Contact: Sid Nathan
Vice President, External Affairs
New 1,200-megawatt buried renewables-transmission line will carry homegrown wind and solar energy from upstate, delivering that clean energy to NYC and reducing downstate’s dependence on fossil fuels
First-of-its-kind “Catskills Renewable Program” will advance New York State’s nation-leading climate goals and help drive post-pandemic economic recovery, generating $2 billion in economic development and 5,000+ local clean-energy jobs
Rise Light & Power CEO: “The Catskills Renewable Program represents our vision to achieve New York’s ambitious climate targets while creating thousands of good-paying jobs, cleaning up New York City’s energy grid and delivering significant economic, environmental and health benefits to communities across the state.”
Long Island City, New York – May 12, 2021 – Rise Light & Power, the owner-operator of New York City’s largest power generator, Ravenswood Generating Station, today announced its proposed Catskills Renewable Program – an innovative new clean energy solution to deliver homegrown renewable energy from upstate New York to New York City to help meet the city’s energy demand and New York State’s nation-leading climate goals.
The Catskills Renewable Program, offered by Rise Light & Power in response to a request-for-proposal from NYSERDA’s newly established Tier 4 REC program, would create a 1,200-megawatt submarine and underground renewables-transmission line that delivers clean, affordable wind and solar energy from across upstate to the downstate region. If approved by NYSERDA, Rise Light & Power will contract with leading renewable energy developers in upstate New York to build thousands of megawatts of new wind and solar energy, and it will build the Catskills Renewable Connector to deliver that clean energy to customers in New York City.
Collectively, this program will create more than 5,000 jobs for New Yorkers and generate more than $2 billion in economic impact.
Once all the projects are online, this program is expected to supply approximately 15 percent of New York City’s electricity needs, reducing reliance on out-of-state resources, shrinking the city’s carbon footprint and facilitating the state’s transition to clean energy. The Catskills Renewable Program is a key component of Rise Light & Power’s vision to modernize its Ravenswood Generating Station and position the facility to serve as a long-term hub for reliable, homegrown renewable energy.
“NYSERDA’s Tier 4 program is a once-in-a-generation opportunity to transform New York’s infrastructure,” said Joe Esteves and David Nanus, the Co-Heads of Private Equity at LS Power, owner of Rise Light & Power. “Our Catskills proposal is a transformative solution that will significantly reduce fossil fuel use and emissions in New York City, create good-paying jobs across upstate New York and demonstrate how a legacy power plant site can be transformed into a hub of clean energy.”
“Rise Light & Power is committed to transforming New York’s energy system and helping the state achieve its ambitious climate targets,” said Clint Plummer, Chief Executive Officer of Rise Light & Power. “For decades, we have supplied homes and businesses across New York City with reliable and affordable energy. Following Governor Cuomo’s ambitious initiatives to tackle the climate crisis, we are making major investments to create a clean energy future. The Catskills Renewable Connector represents our vision to achieve these goals while creating thousands of jobs, cleaning up New York City’s energy grid and delivering significant economic, environmental and health benefits to communities across the state.”
The Catskills Renewable Program is drawing high praise from the diverse mix of leading upstate renewable energy suppliers that will be supplying the proposed transmission line with 100 percent in-state renewable energy:
Michael Farrell, Director of Development at AES Clean Energy: “Success requires clear goals and strong partnerships. Governor Cuomo set a visionary sustainability goal with his 70×30 commitment. Today, we are proud to partner with Rise Light & Power to help further this vision. By harnessing renewable energy from projects across the state, the proposed Catskills Renewable Connector will provide a reliable stream of clean power for New York City, limit risk on the grid, and create jobs in New York’s communities. Together, we can accelerate the future of energy in New York.”
Noah Hyte, Executive Vice President of Development, Cypress Creek Renewables: “The Catskills Renewable Connector is a critical stride in fulfilling New York State’s ambitious climate agenda by increasing access to clean power. Through our partnership with Rise Light & Power, we will be able to develop 430 megawatts of low-cost solar power projects that will create jobs, generate new tax revenue, and contribute to upstate New York’s economy through workforce development, electricity rate discounts and community grant programs.”
