Tuesday, February 23, 2010

Governor Paterson Announces Passage of Bill to Help Businesses Produce Their Own Renewable Energy

Governor David A. Paterson today announced the passage of a three-way bill negotiated with the Legislature to improve net metering, which encourages the development of renewable energy systems. Net metering allows electricity customers with qualified renewable energy systems to sell excess electricity back to their local utility.

"This is another step toward achieving the State's clean energy goals," Governor Paterson said. "As called for in the State Energy Plan, clean energy initiatives will create local job growth, reduce greenhouse gas pollution, and improve public health, the environment, and the State's energy independence. I thank the Legislature, the renewables industry, and utilities for working with me to strengthen the net metering law."

This legislation is the product of a "Net Metering Summit" that was convened by Governor Paterson last fall to facilitate an agreement between renewable energy installers and the State's major utilities. The bill eliminates the peak load limitation on the size of non-residential solar and wind systems that are eligible to participate in the net metering program. Non-residential solar and wind systems will now be allowed up to 25 kilowatts with the interconnection charges capped at $350 and $750 for solar and wind, respectively. For systems above 25 kilowatts, up to the overall cap of 2,000 kilowatts, the customer would be responsible for the actual interconnection charges.

Amendment of the net metering law for non-residential customers was an important recommendation from the State Energy Plan as a means to support the development of in-state energy supplies. The amendment also supports '45 by 15,' the goal set by Governor Paterson for the State to meet 45 percent of its electricity needs by 2015 through increased energy efficiency and renewable energy. The '45 by 15' clean energy goal would reduce the amount of electricity used in 2015 by 15 percent below forecasted levels, while simultaneously meeting 30 percent of the State's remaining electricity needs through renewable resources. Achievement of this goal would create an estimated 50,000 jobs in the State.

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