Over the last two decades, New York state has repeatedly set some of the country’s most ambitious green energy benchmarks. But while the Empire State hopes to achieve net-zero carbon emissions by 2050, its most promising green energy source — wind — has remained stagnant for years, accounting for just 3 percent of the state’s power supply.
A complex regulatory process has frequently denied applications from renewable energy developers or driven them to such frustration that they’ve withdrawn their plans altogether. In one case, a proposed solar development in the Buffalo-area town of Cambria was rejected after violating local zoning laws. A wind farm slated for a small island on Lake Ontario was also scrapped after a hunter spotted a pair of eagles, which spurred a contentious environmental assessment.
In response to these failures, last year the state legislature established a new Office of Renewable Energy Siting. The office aims to streamline wind and solar development while retaining important safeguards like environmental assessments and community feedback. As this new office takes shape, state officials have sought input from ... Read more