Memorandums of Understanding Will Allow State to Explore Feasibility of Hosting Build-Ready Renewable Energy Projects on Otherwise Underutilized Lands in the North Country and Long Island
July 8, 2022
The New York State Energy Research and Development Authority (NYSERDA) today announced agreements on two municipally-owned sites for potential renewable energy development. Under these memorandums of understanding (MOU), NYSERDA through its Build-Ready Program will work closely with two municipalities, Dannemora in the North Country and Brookhaven on Long Island, to explore the feasibility of developing renewable energy projects on otherwise underutilized lands. Today’s announcement represents progress under the State’s Accelerated Renewable Energy Growth and Community Benefit Act and advances New York’s goal for 70 percent of the state’s electricity to come from renewable sources by 2030 under the Climate Leadership and Community Protection Act.
Doreen M. Harris, President and CEO, NYSERDA said“Our Build-Ready program is part of New York’s comprehensive approach to accelerating the development of large-scale renewable energy projects and is helping bring forward projects that stimulate local and regional economic growth while achieving the state’s clean energy goals. Today’s agreements are an An important step in understanding the practicality of transitioning these underutilized sites into revenue-generating renewable potential energy facilities, and we look forward to working with the towns of Dannemora and Brookhaven to ensure any project reflects the unique character of each community.”
The first MOU was executed by NYSERDA with the Town of Dannemora in Clinton County in relation to the Lyon Mountain iron ore mine which was nominated by the Town of Dannemora and the Adirondack North Country Association. The former iron ore mine has been dormant since the late 1960s, but was once a bustling operation, providing iron ore for the Golden Gate Bridge and many other uses for approximately 100 years. The 282-acre site will potentially host a large-scale renewable energy project in an effort to bring new economic growth and an opportunity for positive downtown revitalization. This project complements efforts by Empire State Development’s North Country Regional Economic Development Council to lead the economic renaissance of New York State’s small cities and rural communities.
Deborah Coryer, Supervisor, Town of Dannemora said“We are looking forward to a positive outcome from the studies for this possible renewable energy project in Lyon Mountain. It would benefit the Town as a whole, but especially benefit the residents of the Hamlet who may be able to realize savings to their annual energy costs. The Town Board welcomes anything we, as a municipality, can do to create a greener, more sustainable tomorrow.”
Nancy Bernstein, Energy Circuit Rider, Adirondack North Country Association said“The small, rural town of Dannemora has become a leader in clean energy. By converting its building and street lights to LED, adopting the NYS unified solar permit, and benchmarking its buildings, Dannemora was designated a Clean Energy Community in 2021. This A potential Build-Ready renewable energy project at the former Lyon Mountain mine site is an innovative approach to repurposing the town’s under-utilized assets and generating needed revenue for this community.”
The second MOU was executed by NYSERDA with the Town of Brookhaven on Long Island following the passage of a local resolution by the Town Board on June 30, and will be the first step to investigate and complete the necessary due to diligence and community engagement. Located within the Town of Brookhaven’s Solid Waste Management Complex, the municipally-owned site spans 400 acres and is under consideration for potentially hosting a large-scale solar project. Repurposing this site would support the Town of Brookhaven’s goal of transitioning the Solid Waste Management Complex into a clean energy park and bringing benefits to the local community. This project complements efforts by Empire State Development’s Long Island Regional Economic Development Council to encourage innovation in the clean energy sector.
Ed Romaine, Supervisor, Town of Brookhaven said, “Brookhaven Town is proud to partner with NYSERDA for this exciting project. As Supervisor, I’m a strong supporter of alternative energy so we can reduce our reliance on fossil fuels and depend on the energy mother nature provides through wind, solar and sea current. This fits in with our plan to repurpose the landfill to repurpose the landfill as an energy park through fuel cells, solar and other potential renewable energy in the future. I want to thank NYSERDA for partnering with town of Brookhaven and look forward to working with them for other projects in the future.”
Entering into these MOUs will allow NYSERDA to conduct further due diligence and community engagement to evaluate the prospects of two large-scale renewable energy projects. If there is local acceptance, strong project feasibility, and agreement to move forward between NYSERDA and the municipalities, NYSERDA will initiate development activities including detailed engineering, interconnection, and permitting.
