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Cuomo’s renewables pledge to woo $1bn in private support

The $360m commitment is part of New York’s goal to generate 50% of its energy from renewables by 2030.

New York Governor Andrew Cuomo has committed $360 million to leverage close to $1 billion from private investors that will build 11 large-scale renewable energy projects throughout the state.

Cuomo announced the commitment during his State of the State address on Wednesday as part of his “Reforming the Energy Vision” initiative to generate 50 percent of New York's energy needs with renewables by 2030.

The projects span the technology spectrum, including wind, solar, energy storage and hydroelectric. Two wind farms – 105.8MW and 101.2MW – are planned to be built in upstate New York, as well as a 50MW solar facility in central New York. Upgrades are also planned for seven hydroelectric stations and a 1.05MW fuel cell will be installed at a pharmaceutical plant.

The weighted average cost of electricity from the renewables projects will be $24.2 per MWh, according to a statement.

To support Cuomo's clean energy initiative, New York's Public Service Commission approved the Clean Energy Standard mandate in August that will enforce the 50 percent generation by 2030. The standard is planned to be rolled out in several phases. Utilities and power suppliers are required to generate 26.31 percent of the state's total electricity by 2017 and 30.54 percent by 2021.

Last January, Cuomo launched the 10-year, $5 billion Clean Energy Fund to encourage private-sector investments.

Offshore wind is an emerging possibility to help transform New York's energy production. In an auction last month, Norwegian oil giant Statoil won the rights to develop offshore wind in an area about 79,350 acres off the coast of Long Island. Statoil said the area is large enough to build turbines that can generate a combined 1GW, but the project's first phase will likely only install enough to generate 400MW to 600MW.