Through the enactment of the Climate Leadership and Community Protection Act (CLCPA), New York State (NYS) has adopted highly ambitious targets to address climate change. Achieving these targets will require a transformation of NYS’s electricity generation system, including a massive buildout of new large-scale wind and solar power projects. The success of this endeavor will depend on the ability of new projects to be efficiently sited through a streamlined process. This Note argues that the new framework adopted under Section 94-C of Article 6 of the New York Executive Law (Section 94-C) should enable this transformation. However, this is highly contingent upon whether the newly-created Office of Renewable Energy Siting (ORES) promulgates and enforces regulations and standards with the explicit intent of meeting the CLCPA targets.
This Note examines how Section 94-C is an improvement from earlier siting regimes in NYS, which emphasized a time-intensive and comprehensive approval process primarily tailored to the environmental and socioeconomic impacts of fossil-fuel power projects. This Note explains how Section 94-C sought to bridge the historical disconnect between old siting statutes with NYS’s more recent priorities for renewable energy adoption and addressing climate change. This Note demonstrates how Section 94-C can bypass massive delays, provided that ORES establishes more reasonable and predictable substantive standards, as well as reduces the complexity and extent of procedural requirements for developers.