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New York streamlines permitting
1 May 2009
New York state, which recently surpassed the 1000 MW mark for wind power, is expected to shift its permitting for wind and other power plants from the city and county level back to a state level siting board, where it had been prior to 2002. The wind industry has had to cope with a patchwork of different permitting regimes throughout the state, which has slowed development. One-stop permitting and siting could make all the difference to a number of wind projects in the wings that are looking to access a short-term investment tax credit (ITC) for wind included in the federal government's economic stimulus package, says Carol Murphy of the Alliance for Clean Energy New York. They have a two-year window in which to act. The ITC offsets either 30% of the capital cost of a wind plant against taxes or offers a direct equivalent grant for wind plants put online in 2009 and 2010. Central authority may also prove a better regulatory model. The variety of permitting jurisdictions, often in towns and counties with no experience with wind power, has been widely cited to be a contributing factor to allegations last year in New York of improper dealings between the wind industry and local authorities (Windpower Monthly, September 2008). An investigation by the state Attorney General Andrew Cuomo's office did not lead to any prosecutions, but a new Wind Industry Ethics Code was established for the state.
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