Andy MacCallum, President of Liberty Renewables Inc: “Our number one focus is to connect people to New York’s clean energy future through community-scale wind projects. Rise’s proposal puts us on a path to do exactly that. Not only does it help achieve the state’s ambitious environmental vision, but Rise’s New York-focused renewable energy plan will create good-paying jobs and economic development across the state.”
Kevin Sheen, VP of Business Development at Terra-Gen: “As a leading renewable energy developer of wind and solar facilities across the country, we understand first-hand the challenges and opportunities on the renewable energy landscape. And that’s exactly why we are proud to partner with Rise Light & Power. They have smartly developed a portfolio of New York-based renewable energy projects – both limiting risk and creating the development, construction and operation jobs that families desperately need.”
The Catskills Renewable Connector will consist of approximately 115 miles of fully underwater and underground cables connecting the upstate transmission system in Greene County with the downstate region, connecting at Ravenswood Generating Station in Queens. Large portions of the line will traverse beneath the Hudson River, allowing the Connector to bypass major transmission constraints in the Hudson Valley in a responsible, reliable and affordable manner.
By contracting with a diverse group of leading renewable developers, Rise Light & Power will ensure that the Catskills Renewable Connector is powered by instate wind and solar energy, directly lowering the state’s carbon emissions by nearly 2 million tons in the first year alone – the equivalent of taking nearly 400,000 cars off the road. In the broader region, the Catskills Renewable Connector is projected to lower carbon emissions by 3 million tons.
The Catskills Renewable Connector offers the following unique advantages to help New York State and New York City meet their ambitious climate goals and lead the post-COVID economic recovery:
First, the project will reduce New York’s dependence on fossil fuels through a mix of clean energy capacity and renewable energy. Using a diverse set of capacity commitments with upstate renewable energy suppliers, the Catskills Renewable Connector will deliver clean energy when and where it’s needed most, any day of the year. As a result, it will allow New York to reduce its dependence on fossil fuels and provide reliable and dispatchable capacity. By 2030, the Catskills Renewable Connector is estimated to reduce New York State’s natural gas demand by 11 percent.
Second, the Catskills Renewable Connector will create an innovative new model for transforming aging energy infrastructure into hubs of clean energy. Rise Light & Power’s proposal is the only project submitted to NYSERDA that demonstrates how New York State can transform large, aging energy infrastructure in densely populated urban areas into modern hubs of reliable, resilient and renewable energy.
Third, Rise Light & Power has established a portfolio of New York-based wind and solar generators to supply the line with clean energy. Rise continues to mature the project by entering into contracts with renewable partners as well as engaging nearly every renewable developer in New York State for future partnerships. As a result of these partnerships, the project is estimated to increase the state’s wind energy generation by 15 percent by 2030 and its solar generation by 49 percent by 2030.
Fourth, the Catskills Renewable Connector will significantly reduce carbon emissions and greenhouse gases. By 2030, the project is estimated to lower CO2 emissions in New York State by 10 percent and by 15 percent in New York City. These reductions will improve air quality and health around the state, especially in underserved communities that have long suffered the worst consequences of pollution and environmental injustice. In 2030, the project is expected to reduce the cost of medical expenses in New York State by $72 million through reductions of sulfur dioxide, nitrogen oxide, ozone and fine particulate.
Fifth, Rise Light & Power has committed to a comprehensive community benefit and economic development plan. Centered on partnerships with community groups, academia, labor, business, and environmental justice organizations along the route, Rise has committed to expanding workforce development in disadvantaged communities, increasing public access to the waterfront in the Bronx; investing in small businesses in Hudson Valley; reaching PILOT and community benefit agreements in Greene County; and creating a new Climate Leadership Labor Training Center (CLLTC), among other exciting programs and strategic investments.
