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Michael B. Gerrard and Edward McTiernan Michael B. Gerrard and Edward McTiernan

As part of a massive budget bill signed into law by Gov. Andrew Cuomo on April 3, New York has adopted the Accelerated Renewable Energy Growth and Community Benefit Act (AREGCBA). It completely revamps the process under which large-scale renewable energy facilities and associated transmission lines receive state and local approvals.

A new renewables siting process was essential to achieving the goals of New York’s landmark Climate Leadership and Community Protection Act, enacted in July. That law, discussed in this column on July 11, 2019, requires that by 2030, 70% of New York’s electric power demand be met by renewables, up from the current 29%. The climate law also mandates that by 2040, 100% of the power come from zero emissions sources—basically renewables and nuclear. Nuclear had supplied 32%, but that number is shrinking—one unit of the Indian Point plant in Westchester County shut down permanently on April 30, 2020; the other remaining unit is closing in 2021, and the four smaller nuclear plants near Lake Ontario are aging and (despite heavy subsidies) may not make it to 2040.

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