Cohocton Wind Watch: State Public Service Commission approves $95 million for renewable energy projects
Cohocton Wind Watch is a community citizen organization dedicated to preserve the public safety, property values, economic viability, environmental integrity and quality of life in Cohocton, NY and in surrounding townships. Neighbors committed to public service in order to achieve a reasonable vision for a Finger Lakes region worthy of future generations.


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Tuesday, September 08, 2009

State Public Service Commission approves $95 million for renewable energy projects

Syracuse, NY -- State utility regulators today authorized an auction to distribute $95 million to new power plants fueled by the wind, the sun, biomass or other renewable sources.

The auction will be the fourth conducted under a standing state mandate to derive 25 percent of New York's electricity from renewable energy sources by 2013.

Members of the state Public Service Commission, who voted Thursday to approve the latest auction, noted that the time is right for new renewable energy projects. Developers can take advantage of federal stimulus grants worth up to 30 percent of a project's cost, as long as they begin construction by next year.

The state Public Service Commission Thursday approved an auction of $95 million for renewable energy projects, such as windmills, solar energy and biomass. Pictured are windmills in Fenner, Madison County.
The auction will be conducted by the New York State Energy Research and Development Authority. Here's how it works:

Power plant developers whose projects qualify as renewable energy submit sealed bids stating a price they would accept for their "renewable energy credits," which are calculated based on how many kilowatt-hours a facility produces. Renewable energy credits supplement a power plant's income from actual energy sales, which depend on market prices.

Bids are evaluated primarily on price, with some consideration for each project's potential to spur economic development. Ten-year contracts go to the winners.

In three previous auctions, NYSERDA awarded 30 contracts worth more than $500 million, resulting in the construction of about 1,200 megawatts of new capacity, most of it wind power.

Money for the program is collected from utility customers, which is why the PSC must approve the auctions.

A date for the next auction has not yet be set.

Also today, the PSC approved $24.4 million in programs to augment energy efficiency at large industrial plants.

National Grid will administer a two-year, $13.2 million program to provide large industrial customers with financial and technical assistance to replace inefficient electrical equipment. The program is for customers with electric loads of 2 megawatts or more.

NYSERDA will administer a two-year, $11.2 million program to promote efficiency in industrial processes that use natural gas.

Tim Knauss can be reached at tknauss@syracuse.com or 470-3023.

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