New York allocates 1 GW of solar as renewables auction delivers $18.59/MWh average price


From pv magazine USA.

New York governor Andrew Cuomo has revealed the projects allocated in the most recent renewable energy request for proposals held by the New York Energy Research and Development Authority (Nyserda).

In total, 21 large scale solar, wind and energy storage projects were awarded across upstate New York, for 1,278 MW of new capacity. Solar accounted for 17 of the projects and 1,090 MW of the generation capacity. That is more than all but 14 states have installed to date and would represent a 50% rise in New York State’ solar capacity.

“The weighted average award price for this solicitation is $18.59/MWh of production over the 20-year term of the awarded contracts, the lowest average award price resulting from a Nyserda large scale renewables solicitation in over a decade,” said the authority.

pv magazine USA spoke with Nyserda VP of large scale renewables Doreen Harris to find out how much work goes into developing a request for proposals of that magnitude and how the authority ensures the right developers are bringing the right projects to the right areas.

Green New Deal

This year’s project awards are the third entry in a list of annual Nyserda land-based renewable procurements, each with the goal of bringing the state closer to governor Cuomo’s Green New Deal goal of obtaining 70% of the its electricity from clean energy sources by 2030.

“What’s different under this program is that we’re really looking for large scale renewables to compete against one another, within criteria [utilities regulator] the New York Public Service Commission established,” said Harris. “That’s 70% price, 10% viability, 10% economic benefits to New York and 10% operational flexibility and peak coincidence. Renewables are competing against one another and against that criteria.”

While early awards were given primarily to onshore wind projects, the state has seen a sharp spike in the viability of solar facilities, hence the resource representing 80% of project awards and 85% of awarded generation capacity.

“In the years that we’ve been running these programs, we’ve seen a shift in the competitiveness of solar,” said Harris. “This group of awarded projects is, in large part, solar whereas five years ago it would have been primarily wind … Much like any other state, you can see this shift becoming evident in things like the interconnection queues … The development community knows we [New York] are a big buyer. We’ve committed to the achievement of our goals so they know the market is of sufficient scale and duration to invest.”


pv magazine noted American market newcomer Boralex, a Canadian large scale renewable developer which previously operated in Europe and in its homeland, was awarded 180 MW in the company’s first foray into the American market, an occurrence Harris believes New York is specially suited for.

“We see a lot of new market entrants like Boralex, who are responding to the demand that we’ve established,” she added. “We continually award much more than we are required to in the way of contracts. All of this is codified in law now, through the Climate Leadership and Community Protection Act, so [non-American developers] are looking at New York seriously.”

And as if 1.3 GW wasn’t enough procurement for a year, Nyserda is planning a quick solicitation turnaround, with the next large scale renewable auction set for April 22.

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