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For the second year in a row, the New York State Energy Research and Development Authority is soliciting bids from wind and solar producers for renewable energy certificates, which prove that certain amounts of renewable energy have been generated.
The map showing all the energy generating facilities just went live within the past few days, according to Sean Connin, associate director of clean energy program of the Adirondack North Country Association.
It includes a number of facilities still going through the Article 10 renewable-energy siting process including Galloo Island and Deer River. Roaring Brook, which was begun before the Article 10 process was implemented but is being reviewed by the Town of Martinsburg Planning Board in Lewis County, also submitted a bid.
“In a lot of ways, it might sound counterintuitive” to submit a bid before the project is completed, Mr. Connin said.
By winning deals to sell the certificates to NYSERDA, however, companies establishing these major solar or wind arrays can get some certainity in an uncertain industry.
“I would think of these larger projects as a complex set of variables,” Mr. Connin said, including the multi-step Article 10 process. “The bid process … enables the developer some security.”
The bid solicitation is part of the state’s plan to generate 50 percent of electricity from renewable energy sources by 2030.
“Through competitive solicitations for large-scale renewable energy projects, the (Clean Energy Standard) will drive unprecedented private investment in renewable energy and will support the state’s aggressive fight against climate change,” a NYSERDA spokesperson said in a statement emailed to the Times.
Because the bid process and the Article 10 process are separate, a project could theoretically win an OK to sell renewable energy credits but not win approval. In that case, a developer could consider resubmitting to the Article 10 process, according to NYSERDA. The bids are only for projects with starting dates between 2015 and 2020, although the criterion may be extended to projects beginning in 2022.
By submitting a bid, however, developers know that their projects will have a source of income.
“If they are able to bring the project forward, they have a customer,” Mr. Connin said.
NYSERDA also participates in the Article 10 process, as the NYSERDA chairman, Richard Kauffman, or his designee, sits on the Article 10 board. According to a NYSERDA spokesperson, the designee for the Article 10 board is John Williams, director of policy and regulatory affairs, and duties are divided and “conflict walls” in place to prevent a conflict of interest between Mr. Williams’s role on the siting board and the work of NYSERDA in supporting renewable projects.
The bid process started in May, bids were due in August and the winners are due to be announced in October, according to NYSERDA. Mr. Connin said that while this will be before the November election, he does not think the timing is political.
The renewable-energy credits are required for utilities and other distributors of electricity, and it is these credits that NYSERDA is purchasing, not the energy itself. Mr. Connin was unsure what NYSERDA would use the credits for, and NYSERDA could not be reached for follow-up questions on Friday afternoon. The energy generated would be sold separately from the credits.