Rise Light & Power expects construction of the Catskills Renewable Connector to begin in 2023, with full operations by 2026.
The Catskills Renewable Connector is drawing praise from leading environmental justice, labor, business, and academic institutions from across New York City and New York State. In addition, a diverse group of community organizations and community leaders expressed interest from areas throughout the route of the Catskills Renewable Connector, including Queens, Bronx, Northern Manhattan, the Hudson Valley and Capital region:
Eddie Bautista, Executive Director of the New York City Environmental Justice Alliance: “NYSERDA’s Tier 4 program promises to help right many of the historic wrongs that hurt low-income and communities of color in New York for generations due to disproportionate exposure to fossil fuel emissions. It’s a win-win — higher environmental standards, lower levels of pollution, more jobs, and stronger local economies. However, to ensure these advantages, NYSERDA must commit to cultivating in-state renewable energy in partnership with companies committed to strengthening their communities. We believe Rise Light & Power’s Catskills Renewable Connector is the right project at the right time to transition NYC’s largest fossil fuel plant into a hub of clean energy.”
Jim Shillitto, President of Utility Workers of America Local 1-2: “The clean energy transition represents a real opportunity for New York labor, and NYSERDA must do what it can to ensure the Tier 4 program works in our favor. They can do this by greenlighting Rise Light & Power’s Catskills Renewable Project – one of the most pro-labor and promising renewable energy projects our state has seen in years. Local 1-2 stands ready to work with Rise and the entire team at Ravenswood Generation Station to spearhead this project and help create a better, cleaner future in New York.”
April Simpson, Community Advocate, Queensbridge Houses Resident Association: “I hope NYSERDA joins our residents in supporting Rise Light & Power’s Catskills Renewable Connector. After a year full of such loss and hardship, the Queensbridge community needs an opportunity for jobs and revitalization. The pandemic has also shown the need for stronger commitments to environmental justice. With a long track record of community engagement and support, Rise Light & Power is the only partner who can help us deliver these dreams. Our community believes the Ravenswood Generating Station can and must be adopted.”
Thomas J. Grech, President & CEO at the Queens Chamber of Commerce: “Our hometown of Queens needs the Catskills Renewable Connector if we’re to come back better and stronger from the COVID-19 pandemic. Rise Light & Power is offering a bold opportunity for economic development, jobs, innovation and inclusive growth around the borough, as well as cleaner and healthier communities. On behalf of our 1,300 members representing over 125,000 Queens based employees, we feel strongly that New York State must say yes to this proposal.”
Elizabeth Lusskin, President of the Long Island City Partnership: “After the devastation of the COVID-19 pandemic, Long Island City needs leaders with a bold vision for local economic development and job creation. Rise Light & Power’s Catskills Renewable Connector offers that vision. This project would help turn our neighborhood into New York’s center for renewable energy, bringing in much-needed investment and job opportunities and putting us on the path to long-term growth and vitality. This visionary proposal can be a major part of LIC’s renewable and economic progress.”
Ann Cotton Morris, NYCHA Resident Association President at Woodside Housing: “Rise Light & Power is one of our best and most reliable community partners. The company regularly offers us programming, sponsorships and support, including essential resources when our residents are most in need, such as food and PPE during the COVID-19 pandemic. We believe Rise is the best choice to deliver for the Queens community and continue moving us forward because they have a long track record of doing just that.”
Carol Wilkins, NYCHA Residential Association President at Ravenswood Housing: “As a born and raised member of the Ravenswood community, I can attest to the importance of this project and the many benefits it will bring. We have experienced the horrors of environmental injustice. We have lived under the shadows of the smokestacks. We now see the opportunity and hope offered by the Rise Light & Power’s Catskills Renewable Connector. We urge New York to move this project forward.”
