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August 2011 Archives

August 22, 2011

New York Enacts The Power NY Act of 2011

On August 4, 2011, New York State Governor Andrew Cuomo signed The Power NY Act of 2011 (A. 8510/S. 5844). The law does three things: (1) establish an on-bill recovery mechanism for the Green Jobs/Green New York program that uses Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative (RGGI) proceeds for energy efficiency projects; (2) reauthorize and modernize Article X of the Public Service Law regarding the siting of major electric generating facilities; and (3) require a study with respect to increasing solar photovoltaic generation in the state.

"On-bill" financing is a mechanism that allows utility customers to pay back loans for energy efficiency upgrades through a charge on their monthly utility bill. The law provides a mechanism that allows customers who take out loans pursuant to the Green Jobs Green New York Act to repay these loans through a charge on their monthly utility bill.

The new law also revives Article X of the Public Service Law, which creates an expedited, state-led program for permitting electric generating facilities while preempting local requirements. The revived Article X procedure covers facilities as small as 25 megawatts (down from the prior 80 megawatts threshold), and thus will cover most commercial wind facilities. Like the expired Article X, the new version centralizes and streamlines control over the siting of electric generating facilities. Once the Act has been triggered, projects are subject to the entire process of New York State Board on Electric Generation Siting and the Environment and environmental justice review. Excluded from the Article's coverage are major electric generating facilities over which the federal government has siting jurisdiction (such as hydroelectric facilities, which are covered by the Federal Power Act, and nuclear facilities, which are under the purview of the Nuclear Regulatory Commission), nominal repairs to an electric generating facility that do not result in an increase in capacity of more than 25 megawatts, major electric generating facilities used solely for industrial purposes and constructed on lands dedicated to industrial uses (but not to exceed 200 megawatts in capacity), and facilities that had already applied for a license prior to the effective date of the Article. The revised version of Article X also makes important changes to the earlier version by seeking to address environmental justice issues in a systematic way.

The law also requires that a study be conducted with respect to increasing photovoltaic generation in the state. The law states that increasing solar energy generation "represents a significant opportunity for the development of the State's clean energy economic sector and the creation of new high technology jobs in New York" and authorizes NYSERDA, in consultation with the Department of Public Service, to conduct a study to increase generation from photovoltaic devices in New York.

August 24, 2011

NYSERDA Relaunches Energy Star Homes Program With $14.5 Million in Incentives

On August 23, 2011, NYSERDA announced that it was relaunching the New York ENERGY STAR(r) Homes program, making available $14.5 million in incentives for building new homes that are significantly more energy efficient than required under the New York State Energy Conservation Construction Code. The incentives for home builders will be available through Dec. 31, 2011.

The program is for newly constructed homes, including single family houses, 2- to 4-unit residences, townhomes or patio homes, and low-rise, multi-unit residential buildings for uses such as senior or family housing, assisted living residences, apartment-style student housing and others. According to NYSERDA, a New York Energy Star home generally costs 1-3% more than a standard home, but is approximately 18% more energy efficient than an average home meeting state code standards. After each home is built, a Home Energy Rater verifies that the builder has met the New York Energy Star Homes program standards and energy efficiency requirements.

Incentives for builders are $1,250 for homes upstate and $1,500 for homes in the five counties of New York City, Westchester County and eligible territories of Long Island. Additional incentives are available for use of credentialed installers, or for model or display homes. A $500 affordable housing incentive is also available to homeowners whose household income is equal to or less than 80% of state or area median income, whichever is greater. 475 builders are currently NYSERDA partners in the program. To become a partner, a builder must first become a participant in the national Energy Star home program and sign a Partnership Agreement with NYSERDA.

The New York Energy Star Homes Program began in 2001, and participation has steadily increased. According to NYSERDA, there are currently 19,221 Energy Star Homes across the state, with 1,291 of these having been built in 2011. The program is funded by the Energy Efficiency Portfolio Standard (EEPS) charge paid by electric or gas distribution customers. Energy Star incentives for qualifying homes with oil or propane heat are funded by System Benefits Charges.

Additional information about the incentives is available at http://www.getenergysmart.org/SingleFamilyHomes/ExistingBuilding/HomeOwner.aspx.

About August 2011

This page contains all entries posted to Envirosphere in August 2011. They are listed from oldest to newest.

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