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Governor's proposal would mean more green energy projects, less local control

Posted at 11:49 PM, Feb 24, 2020

CAMBRIA, N.Y. (WKBW) — Governor Andrew Cuomo wants New York to be green. He's inviting renewable energy companies to build wind and solar across the state. In order to fulfill his goal of having 70% of New York's energy come from renewable sources by 2030. He wants to make it easier for wind and solar companies to build large scale projects, faster.

On Friday, his office amended his proposed 2020 budget to include a renewable energy permit office.

For some in Western New York, this was not welcomed news. The group Cambria Opposed to Industrial Solar has been fighting a project called Bear Ridge Solar, A 100 megawatt project, for close to a year.

Bear Ridge Solar is going through a process called Article 10. The process is designed to streamline a decision for large scale projects. While doing that, it gives the state government more power than local municipalities. It can takes years for developers to get through Article 10 process.

This new legislation proposed by the governor would allow even more state control with the would-be Office of Renewable Energy Permitting.

State Senator Rob Ortt says this isn't just a problem for Niagara County. He believes, it's going to be a problem for the entire state.

"This is going to drive more of the projects to places like Western New York. Whether it's places like Hamburg or Pendleton or Somerset, it's going to drive more of these kinds of projects and the local communities will have no say when they're proposed," said Ortt, a republican from North Tonawanda.

7 Eyewitness New reached out to the state for further comment on local input for future projects in the proposed Office of Renewable Energy Permitting. They did not respond.

Their press release states:

“Municipalities will have an opportunity to advise the Office on compliance with local laws and the Permitting Office will consider and may apply local laws in light of the State's clean energy and environmental goals under the CLCPA.”