Undertake actions deemed necessary to foster and encourage the siting and development of major renewable energy facilities.

Statutory Language: 

AREGCBA § 6  adds new Public Authorities Law Title 9-B  § 1902: "§  1902.  Powers  and  duties.  The authority is hereby authorized and directed to undertake such actions it deems necessary or  convenient  to foster  and  encourage  the  siting and development of build-ready sites throughout the state in accordance with  this  title,  work  in  collaboration  with  the  department  of public service and the New York state urban development corporation and any  of  their  affiliates,  including without limitation:

1. (a) Locate, identify and assess sites within the state that appear suitable for the development of build-ready sites with a priority given to previously developed sites.  Such assessment may include but need not be limited to the following considerations:
(i) natural conditions  at  the site that are favorable to renewable energy generation;
(ii) current land uses at or near the site;
(iii) environmental conditions at or near the site;
(iv) the availability and characteristics  of  any  transmission  or distribution facilities on or near the site that could be used to facilitate the delivery of energy from the site, including existing or potential constraints on such facilities;
(v)  the potential for the development of energy storage facilities at or near the site;
(vi) potential impacts of development on environmental justice communities; and
(vii)  expressions of  commercial  interest  in  the  site or general location by developers of major renewable energy facilities.

 (b)  In  making  such  assessment the authority shall give priority to previously developed sites,  existing  or  abandoned  commercial  sites, including  without  limitation brownfields, landfills, former commercial or industrial sites, dormant electric  generating  sites,  or  otherwise underutilized sites;

2.  Notwithstanding  any  provision  of law to the contrary that would require the authority to locate sites through a competitive procurement, negotiate and enter into agreements with  persons  who  own  or  control interests  in favorable sites for the purpose of securing the rights and interests necessary to enable the  authority  to  establish  build-ready sites;

3. Establish procedures and protocols for the purpose of establishment and transfer of build ready sites which shall include, at a minimum:

(a) written notice  at  the  earliest practicable time to a municipality in which a potential build ready site has been  identified; and

(b)  a preliminary  screening  process  to  determine, in consultation with the department of environmental conservation, whether the  potential  build ready  site  is  located  in  or  near an environmental justice area and whether an environmental justice area would  be  adversely  affected  by development of a build-ready site;

4. Undertake  all work and secure such permits as the authority deems necessary or convenient to facilitate the process of establishing build- ready sites and for the transfer of the build-ready sites to  developers selected  pursuant  to  a  publicly noticed, competitive bidding process authorized by law;

5. Notwithstanding title five-A  of  article  nine  of  this  chapter,

establish  a build-ready program, including eligibility and other criteria, pursuant to which the authority would, through  a  competitive  and transparent  bidding  process,  transfer  rights  and other interests in build-ready sites and development rights to developers for  the  purpose of  facilitating  the development of renewable energy facilities on such build-ready sites.   Such transactions  may  include  the  transfer  of rights,  interests  and  obligations existing under agreements providing for host community benefits negotiated  by  the  authority  pursuant  to programs established pursuant to subdivision six of this section on such terms and conditions as the authority deems appropriate;

6.  Establish one  or more programs pursuant to which property owners and communities would receive incentives to host major renewable  energy facilities  developed  for  the  purpose of advancing the state policies embodied in this article.  Such program may include without  limitation, and  notwithstanding  any other  provision  of  law  to  the  contrary, provisions for the authority to negotiate and enter into agreements with property owners and host communities providing for incentives, including a payment in lieu of taxes, the transfer of the authority's interests in such agreements to developers to whom build-ready sites are transferred, and the provision of information and guidance to stakeholders concerning incentives. The authority shall maintain a record of such programs and incentives, and shall publish such record on the authority's website.    

7.  Procure the services of one or more service providers, including without limitation environmental consultants, engineers  and  attorneys, to  support  the  authority's  responsibilities  under  this section and perform such other functions as the authority deems appropriate;

8. In consultation with the department of  economic  development, the department  of  labor and  other  state agencies and authorities having experience with job training programs, assess the need  for  and  availability  of workforce training in the local area of build-ready sites to support green jobs development with special attention  to  environmental justice  communities and, subject to available funding, establish one or more programs pursuant to which financial support can be made  available for the local workforce and under-employed populations in the area;

9. Manage, allocate and spend any monies made available to the authority  in  furtherance  of  this  title  as the authority determines to be appropriate for the proper administration of programs  created  pursuant to  this title.  The authority shall, in identifying build-ready sites consider the ability to recoup funds allocated or spent in furtherance of  the  programs  created  pursuant to this title.  Any proceeds, less program expenses and administration, so earned by the authority pursuant to this title shall be reinvested in accordance with a plan approved by the commission;

10.  Where the authority determines that it would be beneficial to the policy embodied in this title, offer financing or  other  incentives  to eligible  developers  through  a  competitive process, including without limitation measures  and  activities  undertaken  by  the  authority  in conjunction with its administration of the state's clean energy standard or  similar program as established in commission orders, including without limitation orders issued in commission case number 15-E-0302; and

11. Request and receive the assistance  of,  the  departments  or  any other  state  agency  or authority,  within  their  respective relevant subject matter expertise, to support the administration of  the  program created pursuant to this title."