Claudia Coger, NYCHA Resident Association President of Astoria Housing: “We urge Governor Cuomo and New York State to be on the side of NYCHA residents and approve this clean energy proposal. We have lived near the smokestacks for decades and have been waiting for visionary leadership to clean the facility. We proudly support Rise Light & Power’s plan to transform our local powerplant into a hub of clean energy.”
Bishop Mitchell G. Taylor, Co-Founder and CEO of Urban Upbound: “Low-income residents have been some of the hardest-hit victims of the COVID-19 pandemic, and it will take efforts from all of us to help them recover. In addition to higher rates of illness, the effects have included job loss, educational setbacks and deepened poverty. As a community organization that focuses on addressing social and economic barriers in our communities, we have dealt with these problems first-hand. Through jobs, community engagement and improved air quality, Rise Light & Power’s Catskills Renewable Connector would help improve the lives of our residents. We urge NYSERDA to accept this proposal.”
BRONX & NORTHERN MANHATTAN COMMUNITY
Lourdes Zapata, President & CEO at South Bronx Overall Economic Development Corporation (SOBRO): “With Rise Light & Power’s help, SoBro can recruit, train, and certify local workers for positions requiring OSHA 30 and can identify, pre-qualify, and prepare local subcontractors and suppliers for contracting opportunities. Together, we can ensure that this significant infrastructure project offers hyper-local benefits to the environmental justice communities along its route along with the broad regional benefits it promises for both upstate and downstate residents.”
Chauncy Young, Coordinator, Harlem River Working Group: “By providing resources to greenway and recreational space at the water’s edge, Rise Light & Power’s Catskills Renewable Connector can ensure that a significant infrastructure project benefitting the region will also localize those benefits in communities that have historically endured great hardship in the wake of past infrastructure projects.”
Alba Lucero Villa, Executive Director, Northern Manhattan Coalition of Immigrant Rights: “We strongly believe that for infrastructure projects to achieve their intended impact, they must be both environmentally and socially conscious. We are eager to be on the right side of history and begin our work with the Rise Light & Power’s team to address the meaningful employment and economic development opportunities that this project can produce for our communities.”
HUDSON VALLEY & CAPITAL REGION COMMUNITY
Mike Oates, President & CEO of the Hudson Valley Economic Development Corporation: “We are thrilled to have the expertise of the Rise Light & Power team on the HVEDC Board of Directors. Rise Light & Power is working hard to help bring New York’s climate goals to fruition and I applaud their work and dedication to the environment. We look forward to growing our partnership and working together to help bring clean energy and economic growth to the Hudson Valley and surrounding regions.”
About Rise Light & Power
Rise Light & Power is a Queens, New York based energy asset manager and developer. Its core asset, Long Island City’s Ravenswood Generation Station, is New York City’s largest power generating facility, which provides more than 20 percent of New York City’s generation capacity. Rise is also pursuing an exciting growth-oriented strategy, including modernization and resiliency upgrades at Ravenswood Generation Station, as well as new large-scale clean energy infrastructure to facilitate the renewable energy transition taking place in New York State and the region. Rise Light & Power is a wholly owned affiliate of LS Power. For more information, please visit www.riselight.com.
About LS Power
LS Power is a development, investment, and operating company focused on the North American power and energy infrastructure sector. Since its inception in 1990, LS Power has developed, constructed, managed or acquired more than 45,000 MW of power generation, including utility-scale solar, wind, hydro, natural gas-fired and battery energy storage projects. Additionally, it has developed over 660 miles of high voltage transmission. In New York, LS Power Grid New York supports the state’s energy infrastructure through its upcoming build-out of the nearly 100-mile Marcy to New Scotland transmission upgrade project. LS Power Grid New York was selected by the New York Independent System Operator as the most efficient and cost-effective solution in New York’s largest competitive transmission project to date. LS Power actively invests in businesses focused on renewable energy and fuels, as well as distributed energy resource platforms, such as CPower Energy Management and EVgo. Across its efforts, LS Power has raised in excess of $46 billion in debt and equity financing to support North American infrastructure. For more information, please visit http://www.lspower.com/.