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State officials raise concerns about impact of Conquest solar farm project

Scientists with the state Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) and state Department of Agriculture and Markets have submitted testimony that identifies potential problems with the solar farm proposed for Cayuga County.

The testimony was submitted to the state Board on Electric Generation Siting and the Environment on March 10, according to The Citizen. The board will determine whether the project application from NextEra Energy Resources is accepted.

The Florida-based company plans to build a 1,900-acre solar farm in the town of Conquest called the Garnet Energy Center. If approved, would be one of the largest solar farms in the state.


In his testimony, Michael Saviola, an associate environmental analyst with the state Department of Agriculture and Markets, said not enough was done to reduce the acreage of the project as a means to limit affected farmland.

Two biologists with the state DEC- Matthew Walter and Jean Foley- stated concerns about the solar farm’s potential impact on local wetlands. They say NextEra’s application is currently inadequate in addressing the potential impact.


In contrast, a state DEC wildlife expert testified that NextEra’s application complies with standards to protect endangered species in the area. Additionally, state Department of Public Service officials concluded that NextEra’s proposal has made sufficient revisions to their application to address prior concerns.

The special meeting of the Conquest Planning Board will be held on Tuesday, March 29 amid ongoing state review. There will be two sessions: One from 3 to 5 p.m. and one from 6 to 8 p.m. at the Conquest Municipal Building. Residents can express their concerns directly to the project owner at these sessions.

Questions can be sent to [email protected]



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