The Accelerated Renewable Energy Growth and Community Benefit Act (“Accelerator Act”) was enacted to speed up the siting and construction of major renewable energy projects in New York State. One of the key components of the Accelerator Act was the creation of the Office of Renewable Energy Siting (ORES) within the New York State Department of State to address, in large part, many of the shortcomings of New York State’s existing Article 10 siting process. At the statutory level, ORES is intended to improve and streamline the process for cost-effective siting of large-scale renewable energy in a timely fashion in order to achieve the State’s aggressive renewable energy targets. Of course, the details would be fleshed out in regulations required to be promulgated within a year of the Act’s passage.
On September 16, 2020, the State published draft regulations for ORES. This substantial regulatory package, in essence, creates ORES and the framework of regulations by which it will seek to achieve the ambitious goals of improving and expediting the siting of renewal energy projects. Due to the significant nature of the proposed regulations, the State is scheduling a series of in-person and virtual public hearings across the New York State this fall, with a 60-day public comment period for the proposed regulations. See www.ores.ny.gov.
It is not often that regulations are proposed that create an entity with the breadth, scope and size of ORES. All who are interested in the siting of large-scale renewal energy projects should review the draft regulations and participate in the public comment process.