The Build-Ready Program is currently advancing a pipeline of sites across New York State, having screened over 5,000 locations and progressing dozens of sites through more advanced assessment and development. Local community members, elected officials, private companies, environmental justice communities, or other interested parties are encouraged to nominate potential Build-Ready sites, which will be considered on a rolling basis, through the program’s Request for Information. More information about the program’s progress and NYSERDA’s plans for actively developing an expanded pipeline of potential sites on both public and private lands across New York State can be found in NYSERDA’s Build-Ready Annual Progress Report [PDF].
Empire State Development President, CEO and Commissioner Hope Knight said, “The Build-Ready Program is finding a purpose for underutilized land that is better for both the community and the environment and also makes good economic sense. I applaud NYSERDA for finding innovative ways to partner with local communities to create jobs, increase revenue and investment and ultimately protect our planet for future generations.”
Thomas Falcone, Chief Executive Officer, Long Island Power Authority said, “LIPA commends NYSERDA and the Town of Brookhaven on leading the way in repurposing 400 acres of land from solid waste management into solar energy. The proposed solar project in Brookhaven will add to Long Island’s robust list of clean energy projects, which is already slated to reduce the carbon emissions of the Long Island electric grid by 60% through 2030. Projects like these are vital to achieving our goals for a zero-carbon electric grid.”
State Senator Michael Cusick said, “As we continue to work toward our energy and climate goals, it is important that we continue to expand our renewable energy generation capacity. Today’s announcement demonstrates our statewide commitment to work with local governments to ensure their energy needs are met and to do so using renewable and reliable energy sources.”
State Senator Kevin Parker said“As we work to reach our clean energy goals of 70% of the state’s electricity to come from renewable sources by 2030, this expansion project of sites for renewable energy development is going to be a key component. I applaud NYSERDA for working diligently to secure these agreements and look forward to securing more sites over time.”
Anne Reynolds, Executive Director of the Alliance for Clean Energy New York said, “New York’s Build-Ready Program is designed to complement private sector efforts to develop solar projects by targeting underutilized land. With this program, the program is also now actively collaborating with local governments in finding good sites for solar, which is a smart idea. This is good news for renewable energy progress in New York.”
Jean Hamerman, Executive Director of the Center for Creative Land Recycling said“As the leading national nonprofit promoting the beneficial reuse of environmentally-contaminated and under-utilized properties, the Center for Creative Land Recycling (CCLR) is honored to support NYSERDA’s Build Ready team. We congratulate the staff and residents of Dannemora and Brookhaven for their leadership in recognizing that underutilized properties can be at the forefront of ending our reliance on fossil fuels by providing space for renewable energy close to where people live and work.”
New York State’s Nation-Leading Climate Plan
New York State’s nation-leading climate agenda is the most aggressive climate and clean energy initiative in the nation, calling for an orderly and just transition to clean energy that creates jobs and continues fostering a green economy as New York State recovers from the COVID-19 pandemic. Enshrined into law through the Climate Leadership and Community Protection Act, New York is on a path to achieve its mandated goal of a zero-emission electricity sector by 2040, including 70 percent renewable energy generation by 2030, and to reach economy wide carbon neutrality. It builds on New York’s investments including investments to ramp-up clean energy over $35 billion in 120 large-scale renewables and transmission projects across the state, $6.8 billion to reduce building emissions, $1.8 billion to scale up solar, more than $1 billion for clean transportation initiatives, and over $1.6 billion in NY Green Bank commitments. Combined, these investments are supporting nearly 158,000 jobs in New York’s clean energy sector in 2020, a 2,100 percent growth in the distributed solar sector since 2011 and a commitment to develop 9,000 megawatts of offshore wind by 2035. Under the Climate Act, New York will build on this progress and reduce greenhouse gas emissions by 85 percent from 1990 levels by 2050, while ensuring that at least 35 percent with a goal of 40 percent of the benefits of clean energy investments are directed to disadvantaged communities, and advance progress towards the state’s 2025 energy efficiency target of reducing on-site energy consumption by 185 trillion BTUs of end-use energy savings.
NYSERDA, a public benefit corporation, offers objective information and analysis, innovative programs, technical expertise, and funding to help New Yorkers increase energy efficiency, save money, use renewable energy, and reduce reliance on fossil fuels. NYSERDA professionals work to protect the environment and create clean-energy jobs. NYSERDA has been developing partnerships to advance innovative energy solutions in New York State since 1975. To learn more about NYSERDA’s programs and funding opportunities, visit nyserda.ny.gov or follow us on TwitterFacebookYouTubeor Instagram.