Clearing the air on renewables
On Dec. 11, an OBSERVER article was headlined “Gone from the Wind,” which claimed that in October, Assemblyman Andrew Goodell and Sen. George Borrello “proposed legislation to create a state requirement that wind and solar companies provide the state Office of Renewable Energy Siting or Public Service Commission with reclamation bonds to decommission wind and solar projects at the end of their useful lives.”
This implies that there are no backstop regulations in place at the state level to protect towns or taxpayers from having to fund or perform decommissioning activities themselves.
I would like to take the opportunity to set the record straight.
The Office of Renewable Energy Siting, under Section 94-c, 900-2.24 Exhibit 23: Site Restoration and Decommissioning, requires that a Decommissioning and Restoration Plan – including a bond for the full cost of decommissioning – be filed as part of a 94-c application. The plan must outline the various ways in which the applicant will safely and responsibly remove installed equipment and how the property within the project area will be restored to as close to its state prior to construction as possible. The sole purpose of this required exhibit is to ensure that towns and taxpayers are not responsible for carrying out or funding project decommissioning.
It is unfortunate that with all the false narratives being spread about renewable energy, New York residents are left to their own devices to sort fact from fiction.
I hope this letter clears the air around the issue of decommissioning and reclamation bonds – the requirements for both are clearly outlined in the existing Section 94-c regulations. That is, if you bother to read them.