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

Latest News

Inspiring artistic inspiration at the Art Nest in Wassaic

Left to right: Emi Night (Lead Educator), Luna Reynolds (Intern), Jill Winsby-Fein (Education Coordinator).

Natalia Zukerman

The Wassaic Art Project offers a free, weekly drop-in art class for kids aged K-12 and their families every Saturday from 12 to 5 p.m. The Art Nest, as it’s called, is a light, airy, welcoming space perched on the floor of the windy old mill building where weekly offerings in a variety of different media lead by professional artists offer children the chance for exploration and expression. Here, children of all ages and their families are invited to immerse themselves in the creative process while fostering community, igniting imaginations, and forging connections.

Emi Night began as the Lead Educator at The Art Nest in January 2024. She studied painting at Indiana University and songwriting at Goddard College in Vermont and is both a visual artist and the lead songwriter and singer in a band called Strawberry Runners.

Keep ReadingShow less
Weaving and stitching at Kent Arts Association

A detail from a fabric-crafted wall mural by Carlos Biernnay at the annual Kent Arts Association fiber arts show.

Alexander Wilburn

The Kent Arts Association, which last summer celebrated 100 years since its founding, unveiled its newest group show on Friday, May 11. Titled “Working the Angles,” the exhibition gathers the work of textile artists who have presented fiber-based quilts, landscapes, abstracts, and mural-sized illustrations. The most prominently displayed installation of fiber art takes up the majority of the association’s first floor on South Main Street.

Bridgeport-based artist Carlos Biernnay was born in Chile under the rule of the late military dictator Augusto Pinochet, but his large-scale work is imbued with fantasy instead of suffering. His mix of influences seems to include Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart’s popular German libretto “The Magic Flute” — specifically The Queen of the Night — as well as Lewis Carol’s “Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland,” The Tudor Court, tantalizing mermaids and exotic flora.

Keep ReadingShow less
Let there be Night: How light pollution harms migrating birds
Alison Robey

If last month’s solar eclipse taught me anything, it’s that we all still love seeing cool stuff in the sky. I don’t think we realize how fast astronomical wonders are fading out of sight: studies show that our night skies grow about 10% brighter every year, and the number of visible stars plummets as a result. At this rate, someone born 18 years ago to a sky with 250 visible stars would now find only 100 remaining.

Vanishing stars may feel like just a poetic tragedy, but as I crouch over yet another dead Wood Thrush on my morning commute, the consequences of light pollution feel very real. Wincing, I snap a photo of the tawny feathers splayed around his broken neck on the asphalt.

Keep ReadingShow less