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State official reviewing Cayuga County solar farm application will tour site

  • / Updated:
  • Staff Report 

One of three state administrative law judges overseeing the application for a solar farm in northern Cayuga County will tour the site Thursday.

Three judge panel will make recommendation to siting board

The Citizen reports Gregg Sayre will meet with officials from Next Era energy, town of Conquest officials, and concerned citizens to tour the site of a proposed 200-megawatt solar farm.

Sayre is one of three administrative law judges who will review the application and make a recommendation to the state Board on Electric Generation Siting and the Environment, which will make the final decision on whether to green-light the project.

If approved, Garnet Energy Center would be one of the most extensive solar facilities in New York, taking up 10% of the land area in the town. Cayuga County Legislature Chair David Gould wrote to the siting board in June, after the administrative law judges said their busy schedules might not allow an in-person visit to the site.

Garnet ProjectArea 8×11 2021-01-06 by Ted Baker on Scribd

Related: State review board set to hold hearing on solar farm planned for Conquest this week

Only one of two local members has been named to board

The siting board is supposed to include two ad-hoc members from the community where a project is planned, but only one such member has been named for the Garnet Energy project. Resident Ed Cook was named to the panel by the state Senate Majority Leader. The Assembly Speaker is supposed to name the other ad-hoc member. The responsibility to do so now falls to Governor Kathy Hochul. If she doesn’t name a second ad-hoc member, the panel can operate with only one. That has opponents of the project upset.

Related: State officials raise concerns about impact of Conquest solar farm project