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Coming to terms: Adirondack Park Agency must clarify stance on development  

The state’s Clean Energy Standard “ensures that 50 percent of New York state’s electricity will come from renewables such as solar, wind and hydro by 2030 and provides support for safely operating upstate nuclear plants,” according to information from the State Energy Research and Development Authority. This mandate has apparently led representatives of various state agencies to adopt a more lenient attitude toward wind and solar development in Northern New York. The concern among many in the north country is that these projects are being promoted in this part of the state to meet the energy demands of people in the southern section of New York. Is the APA following suit?

Credit:  Watertown Daily Times | December 15, 2018 | www.watertowndailytimes.com ~~

A document under consideration by the Adirondack Park Agency has raised concerns about the potential for wind and solar development in the region.

The APA accepted public comments on its proposed Policy on Renewable Energy Production and Energy Supply. Officials will now review statements provided while working on the final draft.

“The purpose of the policy is to provide guidance for the review and approval of renewable energy projects inside the Adirondack Park with regards to the Adirondack Park Agency Act, the Freshwater Wetlands Act and the Wild, Scenic and Recreational Rivers Act,” according to a news release issued Nov. 15 by the APA. “The policy is envisioned to advance renewable energy sources, promote energy conservation efforts and expand public awareness to mitigate the negative effects of fossil fuels and climate change. Wise use of energy resources and the integration of renewable energy resources [offer] opportunities at a state and park level to reduce global atmospheric carbon levels and slow climate change.”

The Adirondack Council submitted a letter to the APA dated Dec. 4 outlining its suggestions to improve the draft policy.

“The threat of climate change to the air, water and health of the world class Adirondack Park, including natural and human communities, is real and immediate. At a national and global level, there has until recently been strong forward momentum with addressing greenhouse gas emissions and climate change,” according to the letter. “Recent policy reversals coming from Washington, however, have put much of this at risk. Given this context, the development of this policy is timely and necessary to ensuring a sustainable and resilient Adirondack Park.

“The Adirondack Park Agency can and should adopt a Policy on Renewable Energy Production and Energy Supply. While the council applauds the agency’s development of this policy, the proposed version needs to be improved to properly reflect the governor’s and the state’s aggressive goals to be a national leader. In particular, the policy needs to be improved to clarify how, and based on what criteria, renewable energy projects will be evaluated by the APA. This evaluation needs to use the most current science to avoid negative impacts at both a site specific and park wide landscape scale to determine the appropriateness of each project.”

The state’s Clean Energy Standard “ensures that 50 percent of New York state’s electricity will come from renewables such as solar, wind and hydro by 2030 and provides support for safely operating upstate nuclear plants,” according to information from the State Energy Research and Development Authority. This mandate has apparently led representatives of various state agencies to adopt a more lenient attitude toward wind and solar development in Northern New York.

The concern among many in the north country is that these projects are being promoted in this part of the state to meet the energy demands of people in the southern section of New York. Is the APA following suit?

John Sheehan, director of communications for the Adirondack Council, said information discussed at a clean energy conference held by the Adirondack North Country Association in Glens Falls in October revealed that the Adirondack Park is a net exporter of renewable energy. So why would further wind or solar developments there be necessary?

“The agency can and should improve the draft provided,” the council’s letter read. “Projects that are consistent with current laws and regulations, are guided by science, that protect intact forests, that promote sustainable and resilient communities, and that expand carbon sequestration and the resiliency of natural and human communities will be key to making New York and the Adirondacks a world leader in the fight against climate change.”

We agree with the council’s assessment that the APA should adopt a policy regarding the appropriate use of renewable energy. But the draft is vague in key parts, and the APA should seriously consider following the council’s suggestions for enhancing it.

Source:  Watertown Daily Times | December 15, 2018 | www.watertowndailytimes.com

This article is the work of the source indicated. Any opinions expressed in it are not necessarily those of National Wind Watch.

The copyright of this article resides with the author or publisher indicated. As part of its noncommercial effort to present the environmental, social, scientific, and economic issues of large-scale wind power development to a global audience seeking such information, National Wind Watch endeavors to observe “fair use” as provided for in section 107 of U.S. Copyright Law and similar “fair dealing” provisions of the copyright laws of other nations. Send requests to excerpt, general inquiries, and comments to query/wind-watch.org.

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