Question 14 - Impact on Energy - Full EAF (Part 2)
Full Environmental Assessment Form (FEAF) Workbook
The proposed action may cause an increase in the use of any form of energy.
Energy use is an important factor to consider when evaluating potential environmental impacts as it is tied to many other aspects of a project, and can have some unforeseen consequences. An increase in energy use means a need for more energy production either on-site or off-site, which in turn will mean an increase in pollution. It puts more strain on the energy supply system (the energy grid), sometimes to the point where upgrades to the production or delivery system are needed. If a project requires an amount of energy that necessitates upgrades to the delivery or generation system, those upgrades will also have their own environmental impacts.
There are few projects that will not cause some increase in the use of energy. Some examples may be:
- The adoption or amendment of a local law, ordinance, or regulation
- The granting of a zoning change, or allowable uses in a zoning law
- The acquisition sale, or lease of land by a state or local agency
- Conversion of one use to another, where there is a minimal amount of new construction involved, and the intensity of use will not change
To answer this question
If the project includes some form of construction activity, a change to a more intensive land use, or a new or expanded building or structure, there will be an increase in the use of energy. Check 'Yes' to Question 14 and then answer sub-questions a through e. If the project does not include any of these, check 'No', and move on to Question 15.
Identifying potential impacts
The reviewing agency should evaluate the following sub-questions and decide if there will be any impact. If there will be an impact, the reviewing agency must then evaluate the magnitude of that impact, and decide if the impact will be small or moderate to large. This will depend on the overall scale and context of the proposed project as described in the Introduction to Part 2. The reviewing agency should be reasonable when conducting this review.
- If the proposed project exceeds a numeric threshold in a question, it is presumed to be a moderate to large impact.
- If the proposed project does not exceed a numeric threshold in a question, the reviewing agency should consider the scale and context of the project in determining if an impact may be small or moderate to large.
- These sub-questions are not meant to be exhaustive. The reviewing agency should use the "Other impacts:" sub-question to include any additional elements they feel need to be analyzed for potential impacts.
a. The proposed action will require a new, or an upgrade to an existing, substation.
b. The proposed action will require the creation or extension of an energy transmission or supply system to serve more than 50 single or two-family residences or to serve a commercial or industrial use.
c. The proposed action may utilize more than 2,500 MWhrs per year of electricity.
d. The proposed action may involve heating and/or cooling of more than 100,000 square feet of building area when completed.
When evaluating the use of energy, consideration should be given to the construction phase of the project as well as the use after construction.
Climate Smart Communities (CSC) is a state-local partnership to reduce greenhouse gas emissions, save taxpayer dollars and advance community goals for health and safety, economic vitality, energy independence and quality of life. Any town, city, village or county can join Climate Smart Communities, without cost by adopting the CSC Pledge and informing DEC. The CSC Pledge describes the steps the adopting community will take to reduce greenhouse gas emissions, reduce electrical use, incorporate energy efficient technologies into its infrastructure, and improve vehicle fuel economy.
Answering sub-questions (a) through (d) will help the reviewing agency determine if the proposed project rises to the level of a moderate to large impact.
Applicable Part 1 Information
In addition to the (a) through (d) sub-questions, the reviewing agency may also want to ask:
- Does the proposed action incorporate any energy efficient design features and technologies such as incorporated in:
- Has the municipality adopted the Climate Smart Communities Pledge?
- If the project is a municipal action, does it fit the community's CSC Pledge?
Will there be an impact?
There is not likely to be any impacts on energy if the proposed action does not require new, upgraded, creation, or extension of substations, energy transmission supply systems, nor does it use more than 2500 MWhrs or energy or is a building less than 100,000 square feet of building area.
- Proposed projects that include land uses similar to those in the surrounding area, and that follow the NYS Energy Code, are likely to have only a small impact. Examples would be:
- Residential development in an already suburbanized area.
- Small commercial uses in a professional office or industrial park.
- Uses that are fully compliant with a community's adopted Local Climate Action Plan.
Moderate to Large Impact:
- Proposed projects that are much larger in scale than the surrounding land uses, or that are in a remote area with limited energy infrastructure, could have a moderate to large impact. Some examples that might fall into this category are:
- An industrial use on a rural road with electric transmission lines designed for only scattered residential land uses.
- A single commercial use in an industrial park with much higher energy demands than the other uses in the park.
- Industrial projects that require large amounts of energy during operation.
- Large number of residential units in a rural area.
e. Other Impacts:
There may be other impacts identified by the reviewing agency that are not addressed by the above questions. If so, they should be identified and briefly described here.
Some proposed actions may have beneficial impacts on the environment. The reviewing agency can use the 'other' category for that purpose, too.