New York Governor Andrew Cuomo (D) signed legislation (A. 8510) on August 4, 2011, titled “Power NY Act of 2011.” The law (i) creates a permanent streamlined siting process for power plants with a generating capacity of at least 25 megawatts, (ii) allows financing of efficiency retrofits through customers’ monthly electricity bills, and (iii) directs the state Department of Environmental Conservation to promulgate regulations to reduce carbon dioxide emissions from power plants.

Effectively immediately, the new law also requires the New York Energy Research and Development Authority to study the potential for increasing the use of solar power in the state.  

Under the law, power plant owners will apply to a single multi-agency siting board and receive a decision within one year. Power plant owners are required to provide information on potential environmental, health and safety impacts, including the cumulative impact on air quality in the vicinity of the proposed plant. The law requires the siting board to consider environmental justice factors.