interested parties are encouraged to nominate potential build-ready sites, which will be considered on a rolling basis through the program’s site nomination portal. More information about the program’s progress and NYSERDA’s plans for actively developing an expanded pipeline of potential sites on both public and private lands across New York state can be found on NYSERDA’s website.”

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