Part 487 Rural Area Flexibility Analysis
6 NYCRR Part 487 Analyzing Environmental Justice Issues in Siting Major Electric Generating Facilities Pursuant to Public Service Law Article 10
Rural Area Flexibility Analysis
1. Types and Estimated Numbers of Rural Areas:
The Department of Environmental Conservation (Department) proposes new regulations in 6 NYCRR Part 487 for the analysis of environmental justice (EJ) issues (EJ regulations). These regulations will apply statewide to persons seeking a Certificate of Environmental Compatibility and Public Need (Certificate) authorizing the construction of a major electric generating facility pursuant to Article 10 of the Public Service Law (PSL) (Article 10). A major electric generating facility is defined as an electric generating facility with a nameplate generating capacity of twenty-five thousand kilowatts (25 megawatts) or more. The Department anticipates that most of the major electric generating facilities that will be sited in rural areas will be wind energy projects. The Department knows of sixteen wind energy projects currently operating in New York State and they are located in Clinton, Erie, Franklin, Herkimer, Lewis, Madison, Steuben, and Wyoming counties. According to 2010 U.S. Census figures, all of these counties, except for portions of Erie County, are considered rural areas.
2. Reporting, Recordkeeping and Other Compliance Requirements; and Professional Services:
These EJ regulations do not include any reporting or recordkeeping requirements. The impact of these regulations upon a regulated energy developer will not be significantly different in a rural area than in an urban or suburban area. These regulations, for the most part, will affect large energy companies and the ability to comply with these regulations is not expected to be affected by the fact that a major electric generating facility is proposed to be located in a rural area. Similarly, the need for an applicant to contract for professional services is not expected to be affected by the fact that a facility is proposed to be located in a rural area. Applicants for a Certificate must comply with all of the requirements of Article 10 which will not differ for applicants proposing to locate a facility in a rural area. The additional requirements to comply with these EJ regulations are not significant when compared to the requirements of complying with the other requirements of Article 10. If the facility is proposed to be located in a rural area in which no EJ area is present, the requirements to comply with these regulations are substantially fewer.
The cost to comply with these proposed EJ regulations in rural areas will not differ substantially from the costs of complying with these regulations in urban or suburban areas. These costs cannot be quantified at this time; however, the Department anticipates that the cost of complying with the EJ regulations will be insignificant in relation to the total costs of complying with the other requirements of Article 10. The costs of complying with these regulations are limited to the costs associated with any studies, analyses and evaluations required to support an EJ analysis as a required part of an application for a Certificate. If the facility is proposed to be located in a rural area in which no EJ area is present, the costs to comply with these regulations are substantially less. There are no recurring costs associated with these regulations.
4. Minimizing Adverse Impact:
The Department does not expect these proposed EJ regulations to have a negative impact on rural areas in the State as they will not impose significant costs above and beyond those associated with meeting all of the other requirements of Article 10.
5. Rural Area Participation:
The Department participated in outreach to the regulated community while developing these regulations, including the solicitation of comments from the energy industry. The energy developers that are most likely to locate facilities in rural areas are wind energy developers. The Department met with the Alliance for Clean Energy New York, Inc. (ACE NY) to discuss how these regulations may impact wind energy projects in New York and presented its proposed regulatory approach at ACE NY's Fall Conference on October 26, 2011 and encouraged comments and suggestions from conference participants.