NY to award 20-year RE contracts

New York State regulators have given the New York State Energy Research and Development Authority (NYSERDA) authority to begin awarding up to 20-year contracts for large-scale renewable energy projects, twice the existing timeframe.

The move will likely most benefit wind developers in the short-term and potentially encourage larger-scale solar projects.

The Public Service Commission (PSC) notes that the measure will assist the state to attain a 30% renewable portfolio standard by 2015, attract greater private sector investment, and create new economic opportunities, a more diverse energy supply and a healthier environment.

PSC directed NYSERDA, whose headquarters is in the state capital Albany, to issue a competitive solicitation for large-scale renewable energy supply later this year and at least one other in 2015.

The state needs an additional 10 million MWh of renewable energy to meet the RPS mandate. Eight earlier “main tier” solicitations resulted in contracts for annual production of 4.6 million MWh of renewable energy that is sold into New York’s deregulated power market.

NYSERDA administers the RPS solicitation process.

“Providing developers of large renewable energy projects with long-term contracts provides greater certainty of future revenues and reduced the risks related to financing the project,” the New York Public Service Commission says in a statement.

“Lowering risk is attractive to the financial community and makes financing the renewable project easier and less expensive,” it adds.

New York has become a leader in clean energy development under Governor Andrew Cuomo, a Democrat with presidential ambitions in 2016.

The state had 1.73GW of wind generation capacity on 1 January, 11th among states,