Having yet to see any progress or revenue from a solar energy company that LIPA selected in December 2014 to operate at Riverhead Town’s Enterprise Park at Calverton, the Town Board held off last Thursday on awarding additional contracts for similar projects.
Six long years ago, this Town Board declared the development of EPCAL to be “priority number one.” Six years later, we don’t have a completed subdivision at EPCAL or even an application before the state Department of Environmental Conservation.
New requirements for solar farms could be coming to Riverhead Town.
Solar panels being constructed on the east side of Edwards Avenue. (Credit: Barbaraellen Koch)
Foreseeing the megawatts of solar energy to come in the area, PSEG Long Island and the Long Island Power Authority are interested in building an electrical substation at the town-owned Enterprise Park at Calverton.
PSEG Long Island spokesman Jeffrey Weir confirmed in an interview that the company is interested in the EPCAL site, and according to Councilman George Gabrielsen, officials from PSEG/LIPA have asked permission to go on the site and take soil samples — something the town is willing to let them do.
The Riverhead Town Board discussed a plan to double the size of a proposed energy park at the Enterprise Park at Calverton and to prepare a new request for proposals from energy companies during Thursday’s work session.
The board has already designated a 90-acre site at the southwest portion of the property, inside the inactive western runway, for an energy park that would attract solar and other types of energy providers and the Long Island Power Authority has selected Hecate Energy to build a solar farm at EPCAL. LIPA is negotiating a power purchase agreement with Hecate Energy.
Councilman George Gabrielsen said there has been tremendous interest from other solar and energy companies to build at EPCAL, which is why the town is considering adding an additional 94 acres to the west of the western runway.
The town also can lease about 51 acres on the western runway for solar projects, he said.
Board members also discussed filling two vacancies on the Industrial Development Agency and whether the Town Board should issue a resolution urging the IDA to only give tax abatements at EPCAL and downtown.
To read a recap of News-Review reporter Tim Gannon’s live blog of the meeting, click below.
Live Blog Riverhead Town Board work session 04-02-2015
The Riverhead Town Board held a public hearing Tuesday that ran for almost three hours.
The subject was a proposal to allow the town highway department to plow snow on certain private roads, as it has done in the past, even though state law prohibits it. (more…)
Credit: Patrick W. Moore
One concerned grandmother went before the school board Tuesday night, railing against what she called a “secretive” decision to install a solar panel plant on a sod farm across the street from the district middle school.
Michelle Sterling of Shoreham said she was disgusted by the Town of Brookhaven, which she claimed approved the sod farm solar plant without informing residents or the district.
Residents have complained to other boards in recent months: namely Brookhaven Town Board and Brookhaven Planning Board. The latter unanimously approved plans for the project last month, despite much opposition from neighbors, according to Newsday.
“We went by the codes,” Planning Board Chairman Vincent E. Pascale told the paper. “We did all our checking. We took facts from factual sources.
Board president William McGrath said last week that the Shoreham-Wading River Board of Education was also concerned by the circumstances around the approval of the installation and said the district was “looking into it.”
Ms. Sterling went on to claim that the solar panels would cast radiation onto the district’s students and said “studies” couldn’t prove that the solar panels wouldn’t cause cancer.
“Our children are certainly not going to be the guinea pigs to find out,” she said. The board didn’t comment on those claims.
This sod farm on the east side of Edwards Avenue, just north of the railroad, may host a 38-acre solar energy farm. (Credit: Tim Gannon)
The Riverhead Town Planning Board approved a preliminary site plan at its meeting last Thursday proposing a solar farm with roughly 30,000 panels on an area of Calverton farmland. (more…)