Barriers to Utility-Scale Wind Development in New York State

Urban Planning Thesis

Isabelle Hazlewood

Elliott Sclar, advisor

New York State has the potential to cultivate 52% of its current electric needs from wind power. However, harnessing the state’s rich wind resources is only possible if strong renewable energy policies are in place. This thesis explored New York’s energy policies through the experience of wind developers working in the state. It used information obtained through interviews with wind developers to argue that New York’s centralized regulatory framework for siting and connecting electric facilities and purchasing of renewable energy attributes may not be ideal for attracting wind development. It concluded that in order for New York to realize its wind potential the state must extend and expand its Renewable Portfolio Standard and introduce greater flexibility into its regulatory framework. Without taking these steps to foster a political and economic environment favorable to the wind industry, wind development in the state will stagnate.