Hecate plans open houses, provides detail of new Shepherd’s Run application

Farmland vista where the proposed 42 megawatt Shepherd’s Run Solar Farm is planned along Route 23 at the entryway to the rural hamlet of Copake.

John Coston

Hecate plans open houses, provides detail of new Shepherd’s Run application

COPAKE — Hecate Energy LLC said last week that it is in the process of submitting a new application for a permit to build a 42 megawatt (MW) solar project on acreage near the intersection of Routes 23 and 7.

In early February, the New York state Office of Renewable Energy Siting (ORES) dismissed the company’s application after it had lost control of a parcel of land that had been integral to the project.

Matt Levine, project director, said in a statement: “Hecate shares New York State’s commitment to meeting its clean energy goals in a way that incorporates feedback from local communities, which is why we remain committed to the Shepherd’s Run Solar Farm and are beginning the process of submitting a new permit application.

“In addition to reflecting a good faith effort to incorporate almost all of the items recommended by the working group in recent years, this new proposal will reduce the fenced area of the project to approximately 175 acres and cut the output of the project to 42MW.

“We look forward to continuing to engage with the local community to hear their feedback.”

The company planned afternoon and evening open houses on Wednesday, April 3, at the Hillsdale Fire Company in Hillsdale, to discuss the project.

Levine provided additional details about the new proposal that will be filed with ORES.

— The footprint of the project will be reduced from approximately 267 to 215 acres, and the output of the project will decrease from 60MW to 42MW.

— The new proposal will include an Agrivoltaics Integration Plan that provides for sheep grazing in two of the array areas totaling 73 acres.

Levine also said the new proposal “as with previous versions of the application,” will address local concerns.

He listed those to include:

— Exclusion of battery storage from the project scope;

— Native tree and shrub planting to minimize sightlines for neighbors;

— Support to extend/connect to local hiking trails or other passive recreational/educational opportunities;

— Conducting local fire departments and first responder training;

— Including pollinator species seed mix within the landscaping plan;

— Implementing a Net Conservation Benefit Plan for grassland birds to preserve more than 25 acres of additional habitat;

— Incorporating wildlife-friendly rural style fencing instead of chain-link fencing;

— Avoiding direct impacts to all state regulated Class I wetlands and developing a project with no net loss of wetlands;

— Committing to not source panels from suppliers who utilize forced labor or that contain the environmental contaminants called PFAS (per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances, also called “forever chemicals”);

— Providing bidding opportunities to local suppliers and using local labor and purchasing when practicable.

In his March newsletter to residents, Town Supervisor Richard Wolf was critical of the company’s approach and said he hoped that the company “will work with Copake to address our well documented concerns about its proposal.”



Solar panels cover a hillside along Route 23 in Craryville near the entrance to Copake. The array pictured provides power to Taconic Hills High School.John Coston

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