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On September 22, 2021, Justice Peter Lynch of the New York State Supreme Court, Albany County denied the petitioners’ application in Town of Copake v. New York State Office of Renewable Energy Siting, No. 905502-21 (Sup. Ct. Albany Cty. Sept. 24, 2021), rejecting a challenge to regulations promulgated by the New York State Office of Renewable Energy Siting (ORES). Justice Lynch’s decision comes following an earlier ruling that denied the petitioners’ application for a temporary restraining order. These rulings have now twice affirmed the validity of the ORES regulations, which will play an important role in helping New York State to achieve its aggressive renewable energy goals.

Continue Reading Judge Denies Preliminary Injunction Rejecting Challenge to Office of Renewable Energy Siting Regulations

On August 27, 2021, Justice Peter Lynch of the New York State Supreme Court, Albany County issued the first substantive ruling in Town of Copake v. New York State Office of Renewable Energy Siting, No. 905502-21 (Sup. Ct. Albany Cty. Aug. 27, 2021), a lawsuit challenging the validity of regulations promulgated by the New York State Office of Renewable Energy Siting (ORES). Specifically, in a brief order, the Court denied the petitioners’ request for a temporary restraining order and ordered argument on whether the petitioners are entitled to a preliminary injunction. Oral argument is scheduled for September 8, 2021.

Continue Reading Important Development in Lawsuit Challenging Office of Renewable Energy Siting Regulations

Earlier this year, as part of the New York State budget, the Legislature enacted New York State Real Property Tax Law Section 575-b (RPTL 575-b), which creates new requirements for the real property taxation of wind and solar energy projects that have a nameplate capacity of 1 megawatt (MW) or greater. These new requirements are applicable to projects that are not subject to a payment in lieu of taxes (PILOT) agreement and, notwithstanding these statutory changes, municipalities will continue to have the flexibility to enter into PILOT agreements with project proponents. Municipalities are likely, however, to look to the new requirements for guidance when negotiating such PILOT agreements.

Continue Reading New York State Department of Taxation and Finance Issues Preliminary Appraisal Model and Discount Rates for Solar and Wind Energy Projects – Comments Due by October 1, 2021

On August 20, 2020, the New York State Supreme Court, Appellate Division, Fourth Department issued a decision in Cornell University v. Board of Assessment Review (“Cornell University”), finding that a solar photovoltaic system is taxable real property. See No. CA 19-00339, slip op. 04636, 2020 WL 4876486 (4th Dep’t Aug. 20, 2020). This decision settled, at least in the Fourth Department, a real property tax question long considered—and feared—by solar developers. Although this decision has the potential for significant impacts on solar development projects throughout New York State, it may be possible to mitigate the financial impact of this tax burden with careful planning and mindful project decisions.
Continue Reading Solar Photovoltaic Systems Are Taxable Real Property: Fourth Department Decision Requires Consideration in Early Project Development