Senate Okays Article X Power Plant Bill

James L. Seward

June 01, 2007

The New York State Senate has approved legislation (S.5908), sponsored by Senator James Wright (R-C-I, Watertown), that would reauthorize the state’s Article X law that applies to the siting of major electric generating facilities to help meet the demand for power by residents and businesses in New York State. The law expired on January 1, 2003.

"This is one way we can knock down the argument that downstate needs the NYRI transmission line," Senator James L. Seward said. "With a revived Article X in place, there's no reason why we can't make the argument that downstate can provide for its own needs through generation closer to their need rather than ripping off upstate electricity."

"Neighboring states are far outpacing New York in terms of building new power generation," Senator Wright, chairman of the Senate Committee on Energy and Telecommunications, said. "Reauthorizing this law is important for building new, cleaner, more efficient generating plants within New York’s borders that will allow residents to benefit from cheaper power and better economic opportunities, and ultimately improve our environment. It will also mean thousands of construction jobs over the next several years and more efficient electricity for employers."

"It is critically important that New York has enough electric generating capacity to meet the needs of residents and businesses," Senate Majority Leader Joseph L. Bruno said. "With warmer summers, we continue to set new records for power usage, creating a demand that is very difficult to meet. We need to reauthorize this process to send a signal that New York needs more power generation and that we encourage financial investment in new, clean power generating plants that would result in more competition and lower rates."

Senator Bruno said the senate's power plan siting bill would be submitted to public conference committee negotiations with the assembly to reconcile differences between bills passed by the two houses.

Article X of the Public Service Law and its regulations establish a framework for the application, review, and approval process for any entity that seeks to construct and operate an electric generating facility with a capacity of 80 megawatts (mw) or more in New York State.

The article sets forth certain requirements that an applicant must meet in order to obtain a certificate of environmental compatibility and public need, which is required before construction of such a facility may begin.

Construction of new power plants, in addition to enhancing the overall reliability of the state's electric system, may also have a net positive effect on the environment.

"New, state-of-the-art power plants are more efficient than older, dirtier plants. When you replace older plants with new, clean burning facilities, you not only enhance the overall reliability of the state's electric system, but it has a positive effect upon the environment," Senator Bruno said.

The senate's Article X siting bill is supported by the Energy Association of New York State, which said that the bill improves on the expired law and "will actually work to attract the capital and build the generation infrastructure that is even more critically needed now than when the bill was first crafted."

The bill was sent to the assembly.