Communities interested in cleaner energy, as well as greater control over their electric supply and reliability, are increasingly turning to microgrids — miniature power systems that serve an individual facility or area with electricity, either on its own or in concert with a larger power grid. Typically, a microgrid consists of energy generation and energy storage that can power a building or community and can be disconnected from the energy grid.Continue Reading Microgrids: Placing Energy in the Hands of the Consumer

The New York Independent System Operator (“NYISO”) recently issued a press release announcing its plans to undertake a new study on the potential for growth in the net metered (aka “customer sited”) solar sector to determine the impact on New York’s electricity grid. The study is based upon the explosive growth in net metered solar projects in the state. Under the NY-Sun Program, New York experienced 300 MW of new net metered capacity (installed or under contract) in just the first two years after the program was launched in 2012. In total, the aggressive NY-Sun Program calls for installation of 3,000 MW of solar capacity by 2023.
Continue Reading NYISO Announces Study of Fast Growing Solar Industry

Under New York State Public Service Law Section 66-j, certain remote net metered renewable energy projects, including solar energy facilities, are limited to 2 MW on a single deeded parcel in order to qualify for net metering.

The Public Service Commission (“PSC”), in its December 14, 2014 “Order Raising Net Metering Minimum Caps, Requiring Tariff Revisions, Making Other Findings, and Establishing Further Procedures” (“December Order”), addressed the 2 MW issue. In clarifying the 2 MW limitation, the PSC addressed requests from Cornell University regarding whether, under the limitation, a non-residential solar customer can collocate multiple 2 MW remote net metered projects on adjacent or contiguous parcels.
Continue Reading New York State Public Service Commission Order on Remote Net Metering May Require Solar Projects to Obtain Subdivision or Lot Line Adjustment Approvals

Our client, BQ Energy, is proposing a utility scale solar project adjacent to the existing Steel Winds wind farm on the former Bethlehem Steel plant in Lackawanna, New York.  This 4MW project will, when completed, represent one of the only utility scale combined wind/ solar projects in the world. We are assisting BQ Energy with all environmental reviews, zoning and land use matters associated with this dynamic project.
Continue Reading 4MW: Utility Scale Solar Project

Co-authored by Thomas F. Puchner and David P. Flynn

Delay.gifLike the famous Punxsutawney Phil seeing his shadow, DEC has not timely emerged from its long-running study of environmental and health impacts of High-Volume Hydraulic Fracturing (“HVHF”), suggesting that there will be at least several more weeks, if not months, of delay before the final decision.  On Tuesday, Health Commissioner Nirav Shah, sent a letter to DEC Commissioner Joseph Martens stating that his review is “on-going” and anticipated to be completed “within a few weeks.”  According to Shah, the additional time is necessary “based on the complexity of issues” and for his team to attend briefings on several HVHF studies underway at the federal and state level.
Continue Reading DEC Groundhog Sees Shadow – More Delay for New York Natural Gas Development – But Permits for High-Volume Hydraulic Fracturing May Be Issued In Weeks, Not Months

Co-authored by Thomas F. Puchner and Patrick T. Fitzgerald

New York State Department of Environmental Conservation (“DEC”) Commissioner, Joseph Martens, spoke to legislators about his agency’s 2013-2014 budget on Monday. During the sometimes-feisty hearing, legislators peppered Martens with questions about the timeline for completion of the revised Supplemental Generic Environmental Impact Statement (“SGEIS”) and regulations for High-Volume Hydraulic Fracturing (“HVHF”). Martens confirmed that DEC may miss several key February deadlines which may cause the proposed HVHF regulations to expire. Martens reiterated his agency’s position that it has “no specific timetable” for completing the process.
Continue Reading DEC Commissioner Suggests SGEIS May Be Delayed…Again

There is new hope for the long-stalled development of New York’s Marcellus and Utica Shale resources.  A story published last week by the New York Times reports on a Cuomo administration strategy to break the log-jam that has bogged down the opening of New York’s shale gas resources to hydraulic fracturing.  According to an unnamed senior official with the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation (NYSDEC), the new strategy would limit drilling to the deepest areas of the Marcellus Shale, where the top of the formation is a minimum of 2,000 feet deep.  The proposal for limited drilling would be in place at least for the next few years, in an effort to reduce the risk of groundwater contamination.
Continue Reading A Rational Path Forward for Shale Gas Development in New York?

New York has been all over the map recently regarding development of Marcellus formation natural gas.  Over the last several weeks there have been legislative proposals to extend a State-wide moratorium on the development of the Marcellus Formation via hydrofracking.  There have also been proposals to define “all” hydrofracking wastes as hazardous wastes.  Others have been pushing to start development of the Marcellus formation, and for an end to a moratorium on that development.
Continue Reading New York Moves Its Marcellus Play Forward

Today there is much interest, pro and con, swirling around the prospects for the development of New York’s Marcellus Shale gas reserves. These reserves, which some estimate at well over one trillion cubic feet in New York alone, may provide a significant revenue source for a state that is burdened with a multi-billion dollar budget gap for the coming budget year, and perhaps several years to follow.
Continue Reading Marcellus Shale Gas: When Will New York State Cash In?