By Kellen M. Quigley
A recent push for renewable energies in New York state has lead to the possibility of constructing a solar field that would be partially located in the town of Concord.
At its last regular meeting, the Concord Town Board heard a presentation from Ryan Storke, a renewable energy developer from Storke, LLC, concerning the proposed Genesee Road Solar Energy Center Project.
The project would encompass about 3,000 acres of land spread across portions of both Concord and the town of Sardinia. Storke said they would build on about 2,600 acres, which would include roads, set back requirements and meeting requirements of the landowners.
Storke said although this EDF Energy project is in the early stages of planning, he wanted to talk with the board early to get the town familiar with the project.
According to Storke, EDF is a market leading independent power producer and service provider based in San Diego that owns about 2,000 megawatts of projects in New York state that are either in development or under construction.
“That’s what we’re qualifying under right now, working with NYSERDA to have this built,” he said.
Storke said the project build zone is anticipated for a five-mile radius from the interconnection point to the powerlines at Genesee Road in Sardinia. He said road usage and construction agreements will be used for the project, and all the trucks shipping equipment are standard weight.
Energy storage is not a part of the project currently, but may be in the future. For the layout of the project, Storke said it wouldn’t be like the solar farms of old where the ground would be clear cut.
“Solar projects are built today with sheep and bees and replanting the natural habitat, and we don’t black tar anything between the arays,” he said. “It’s not just fenced off and never touched again.”
Storke said there would be some local benefits to the project, such as about 300 prevailing wage jobs during the construction. He said projects are normally sourced locally for materials.
The expectation for construction and build is for 2023 and 2024. He said the state review process usually takes two years.
Supervisor Clyde Drake had a question about the properties being contiguous or if that was an issue for EDF. He said it’s not an issue and they would get purchase easements from the property owners.
Another benefit to the project would be revenue for the local municipalities who would decide what the split would be. Because more of the project would be based in Sardinia, the town of Concord would likely get less than half of the share for the towns.
An open house meeting has been scheduled for Aug. 7 at the East Concord Fire Hall, and all Sardinia and Concord residents are invited to attend. Storke said the fire hall would be open all day for people to stop by and ask questions.
IN OTHER BUSINESS, Dog Control Officer Carolyn Robinson said that social media is being used more often now to help get dogs back to their owners, which is good for the people. But she said then there is no opportunity for the town to make sure the dog has a license and rabies shot. Robinson said she has concerns about rabies after two incidents of rabid racoons in the town.
Highway Superintendent Dennis Dains said the two has an additional $10,500 for road repair through CHIPS after the state did put the funds back into the budget for Extreme Winter Recovery funding. He said a project for work on Route 39 through Spooners Gulf is expected to begin in August.
After tabling it during the last meeting, the board voted to approve roofing permits in the town for buildings that are 144 square feet or larger. Although much discussion was had over whether a fee should be attached to the roofing permit, the board voted 4-1 to include a $50 fee.