Flint Mine Solar Project
The Flint Mine Solar project is a 100MW-AC solar photovoltaic (PV) facility being developed at the southern end of the Town of Coxsackie and the northern section of the Town of Athens, New York by affiliates of Hudson Energy Development and Amber Infrastructure.Facility Description
The proposed 100MW-AC Facility will provide up to approximately 175,000 MW hrs. in renewable energy produced from the sun, an amount roughly equivalent to the average annual electricity needs of the 21,000 homes in Greene Count. The Facility will include PV modules, electrical storage devices, inverters to convert direct current electricity generated by the Facility to alternating current electricity that can be delivered to the New York State electric grid, as well as electrical collection lines, access roads, and temporary construction staging and storage areas. The Facility will connect to the electric grid via a switchyard to be constructed by Flint Mine in the Town of Coxsackie in accordance with National Grid’s specifications and other regulations and standards.Public Involvement Program (PIP)
The Public Involvement Program (PIP) Plan for the Flint Mine Solar introduces the project to the local community, stakeholders and other interested parties; describes the Article 10 process; outlines future activities related to sharing project information; and establishes how the public can participate in the stakeholder process by asking questions and providing comments. The Flint Mine Solar PIP Plan can be found here.
Flint Mine Solar held its first Project Open House on Wednesday, May 30, 2018, at Pegasus Restaurant in Coxsackie. Two sessions were held, and each included a presentation on the proposed Project, as well as a poster reception and opportunities for the public to meet a 15-member project development team, ask questions, and identify areas of interest to the community.
The sessions were well-attended, with over 110 individuals in attendance, not including the Flint Mine Project Team. Participants were able to view posters with information on topics such as environmental impact assessments, project schedule, construction methods; to watch a video simulation showing potential visibility of the project from major thoroughfares in the community; to make written or oral comments at the session, or to receive instructions on filing comments on DMM in the future; and to provide their contact information for future outreach efforts.
Further information on the May 30th Open House, including copies of the poster boards, presentation, invitation list and preliminary project maps valid as of May 30th were filed with the Siting Board on June 22nd, 2018 and can be found at the above link.
Flint Mine Solar held its second Project Open House on Thursday November 8th, 2018, also at Pegasus Restaurant in Coxsackie. On this occasion three presentations were made on the proposed Project (at 12.30pm, 4pm and at 6.30pm). Like with the first Open House, there was a poster reception and opportunities for the public to meet eleven members of the project development team, ask questions, and identify areas of interest to the community.
The first members of the public came at 11.45 am and there was constant activity until after 8pm. About 90 individuals were in attendance, not including the Flint Mine Project Team, with the vast majority being residents of Athens and Coxsackie. Participants were again able to view posters on environmental impact assessments, project schedule and construction methods; to make comments or ask questions at the conclusion of the three presentations; to receive instructions on filing comments on DMM in the future; to express interest in future employment or business opportunities or provide written comments, and to share their contact information for future outreach efforts.
Further materials from the November 8th Open House, including copies of the poster boards, presentation and preliminary project maps have been made available. These project maps mirrored those in the PSS (see below) and are valid as of November 8th, 2018 (due to the nature of the development and permitting process, these maps are subject to change until the Facility is constructed. The Second Open House Materials were filed with the Siting Board on November 16th, 2018 and can be found here.
As is further detailed in the PIP Plan, the sponsors of the Flint Mine Solar project have endeavored to find a relatively concealed project location, where the low-profile solar electric generating plant will be largely hidden from view from most nearby residential properties, as well as from US Highway 9W, Schoharie Turnpike and the other major thoroughfares in the project area. The sponsors will implement a mitigation plan to minimize impacts on local archaeological resources and wildlife habitats that may exist on some of the former farm fields that are proposed to host this solar photovoltaic project.Preliminary Scoping Statement (PSS)
On or shortly after November 2, 2018 Flint Mine will file a Preliminary Scoping Statement (“PSS”) to gather input from the public and interested agencies on the scope and methodology of studies to be conducted in support of a future Article 10 Application. This filing of the PSS will start a 21-day public comment period on the scope and methodology of the studies proposed.
The PSS filing marks the beginning of a formal public scoping process. The PSS document will, among other things, describe and identify: the environmental setting in the area where the Facility is proposed, the potential environmental and community impacts from construction and operation of the Facility, and anticipated benefits of the Facility on the environment and local community, as well as on the State’s achievement of its renewable energy generation goals.
The PSS will identify and describe the environmental studies Flint Mine Solar has commenced or plans to conduct during the Article 10 process to assess potential impacts to land uses in the Facility area; public health and safety; ecological resources, protected species and habitats, and water resources; communications, transportation, and utilities; cultural, historical and recreational resources; visual impacts and screening; sound; and impacts on the statewide electrical system, among others.
In addition to the above, the PSS will outline potential measures to minimize environmental impacts from the Facility, as well as reasonable alternatives, other required permits/authorizations, and other relevant information to be provided in the Article 10 Application.
Within 21 days after filing of the PSS (unless otherwise extended), any person, agency or municipality may submit comments on the PSS by serving such comments on the Applicant and filing a copy with the Secretary of the Department of Public Service at the addresses provided below. The Applicant will prepare a summary of the material comments and its reply to those comments within 21 days after the closing of the comment period.
The scoping process is overseen and mediated by a Hearing Examiner. The Hearing Examiner will schedule a pre-application meeting, which will commence the stipulations negotiation process and will allow for the discussion and award of intervenor funding.
To facilitate participation by local municipalities and community groups, Flint Mine Solar will provide $35,000 toward an intervenor fund, which is disbursed by the Hearing Examiners to groups seeking assistance with expenses associated with their participation in the Article 10 process during the pre-application review phase. By law, at least fifty percent of these intervenor funds are reserved for impacted municipalities. Once the PSS is filed, the Hearing Examiners will issue a notice that such intervenor funds are available, will describe the kinds of expenditures which are eligible for receipt of those monies, and will provide instructions and a schedule for interested groups to ap ply for pre-application intervenor funds.Article 10 Application
Later in the Article 10 process, when the formal Article 10 Application is submitted, additional application-phase intervenor funding will be made available to facilitate municipal and party participation in the Application and Hearing phase. The Application is expected to be filed in the Spring of 2019.Interaction with Public Policy
On March 9, 2018 Governor Andrew Cuomo announced the latest round of solar and wind energy awards under the NYS Clean Energy Standard, which includes the Flint Mine Solar project. Together these projects: "represent a significant step in advancing the Governor's [plan] to obtain 50 percent of New York's electricity from renewable energy sources by 2030. Award recipients were chosen from a pool of 88 applications from 30 clean energy developers. The state's $1.4 billion investment is expected to spur over $3 billion of direct investment over the life of the projects, with support for these new projects provided by the New York State Energy Research and Development Authority." That entire announcement can be found here.Monitoring Siting Board Proceedings
For those interested in monitoring Siting Board Proceedings, there are several options available for those who wish to participate in or monitor the proceedings of a particular case. Please read the details of each in the attached document and decide which is the best option for you. Click here to view the document.