New York State (“NYS” or “State”) is launching a second round of request for proposals (“RFPs”) for large-scale renewable projects. According to NYS Energy Research and Development Authority (“NYSERDA”), the State is seeking to accelerate progress to achieve the lofty goals set in the Clean Energy Standard initiative that went into effect in August of 2016. As we have previously reported, the Clean Energy Standard mandates that renewable energy supply 50 percent of the State’s electricity needs by 2030. Large-scale renewable projects, such as utility-scale solar and wind, have been expected to carry a huge load in bridging the gap between the mandated 50 percent and the roughly 23 percent that was produced by renewables in 2016.

NYS Governor Andrew Cuomo announced last week that the State is seeking RFPs for up to 20 large-scale projects – a move that is expected to bring in $1.5 billion in private investments and the creation of upwards of 1,000 well-paying jobs. The first round of RFPs, sought in 2017, brought in $1.4 billion in private investment and included the development of 22 solar farms, three wind farms and a hydroelectric project. The State is looking to build off of that progress with its current solicitation, and will purchase Tier 1 Renewable Energy Certificates from eligible facilities that enter operation before November 30, 2020, or by November 30, 2022, if the deadline is extended.

The RFP is being implemented through a three-step process:

  • The first step, which is currently available, is Resource Eligibility Determination, as potential developers must first qualify for Tier 1 eligibility before participating in steps two or three of the RFP process. Step one submissions are due on Wednesday, May 16, 2018.
  • Step two – Application for Qualification – will open on Monday, April 30, 2018, and once successfully completed, will qualify proposers to submit a Bid Proposal. Step two applications are due on Tuesday June 12, 2018.
  • Finally, step three is the submission of a competitive Bid Proposal.

New provisions in this year’s solicitation include (i) the requirement that workers associated with project construction be paid the prevailing wage set by NYS Department of Labor; (ii) providing “bonus points” to projects that do not overlap with agricultural resources; (iii) the requirement that proposers demonstrate community engagement and commencement of the permitting process; and (iv) encouraging proposals to utilize advanced storage energy technologies.

NYSERDA is hosting a webinar on Wednesday, May 2, 2018, which will fully explain the details of the RFP process and how to submit proposals. In addition, more information and associated documents, including information related to Tier 1 eligibility, may be found on the NYSERDA website.