New York Passes Renewable Energy Standard

September 22, 2004 by Jeff Shepard

The New York State Public Service Commission has voted to enact an ambitious renewable portfolio standard (RPS) demanding that by 2013, a one-quarter of electricity sold to consumers in the state be derived from renewable energy technologies, which could amount to as much as 3,700 MW of new renewable energy capacity.

The latest RPS target is a boost up from the current 19.3%, which is primarily accomplished through older, large hydro facilities. The new goal of 25%, however, will be met mostly through non-hydro renewables like wind power, solar and fuel cells. In addition to establishing the 25% goal and a start date of January 1, 2006, the policy framework addresses determining what types of facilities should be eligible for participation in the RPS Program, choosing an appropriate procurement structure, and identifying issues that must be addressed during the RPS implementation phase.

The RPS Program will consist of two tiers of eligible resources: a "main tier" consisting of medium-to-large-scale electric generation facilities, and a "customer-sited tier" consisting of smaller on-site or "behind-the-meter" technologies. Renewable resources eligible to participate in the main tier will include wind, hydroelectric, biomass, biogas, liquid biofuel, and ocean or tidal power facilities. Eligible resources in the customer-sited tier include fuel cells, solar photovoltaic and wind technologies.