All renewable portfolio standard (RPS) programs are not created equal. In California, the law sets standards and a target – one-third renewables by 2020 – then essentially leaves it up to utilities to find their way there. Not so in New York. There, the state levies a surcharge on energy use, and uses the money to create an RPS fund that it uses to award incentivized contracts to renewable energy projects.
And another call for projects just went out, with the New York State Energy Research and Development Authority (NYSERDA ) dangling $250 million to be awarded competitively for projects using wind, hydroelectric, biomass or other clean resources to produce electricity.
New York’s targets have undergone revisions and are a little complicated, but basically the state is reaching for 29 percent renewables by 2015, according to the U.S. Department of Energy’s Database of State Incentives for Renewables & Efficiency, which provides details on how the New York program functions.
The NYSERDA said it has already awarded funding to 39 large-scale renewable electricity generators – including three biomass power plants, one landfill biogas operation, 21 hydroelectric upgrades and 14 wind power plants –.that together are expected to produce 4.3 million megawatt-hours of renewable-sourced energy per year.