SYRACUSE, N.Y. – State energy officials today announced a new $16.6 million subsidy program that will pay about one-third the cost of wind turbines installed at homes or businesses.
The five-year program, to be paid for by a surcharge on utility bills, is part of the state’s initiative to increase the percentage of energy from renewable sources, said officials from the New York State Energy Research and Development Authority.
Participants can get subsidies of up to $400,000, or up to half the cost of a wind installation, whichever is less. NYSERDA will subsidize wind systems of up to 600 kilowatts – 60 times bigger than a typical household system.
The new rules are likely to attract interest from commercial customers whose access to wind power incentives was previously limited. NYSERDA’s previous wind-power program, launched in 2008, limited subsidies to $150,000 per installation.
Besides offering more generous payments on the front end, New York has made it easier for businesses to reap savings from wind power on the back end. Rules approved last year by the Public Service Commission allow customers to “net meter” commercial-sized wind systems of up to 2,000 kilowatts. The previous limit was 25 kilowatts. Net metering allows customers to reduce their utility bills with credits equal to any power they generate but don’t use on site.
To pay for this and other renewable energy programs, the PSC imposes a surcharge that adds about $1 a month to a typical household electric bill.
Under NYSERDA’s 2008 wind program, a total of $1.8 million was spent on 61 wind systems; all but eight were installed at homes or farms.
Under the new program, NYSERDA will award incentives based on the estimated energy output from an applicant’s location. A web site is available to help participants evaluate the wind potential of their location.