Hello everyone. We wanted to give you an update on the hearings held by the Office of Renewable Energy Siting (ORES) and on the comments we submitted in response to the draft regulations and uniform standard and conditions.
The last public statement hearing was held virtually on November 30. On December 4, SOS sent a news release to the media entitled “Save Ontario Shores calls on state to extend deadline for implementation of draft regulations”. SOS Vice President Kate Kremer states that “these hearings are part of a fundamentally flawed process.” To read the press release in its entirety, click here.
Also on December 4, SOS submitted several documents to the Office of Renewable Energy Siting to address the Draft Regulations and Uniform Standards and Conditions being proposed by the Office. Included was a cover letter signed by several additional stakeholders across upstate and western New York, expressing their support for these comments. Additionally, 8 appendices were included addressing various topics of concern. We have added all this information to our webpage here and are including it in this newsletter for your convenience.
Thank you to all of you who have donated to support this effort. It should be very evident that we put your generous contributions to work!
SOS Has Much to Say About New “94-c” Renewable Siting Regulations
SOS submitted a series of substantial comments to the Office of Renewable Energy Siting to address the Draft Regulations and Uniform Standards and Conditions being proposed by the Office. Included was a cover letter signed by several additional stakeholders across upstate and western New York, expressing their support for these comments. Additionally, 8 appendices were included on various topics.
(For background on 94-c: see below, after description of appendices.)
Click here to read the cover letter.
Appendix A comments on the ORES proposal’s potential to result in adverse noise impacts on those who would be living near large-scale renewable energy projects. Two documents comprise Appendix A, one by our legal counsel Gary Abraham, based on his experience in renewable energy project siting proceedings in New York, and the other by Robert Rand, the principal of Rand Acoustics LLC, in Brunswick, Maine. Mr. Rand has extensive experience in renewable energy project siting proceedings throughout the U.S.
Click here to read Appendix A.
Appendix B comments on the potential impacts of the Draft Regulations and Uniform Standards (the “ORES proposal”) on natural resources. Appendix B was prepared by our consultant Karen Schneller-McDonald, the principal of Hickory Creek Consulting LLC, in Red Hook, New York.
Click here to read Appendix B.
Appendix C, prepared by Gary Abraham, comments on the legally questionable use of different health and safety standards for project “participants”, compared to everyone else.
Click here to read Appendix C.
Appendix D includes comments by Gary Abraham on the need for additional protections from shadow flicker, the highly annoying strobing of sunlight through moving wind turbines. Appendix D also included comments on the visual impacts and design drawings (including setbacks) prepared by Kate Kremer, SOS Vice-President.
Click here to read Appendix D.
Appendix E offers a brief comment prepared by Gary Abraham on ORES’s obligations under New York’s State Environmental Quality Review Act (“SEQRA”) when proposing new regulations, and on how the draft regulations conflict with the State’s policies for the preservation of agricultural and natural resources, set forth in the State Constitution.
Click here to read Appendix E.
Appendix F comments on the need to align the siting of large-scale renewable energy projects with the siting of transmission improvements, in order to improve the ability of generation projects to make a meaningful contribution to the State’s policy of reducing greenhouse gas emissions. These comments were prepared by Gary Abraham.
Click here to read Appendix F.
Appendix G, prepared by Kate Kremer, comments on draft regulation procedures and on several application exhibits as proposed in the draft regulations. She enumerates revisions needed to ensure stakeholders who would be asked to host large-scale renewable energy projects can participate in the review of siting proposals.
Click here to read Appendix G.
Appendix H comments on the proposed Uniform Standards, and argues that the need to expedite siting does not require weakening substantive protections for the environment and rural communities developed under Public Service Law, Article 10. These comments address subjects not covered in other appendices and were prepared by Kate Kremer.
Click here to read Appendix H.
In February 2020, after all debate on the New York State budget had ended, Governor Cuomo added an amendment to the budget titled the Accelerated Renewable Energy Act or “94-c”. It proposed replacing the existing large scale renewables siting process (Article 10 under the Department of Public Service) with a new Office of Renewable Energy Siting (ORES) to speed up the approval of these projects, even if it means that local laws are waived and environmental studies are limited.
This Act, along with everything else attached to the budget, was passed in April 2020.
Under the 94-c Act, the newly formed ORES quickly drafted regulations and uniform standards so they can begin to approve large scale renewable projects. These regulations were drafted with such haste and are so heavily tilted in favor of the developers that it was hard to know where to start.
SOS, with six years of participation in the existing siting process and a supportive community, was positioned to respond with substantial comments regarding how the new regulations need to be revised.
More background on the history of Article 10 and the new siting process is contained in our November 7, 2020, newsletter: https://us9.campaign-archive.com/?u=eb5a350ca552b55cc84a08f98&id=38cc7585a6