Enviro groups criticize LIPA for not approving enough renewable projects

The Sierra Club on Dec. 17 slammed the Long Island Power Authority (LIPA) Board of Trustees for voting that day to approve just a fraction of the renewable energy contracts promised by New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo in his LIPA reform legislation.

While the decision will bring 122 MW of new solar projects online, the decision fell significantly short of meeting the governor’s commitment of 280 MW of new renewable power this year, the club said. 

“The Governor’s pledge could have been met if the Board chose a proposed offshore wind project 30 miles off the coast of Long Island,” the club added. “Committing to offshore wind now would have put the project on track for development in the next few years bringing hundreds of new jobs, stable electricity rates and cleaner air to Long Island families. Instead, the board approved yet another solicitation for the remaining 160 MW that likely won’t be complete for another 18 months while PSEG-Long Island completes an Integrated Resource Plan.”

A LIPA staff memo for the Dec. 17 board meeting said the 122 MW of winning projects, which will be subject to final negotiations for power purchase agreements, are:

  • Hecate Energy LLC proposed to develop, operate, and own a new 7.5-MW solar facility (Riverhead Solar) located in Calverton, N.Y. Hecate Energy proposes to achieve an October 19, 2016, commercial operation date (COD).
  • Community Energy Solar LLC (a wholly owned subsidiary of Community Energy Holdings Inc.) proposed to develop, operate, and own a new 10-MW solar facility (Calverton) located in Calverton, N.Y. Community Energy Solar proposes to achieve a Sept. 12, 2016 COD.
  • Community Energy Solar LLC proposed to develop, operate, and own a new 16-MW solar facility (Manorville) located in Eastport, N.Y. Community Energy Solar proposes to achieve a Nov. 10, 2016 COD.
  • Invenergy LLC proposed to develop, operate, and own a new 24.99-MW solar facility (Tallgrass Solar) located in East Shoreham, N.Y. Invenergy proposes to achieve a June 24, 2016 COD.
  • American Capital Energy Inc. proposed to develop, operate, and own a new 10-MW solar facility (Brookhaven) located in Medford, N.Y. American Capital Energy proposes to achieve a Dec. 19, 2016 COD.
  • Sybac Solar LLC proposed to develop, operate, and own a new 9.8-MW solar facility (Yaphank) located in Upton, N.Y. Sybac Solar proposes to achieve a July 25, 2016 COD.
  • Sybac Solar LLC proposed to develop, operate, and own a new 9.9-MW solar facility (Riverhead) located in Calverton, N.Y. Sybac Solar proposes to achieve a July 25, 2016 COD.
  • Sybac Solar LLC proposed to develop, operate, and own a new 10-MW solar facility (Horseblock) located in Yaphank, N.Y. Sybac Solar proposes to achieve a July 25, 2016 COD.
  • BQ Energy Development LLC proposed to develop, operate, and own a new 2-MW solar facility (Indian Solar I) located in Kings Park, N.Y. BQ Energy proposes to achieve a Sept. 21, 2015 COD.
  • BQ Energy Development LLC proposed to develop, operate, and own a new 2-MW solar facility (Indian Solar II) located in Kings Park, N.Y. BQ Energy proposes to achieve a September 21, 2015 COD.
  • sPower (privately held firm owned by Fir Tree Partners, Sustainable Power Group, Silverado Power and Martifer Solar) proposed to develop, operate, and own a new 20-MW solar facility (Riverhead) located on two plots in Calverton, N.Y. sPower proposes to achieve a Dec. 31, 2016 COD.

Staff noted in the memo that the request for proposals (RFP) for this power was targeted at 280 MW. The 280-MW target was adopted in 2012 as part of an overall target totaling 400 MW of renewable energy for Long Island. “This program was in furtherance of the Authority Board’s sense that Long Island should, along with the State’s other utilities, support the State’s goal of obtaining 30 percent of its energy from renewable sources by 2015,” staff added. “Specifically, Authority Staff recommends that the Board authorize commencement of a supplemental solicitation to secure an additional 160 megawatts of renewable energy in order to achieve the target of up to 280 megawatts of renewable energy. Authority Staff believes that the new solicitation can be coordinated with the Integrated Resource Plan process being conductedby PSEG-Long Island so that new renewable resources can be developed in a manner that will minimize costs to the Long Island ratepayer. Authority Staff believes it is important to proceedwith the additional solicitation as soon as practicable so as to achieve the full objectives of the 280 MW RFP.”

Staff said the RFP drew 38 proposals from 18 entities. The selection process ahead of the Dec. 17 board meeting was limited to the solar proposals only which in aggregate represent a total of 122.1 MW of installed capacity. The wind projects were not selected primarily because of their total cost relative to other alternatives, including financial risks inherent in those proposals, staff said. Similarly, none of the fuel cell proposals, which would all be fueled by natural gas, were selected due to price risks inherent in those proposals. 

About Barry Cassell 20414 Articles
Barry Cassell is Chief Analyst for GenerationHub covering coal and emission controls issues, projects and policy. He has covered the coal and power generation industry for more than 24 years, beginning in November 2011 at GenerationHub and prior to that as editor of SNL Energy’s Coal Report. He was formerly with Coal Outlook for 15 years as the publication’s editor and contributing writer, and prior to that he was editor of Coal & Synfuels Technology and associate editor of The Energy Report. He has a bachelor’s degree from Central Michigan University.