The New York State Energy Research and Development Authority (NYSERDA) has announced that it has executed memorandums of understanding (MOUs) with Tompkins County in the Southern Tier and Orange County in the Hudson Valley for potential renewable energy development. The agreements were made possible through the Build-Ready Program, which aims to explore the feasibility of developing renewable energy projects on otherwise underutilized lands.
The MOUs represent progress under the State’s Accelerated Renewable Energy Growth and Community Benefit Act and advances New York’s goal for 70 percent of the state’s electricity to come from renewable sources by 2030 under the Climate Leadership and Community Protection Act.
Under the MOUs, NYSERDA will work closely with the two counties to evaluate the prospects of two large-scale renewable energy projects. Barring any unforeseen obstacles, if there is local acceptance, strong project feasibility, and agreement to move forward between NYSERDA and the counties, NYSERDA will initiate development activities including detailed engineering, interconnection, and permitting.
Renewable Energy Development Sites
The Caswell Road Landfill, nominated by Tompkins County for participation is a 112-acre site that may host a large-scale renewable solar energy project on the capped landfill and adjacent area, creating new economic opportunities for the local community. This project aligns with Tompkins County’s goal of achieving net-zero emissions and transitioning from grid-supplied electricity generated outside the county to local renewable generation.
Additionally, NYSERDA’s second MOU with Orange County is the first step towards investigating and completing due diligence and community engagement. The 420-acre site, located on the County’s former landfill, is under consideration for hosting a large-scale solar project, which complements the County’s other clean energy initiatives.
Above all, the execution of these MOUs underscores NYSERDA’s dedication to renewable energy development in New York State. The Build-Ready Program is actively advancing a pipeline of sites throughout the state, having screened over 14,000 locations and moving forward with dozens of sites through advanced assessment and development stages. Interested parties, such as local community members, elected officials, private companies, and environmental justice communities, are encouraged to nominate potential Build-Ready sites through the program’s website, which will be evaluated on an ongoing basis.