Library filed under Taxes & Subsidies from New York
WATERTOWN — County economic development officials are preparing for a potential review of Apex Clean Energy’s payment-in-lieu-of-taxes application by the Jefferson County Industrial Development Agency.
Plus, when the new subsidies are combined with existing federal cash, the amount in subsidies NextEra and Invenergy will be collecting will exceed the prevailing wholesale price of electricity in the state by nearly $13 per megawatt-hour.
While nuclear power is left to sink or swim in New England's competitive power market, New York last week approved a clean energy standard that calls for 50 percent renewables by 2030 and financial subsidies to keep three Upstate nuclear power plants in business.
The agreement calls for the towns to share payments of $4,000 per megawatt per year — approximately $310,000 — with Franklin County and the Chateaugay Central School District.
The county Legislature passed a resolution saying any alternative energy sources larger than 25 megawatts won't receive any tax breaks from the county. Chairman Scott Gray says the benefits to the community just aren't there.
He says Apex Clean Energy wants a 75 percent tax break for its proposed project on Galloo Island in Hounsfield. Now, county lawmakers are on the verge of a policy that says no tax deals at all for Apex or any other big wind or solar developer.
The proposal by the state Department of Public Service stipulates Exelon's 597-MW Ginna reactor in Ontario, New York, and the 640-MW Nine Mile Point-1 and 1,205-MW Nine Mile Point-2 units in Oswego, as well as Entergy's 849-MW FitzPatrick in Oswego, would be eligible to receive payments via a zero-emissions credit, or ZEC, from state electricity retailers.
The Somerset Town Board decided this week to take advantage of a provision in state law that allows local governments to prevent property tax exemptions for wind power projects.
"Our town, school and county have a decidedly mixed experience with PILOTs, as have many across the state,” resident Randy Atwater said. “We know that our community does not want this project, but if we lose the battle and the project proceeds, I'd prefer the project be taxed on the full value of the installation.”
The Franklin County Industrial Development Agency Board of Directors on Monday took the next step toward making the Jericho Rise wind farm project a reality.
“The tax exemption made available by Section 487 of the Real Property Tax Law shall not be applicable within the boundaries of the Chateaugay Central School District with respect to any solar or wind energy system constructed subsequent to the date of this resolution,” the board resolution states.
Scott Gray chairs the Jefferson County Legislature says the county will not give tax deals to any wind projects in the county. "We look at it and say what are the benefits that it's bringing and in this case many people don't believe there is any benefit." He says wind projects don't bring jobs to the area.
The Madison Wind Farm, town of Madison, county of Madison, has told town and county officials that come Jan. 1, when its 15-year payment-in-lieu-of-tax agreement expires, it simply won’t be able to pay any more than it has over the past 15 years. That princely sum? A paltry $60,000 a year split between the school district and the town. The county generously agreed to forgo any payments, figuring it would get its reward when the PILOT was done.
Enough is enough. Wind advocates have claimed for decades they wouldn’t need handouts within a few more years – claims that have proven wrong time and again. Wind’s recent history illustrates this reality. When the PTC is active – aka, when the tax spigot is open – new wind installations soar. When it’s temporarily expired and no more tax dollars are available, installations plummet.
When tax breaks for wind projects expire, will municipalities receive full property taxes to which they’re entitled? That’s a murky question that will have to be resolved soon for a seven-turbine, 11.5-megawatt wind project in Madison County, which benefited from a 15-year payment-in-lieu-of-taxes agreement that will end in 2016. ...The company (EDP Renewables) has said it can’t afford more than the $60,000 per year it paid under the PILOT agreement, Mr. Harris said.
It appears wind projects will be scrapped from a controversial section on renewable energy in a draft version of a Uniform Tax Exemption Policy being developed by the Jefferson County Industrial Development Agency. Taxing jurisdictions, as a result, would continue to vote on tax breaks for wind projects considered by the agency.
IDA board member Scott A. Gray, a county legislator representing District 13 who is a member of the IDA board of directors, said he believes the IDA’s attempt to exclude taxing jurisdictions from the PILOT approval process for renewable energy projects was motivated directly by the Galloo Island wind project. He contended the move is designed to ensure that the county Board of Legislators doesn’t have the chance to reject a proposed PILOT for the project.
The Somerset Town Board recently sent a survey to residents regarding whether or not Apex, a multi-billion-dollar, out-of-state limited liability corporation, should be allowed to build a sprawling, 570-foot-tall industrial wind factory amongst the homes of those living in Somerset and Yates.
The Clean Energy Fund is one of Cuomo's signature energy initiatives, a 10-year, $5 billion plan funded by surcharges on electric bills. The program would replace current programs like the System Benefits Charge, the Energy Efficiency Portfolio Standard, and the Renewable Portfolio Standard, all of which are to expire this year.
The production tax credits for renewable energy projects expired at the end of 2013 and haven't yet been renewed. The delay is causing more renewable energy developers to focus on international projects.