Three years ago, solar giant Hecate Energy brought forth a proposal to build a massive solar farm on around 400 acres in the small hamlet of Craryville, NY. According to a report published by The Columbia Paper back in February, “The 40-megawatt, ground-mounted solar project which was to occupy about 400-acres of the 700-acre Rasweiler farm in Craryville was considerably larger than the 10-acres permitted for utility-scale projects under Copake’s then new law regulating solar installations.” Despite the Town Board’s ban on solar installations of more than 10 acres in 2017, the solar firm appears to be pushing forward.

In 2011, Governor Andrew Cuomo signed into law Chapter 388 enacting Article 10 of the Public Service Law which provides for “the siting review of new and repowered or modified major electric generating facilities in New York State by the Board on Electric Generation Siting and the Environment (Siting Board) in a unified proceeding instead of requiring a developer or owner of such a facility to apply for numerous state and local permits.” Currently, 900 acres in the hamlet of Craryville and the neighboring town of Hillsdale as well as Copake Lake are part of Hecate Energy’s proposed plan that includes the installation of 200,000 solar panels. Some local sources say the company is now pressuring State officials to ignore the town’s prohibition and potentially negative impacts on local viewsheds, wildlife, farmland, real estate values and economy. According to the same February report from The Columbia Paper, the firm has been “studying the landscape to optimize solar panel placement and minimize visual impacts with setbacks, not taking down trees, maintaining views of mountains, forests and wetlands.”

An attorney representing the Town of Copake will give a presentation on the proposed project as part of the virtual Town Board meeting that will be conducted via Zoom on Thursday, July 30. The presentation will be followed by a Q&A session and an opportunity for the public to make comments.

To view the Town Board Meeting click here 

To read the full article from The Columbia Paper click here