Bill Text: NY S07677 | 2021-2022 | General Assembly | Introduced

Bill Title: Relates to the design of uniform standards and conditions relating to the construction and operation of major renewable energy facilities and the review of applications for permits to develop such facilities.

Spectrum: Partisan Bill (Democrat 1-0)

Status: (Introduced) 2022-01-06 - REFERRED TO ENERGY AND TELECOMMUNICATIONS [S07677 Detail]

Download: New_York-2021-S07677-Introduced.html

                STATE OF NEW YORK


                    IN SENATE

                                     January 6, 2022

        Introduced  by  Sen. HINCHEY -- read twice and ordered printed, and when
          printed to be committed to the Committee on  Energy  and  Telecommuni-

        AN  ACT to amend the executive law, in relation to the design of uniform
          standards and conditions relating to the construction and operation of
          major renewable energy facilities and the review of  applications  for
          permits  to  develop  such  facilities; and requires the   office   of
          renewable energy  siting to establish or amend rules  and  regulations
          pertaining  to renewable energy siting facilities

          The  People of the State of New York, represented in Senate and Assem-
        bly, do enact as follows:

     1    Section 1. Paragraph (c) of subdivision 3 of section 94-c of the exec-
     2  utive law, as added by section 4 of part JJJ of chapter 58 of  the  laws
     3  of 2020, is amended to read as follows:
     4    (c)  The uniform standards and conditions established pursuant to this
     5  section shall be designed to avoid or minimize, to  the  maximum  extent
     6  practicable,  any  potential  significant  adverse environmental impacts
     7  and, to the maximum extent practicable, avoid,  minimize,  and  mitigate
     8  agricultural impacts to active agricultural lands related to the siting,
     9  design, construction and operation of a major renewable energy facility.
    10  Such uniform standards and conditions shall apply to those environmental
    11  impacts the office determines are common to each type of major renewable
    12  energy facility.
    13    §  2.  Paragraphs  (e),  (f),  (g),  (h),  and (i) of subdivision 3 of
    14  section 94-c of the executive law are relettered  paragraphs  (f),  (g),
    15  (h), (i), and (j) and a new paragraph (e) is added to read as follows:
    16    (e)  In  its  review of an application for a permit to develop a major
    17  renewable energy facility, the office, in consultation with the  depart-
    18  ment  of  agriculture  and  markets shall ensure that a critical mass of
    19  farmland within the designated region is not threatened,  ensuring  that
    20  no  more  than  five  percent  of prime soils within a regional economic
    21  development council region shall have solar developed  and  ensure  that
    22  solar development shall not greatly hinder the amount of farmland within
    23  New York state and/or be a potential threat to New York's food security.

         EXPLANATION--Matter in italics (underscored) is new; matter in brackets
                              [ ] is old law to be omitted.

        S. 7677                             2

     1    §  3.  Section  94-c  of  the executive law is amended by adding a new
     2  subdivision 9 to read as follows:
     3    9. Rules and regulations.  The office shall establish and/or amend the
     4  rules  and  regulations pertaining to such office to include the follow-
     5  ing:
     6    (a) the definition of prime farmland as defined in part 622.04 of  the
     7  USDA  handbook  and the definitions of unique farmland, specific charac-
     8  teristics of unique farmland, additional farmland  of  statewide  impor-
     9  tance,  and  additional  farmland  of local importance as such terms are
    10  defined in 7 CFR § 657.5.
    11    (b)(i) preapplication procedures which require applicants to:
    12    (1) submit a report delineating the impacts to prime agricultural land
    13  and prime soils, unique farmland and farmland  of  statewide  and  local
    14  importance, including soil classifications as established by the natural
    15  resources conservation service;
    16    (2) submit a cumulative impact study as to how the use of farmland for
    17  solar  siting will impact the regional food economy and regional overall
    18  farmland protection plan; and
    19    (3) ensure that a critical mass  of  farmland  within  the  designated
    20  region  is  not  threatened,  ensuring that no more than five percent of
    21  prime soils are being sited within a regional economic development coun-
    22  cil region; and
    23    (ii) preference to be given to sites for solar development that are on
    24  brownfields, landfills, parking lots, rooftops, gravel  pits  and  other
    25  areas  where  disturbance  to  local ecosystems is minimized. Such sites
    26  shall be granted expedited approval.
    27    (c) application procedures for major renewable energy facility  siting
    28  permits.  Each application for such permit shall require:
    29    (i)  the  submission of a cumulative impact statement within the study
    30  area which includes the following criteria:
    31    (1) categories based on solar array size, specifying the array capaci-
    32  ty and how much power  or  electricity  is  expected  to  be  generated,
    33  on-site or associated electric load, and the land use footprint, includ-
    34  ing the acreage of land underlying the array;
    35    (2)  customer  type  by  identifying  the end-use entity consuming the
    36  electricity or receiving the electric credits generated by  the  project
    37  and how such end-user is classified in a utilities' established electric
    38  rate  structures  for different customer classes, including residential,
    39  commercial, industrial, agricultural or low-income;
    40    (3) categories based on solar array location, specifying whether solar
    41  arrays are roof-mounted, designating preferred sites for solar  develop-
    42  ment and ineligible sites;
    43    (4)  categories  based  on  solar  array  design, including specifying
    44  whether such solar array utilizes dual use or agrivoltaics; and
    45    (ii) for major renewable energy facilities sited  on  prime  soils  or
    46  farmlands,  the  applicant to submit decommissioning plans for arrays on
    47  agricultural  land  and  decommissioning  bonds   for   commercial-scale
    48  projects. Such applications shall require the applicant to:
    49    (1) include a decommissioning plan in the application;
    50    (2)  show  substantial evidence that all structures and materials will
    51  be removed upon decommissioning of such  facility  and  to  ensure  that
    52  soils will be capable of agricultural production; and
    53    (3)  obtain  decommissioning surety bonds or another form of insurance
    54  to secure all or a part of decommissioning costs required at the conclu-
    55  sion of the lease.

        S. 7677                             3

     1    (d) requiring the submission of a farmland  conservation  fee  of  one
     2  percent  of  the  price  per  acre of prime soil or prime farmland which
     3  solar is developed on. Such farmland conservation fee shall be deposited
     4  in the  farmland  preservation  fund  subaccount  of  the  environmental
     5  protection fund.
     6    (e)  farmland  protection  and  consideration  of local economies. The
     7  office shall take into  account  the  regional  impacts,  based  on  the
     8  regional  economic development council region, on farmland preservation,
     9  local food supply chains, and statewide food security; provided that the
    10  office shall ensure that a critical mass of farmland within  the  desig-
    11  nated  region  is not threatened and shall ensure that no more than five
    12  percent of prime soils within a regional  economic  development  council
    13  region  may  be  developed  for  solar  projects.  The office shall also
    14  require the permittee to coordinate  with  county-level  governments  to
    15  ensure  no  more than fifteen percent of the land mass by square mile of
    16  any county shall be developed for solar energy development  or  no  more
    17  land  mass  than will significantly negatively impact the local economy,
    18  whichever is smaller.
    19    § 4. This act shall take effect immediately; provided,  however,  that
    20  the  amendments  to  section  94-c of the executive law made by sections
    21  one, two and three of this act shall  not  affect  the  repeal  of  such
    22  section and shall be deemed repealed therewith.