NEW YORK–On December 16 the New York State Public Service Commission announced an expansion of the New York’s Renewable Portfolio Standard (RPS) goal to increase the proportion of renewable generation to 30 percent of projected electricity consumption by 2015. This decision strengthens the RPS program, which has been New York’s primary policy initiative to promote the development of new renewable energy resources since it was established in 2004. The new 30 percent goal for an RPS equates to a target of 10.4 million megawatt hours in 2015. Since the new goal reflects expected energy efficiency achievements under the Commission’s related initiative — the Energy Efficiency Portfolio Standard (EEPS) program — which seeks to reduce electricity usage in the State by 15 percent by 2015, the Commission’s action is consistent with achieving Governor Paterson’s clean energy goal of 45 percent by 2015.
The Commission specially approved funding for the Main Tier, which includes wind, hydro and biomass resources. While the costs associated with the Main Tier will peak in 2015, the expected increase in average customer bills for New Yorkers in 2015 after reflecting expected wholesale market price suppression will be well under one percent. To help attain this objective, the Commission authorized a main tier renewable resource solicitation of approximately $200 million to commence, as soon as practicable, in order to take advantage of certain expiring federal tax incentives, among other things. This decision by the Commission also provided for new funding up to $30 million annually for large-scale downstate solar photovoltaic (PV), anaerobic digester and fuel cell projects to assure a level of geographical balance in the RPS program.