Assemblymember Didi Barrett and Senator Michelle Hinchey’s Bill to Help Maximize the Benefits of New York’s Renewable Energy Projects Passes

Assemblymember Didi Barrett (D-Dutchess/Columbia) and Senator Michelle Hinchey (D- District 41) announced that the Smart Integrated Tools for Energy Development (SITED) Act has passed in both the state Assembly and Senate (A.2888-A/S.2956-A). The bill requires New York State to develop a Clean Energy Mapping Tool to allow communities to identify the lands best suited for renewable energy siting and designate preferred sites on the map for renewable energy developers to search. The bill also provides for educational programs to help communities better understand host community benefits and to identify energy production sites with minimal negative environmental and community impacts.

“The challenges of balancing the need for more renewable energy, preserving farmland for food production, and ensuring the economic viability of our local communities have been playing out over the last several years across the state. While some municipalities have welcomed solar projects and have developers who work cooperatively with the host community, it is clear that other communities have had the opposite experience,” said Assemblymember Didi Barrett. “There are, in fact, developers who have no commitment to the host community and intend to quickly flip their solar sites, often selling to out of state and overseas businesses, leaving communities with no voice and no safeguards. The SITED Act fosters a collaborative and mutually beneficial approach so communities are provided the knowledge, tools, and resources to effectively communicate their wants and needs to developers to maximize benefits that hosting a renewable energy project can offer while minimizing negative impacts.”

“New York needs more renewable energy and prime farmland reserved for growing our food supply — both goals are pivotal in our fight against the Climate Crisis, and our communities need to be active participants in guiding their effective implementation, which is exactly what the SITED Act will help achieve,” said Senator Michelle Hinchey. “At current levels, large-scale solar development is overtaking farmland by the day because developers don’t have the tools to holistically consider local impacts when siting projects. The SITED Act is one of several actions we can take to provide the knowledge base and community input needed to identify the local lands best suited for renewable energy siting in a way that will help New York meet CLCPA goals while preserving viable food-growing farmland. I’m proud that our bill passed both the Senate and Assembly this session and look forward to the Governor signing it into law.”

"Scenic Hudson thanks Assemblymember Barrett and Senator Hinchey, sponsors of the SITED Act, for their leadership, and the legislature as a whole for passing this important bill. This legislation supports local governments by equipping them with information and resources they need to better understand opportunities and impacts associated with the siting of renewable energy systems,” said Audrey Friedrichsen, Director of Environmental Advocacy and Legal Affairs. “We urge the Governor to sign this bill into law.”

The SITED Act now awaits final action by the governor.