COPAKE—The bulk of the two-and-a-half-hour July 9 Town Board meeting was focused on Hecate Energy’s proposal to site an industrial-sized, 60-megawatt solar facility with 200,000 solar panels on 500 acres within a 900-acre project area, near the intersection of State Route 23 and County Route 7, primarily south of Route 23 in the Copake hamlet of Craryville.
The project is called Shepherd’s Run Solar.
The meeting was conducted via Zoom and 46 people attended.
Hecate Energy Project Developer Alex Campbell introduced himself and gave a presentation in which he vowed to listen, to be the public’s conduit to the Department of Public Service and answer questions and concerns.
Mr. Campbell made it clear in a follow-up phone call that public engagement on the project does not stop until Hecate’s Article 10 application to the state is filed, reviewed, processed and a permit is “hopefully” issued. He said public engagement is very important in helping to define the project and will continue for years.
Public comments on the proposed project (information is posted on Hecate’s project website) can be submitted at www.shepherdsrunsolar.com/open-house, by email at or toll-free at telephone number 877-772-0822.
Questions and answers will be posted on the project website.
‘What’s the advantage to Copake?’
Supv. Jeanne Mettler
Town of Copake
Copake Deputy Supervisor/Councilmember Richard Wolf took Hecate to task for foregoing two promised open houses on the project prior to the company filing it’s documents with the Public Service Department. During the course of the meeting other types of public project discussions were suggested such as “mini in-person, backyard” gatherings, gatherings at large venues such as on the Taconic Hills football field or in the school’s performing arts center.
Mr. Campbell agreed that meetings in small social groups was a “great alternative” and he would think about how to do it along with a “more robust” in-person meeting in the fall if pandemic conditions allow and based on guidance from healthcare professionals.
At least 15 local residents spoke during the July meeting, asking questions about: the project’s effects on real estate values, the exact location of the solar panels, the dangers of possible lithium battery storage, why more people had not received notification postcards, the reasoning for the project size and location in a scenic rural area, visual impact and firefighting considerations, does the company stand to gain some incentive for getting the project done sooner rather than later? and who will all the electricity produced serve?
Copake Supervisor Jeanne Mettler asked, “What’s the advantage to Copake? Will my [electric] bill go down?
Mr. Campell told her her bill would not go down and the electricity produced would be enough to serve 15,000 homes and will flow into the grid, not specifically to Copake.
The Columbia Paper will revisit the Hecate project and meeting comments in a future story.