New York state government has approved permits and allocated substantial funds for an impressive 6.4 gigawatts (GW) of clean energy projects, with 1.5GW dedicated to new solar capacity. This historic investment, labeled as the “nation's largest-ever,” is a crucial step in New York's plan to satisfy 70% of its energy needs with renewables by 2030, with even more ambitious targets on the horizon. Governor Kathy Hochul anticipates that this surge in clean energy capacity will drive a renewables sector capable of meeting 79% of the state's energy requirements by the end of the decade, ultimately leading to a zero-emissions power sector by 2040.
Governor Hochul emphasized the multifaceted benefits of this monumental investment, stating, “An investment of this magnitude is about more than just fighting climate change – we're creating good-paying union jobs, improving the reliability of our electric grid and generating significant benefits in disadvantaged communities.”
She went on to say, “Today, we are taking action to keep New York's climate goals within reach, demonstrating to the nation how to recalibrate in the wake of global economic challenges while driving us toward a greener and more prosperous future for generations to come.”
This transformative initiative will usher in 14 new solar projects, with the highlight being the 402MW Mineral Basin Solar project, developed by Swift Current Energy in neighboring Pennsylvania, set to supply energy to the New York electric grid. US energy company AES is poised to benefit significantly from this announcement, boasting a pipeline of four solar projects with a combined capacity of 560MW in the state, in addition to five wind projects.
Furthermore, the state has greenlit the development of Nexamp's 145MW Stonewall solar-plus-storage project, which includes 20MW of storage capacity, situated in the town of Meredith, Delaware County.
The Solar Energy Industries Association (SEIA) underscores New York's substantial solar potential, as it held the eighth-highest installed solar capacity among all 50 US states in the second quarter of this year. The SEIA anticipates that the state will add 8.8GW of new capacity over the next five years, ranking as the sixth-highest among the states. Initiatives of this scale and ambition are expected to be instrumental in realizing New York's renewable energy potential.
New York has also witnessed a surge of interest in small-scale and community solar projects, particularly due to the passage of the Inflation Reduction Act. The SEIA reports that between 2019 and 2022, community solar projects accounted for the most newly installed capacity of any type, significantly shaping the New York renewable sector.
One of the offshore wind projects approved by the state government includes a 1.3GW community project, developed by RWE and National Grid Ventures. The state's energy mix as a whole is poised for substantial transformation as a result of this renewed emphasis on renewable power.
This development follows Lightstar Renewables' recent launch of the first agrivoltaics project in the state, a 2MW endeavor set to further expand New York's small-scale solar sector.