The New York State Public Service Commission recently authorized major upstate electric utilities to develop 62 local transmission upgrades to help integrate large scale renewable energy projects into the state’s electric grid. These changes are expected to speed the process toward the state’s 70% goal of renewable energy generation by 2030 outlined in the Climate Leadership and Community Protection Act.

The move is a recognition that renewable generation output in the three upstate regions has been bottlenecked due to lack of adequate transmission capacity. To meet its aggressive energy goals, New York is investing more than $35 billion in 120 large-scale renewable and transmission projects across the state, $6.8 billion to reduce building emissions, $1.8 billion to scale up solar, more than $1 billion for clean transportation initiatives, and over $1.8 billion in NY Green Bank commitments.

“The Commission recognizes the need to address congestion in certain parts of the State where renewable energy is already bottled and where additional generation projects are in development or likely to be developed in the future,” Commission Chair Rory M. Christian said.

The Commission approved requests from Central Hudson Gas & Electric Corporation, New York State Electric & Gas Corporation, National Grid (upstate), and Rochester Gas and Electric Corporation to develop 62 local transmission upgrades in three existing generation pockets in the Capital Region, the southwest, and northern regions of New York. In total, the 62 projects will create 3,500 megawatts of capacity for clean energy — enough electricity for more than 2.8 million average-sized homes.

Energy Projects are Complex; Harris Beach has Deep Experience

Generating new energy from renewable resources is a complex proposition involving much more than deployment of distributed solar panels and offshore wind turbines. The energy from that infrastructure must also get transported into the New York electric grid so it can power homes and businesses. That requires substantial additional investments in energy storage, as well as transmission.

Complex projects need experienced operation and legal guidance. The Harris Beach Energy Industry Team has experience in renewable energy technologies, including solar, wind, hydroelectric, battery storage, fuel cells and bio-mass resources, and has participated in nearly a dozen large-scale projects and more than 30 other renewable energy projects throughout New York. Among those are several awarded through the state’s solicitation process, including Excelsior Energy Center in Genesee County and Trelina Solar Energy Center in Seneca County.

Harris Beach’s energy attorneys’ work with developers includes assistance with real estate acquisition/rights, commercial contract negotiations (e.g., Engineering Procurement and Construction agreements), interconnection, PILOT and host community agreements, negotiation of Renewable Energy Credit agreements, project financing, project labor agreements, etc.

The Harris Beach Energy Industry Team stands ready to help with your renewable energy project. For more information about how Harris Beach can help your renewable energy project, please contact attorney Michelle K. Piasecki at (518) 701-2741 and, attorney William M. Flynn at (518) 701-2711 and, or the Harris Beach attorney with whom you most frequently work.

This alert is not a substitute for advice of counsel on specific legal issues.

Harris Beach has offices throughout New York state, including Albany, Buffalo, Ithaca, Long Island, New York City, Rochester, Saratoga Springs, Syracuse and White Plains, as well as Washington D.C., New Haven, Connecticut and Newark, New Jersey.