In September 2004, The New York State Public Service Commission (PSC) adopted a renewable energy portfolio standard that requires 25 percent of the state’s electricity to be supplied from renewable energy sources by 2013. The NY RPS will require about 3,700 megawatts (MW) of new renewable fueled electricity projects to come on-line between 2006 and 2013.
The new RPS will increase the state’s reliance on renewable energy to 25 percent from the current level of 19.3 percent with minimal impacts on ratepayers. In fact, one projection has ratepayer costs decreasing over the life of the program.
A unique and innovative aspect of New York’s RPS is that it reserves a small portion of the 25 percent requirement to be "customer-sited" (a.k.a. behind-the-meter generation). Cutomer sited generation includes fuel cells, photovoltaics, and wind resources (under 300 kW). Problematic aspects of their customer-sited provisions in terms of the fuel cell eligibility is that the rules don’t appear to require the hydrogen for the fuel cells to be derived from renewable resources.
The NY PSC disqualified municipal solid waste incineration technology from meeting the RPS. In the order the PSC noted, "The practice of mass incineration of municipal solid waste (MSW) that typifies New York’s existing waste-to-energy facilities results in emissions of mercury and other heavy metals at levels that the Commission finds troubling."