Sharon finally gets date for super-solar meeting


By Patsy Nicosia

It looks like the Town of Sharon will finally be getting a look at the 785-acre commercial solar farm proposed along Route 20.
NextEra Energy Resources has scheduled two informational open houses on its proposed East Point Energy Center for:
• Thursday, August 30, 11am-1pm at the Sharon Springs Fire House.
• Also Thursday, August 30, 5-7pm, also at the Sharon Springs Fire House.
Both sessions will follow the same format and cover the same information.
According to NextEra’s Kris Scornavacca, director of Project Development, the open houses will be “more of an open format…with large information boards…along with a brief presentation at the beginning of each two-hour session…
“All subject matter experts from my team will be available to answer questions and review information…”
Mr. Scornavacca also said he and his team will make a formal presentation at the Wednesday, September 5 6:30pm Town of Sharon meeting
The open houses are required by the state Public Service Commission which has the final say on energy projects of this size under what’s called Article 10, a state process for siting large power projects initially intended to protect communities by adding another layer of scrutiny.
The proposed East Point energy Center would encompass 783 acres of prime agricultural land south of Route 20 between Beech and Parsons Roads and north of Route 20 to Sharon Hill Road.
At 50 megawatts, it would be 25 times larger than the two megawatt Bird’s Eye solar farm off Route 20 between Sharon Hill and the Village of Sharon Springs.
NextEra would lease the land from owners and In a March conference call with Ms. Manko, said it expects to pay more than $1 million a year for the first 15 years in taxes or payments in lieu of taxes if the project is built.
NextEra’s Public Involvement Program Plan, filed with the PSC last November, offers few solid details, mostly listing stakeholders, including state and local agencies and officials; outlining the notification process, and demographic data—all required by the PSC.
The PIPP notes that in addition to the 785-acre project, there’s a study area of 17,346 acres—a two-mile circle around the proposed project site that stretches into the Towns of Seward and Carlisle and across the Montgomery County line into the Town of Root.
East Point Energy estimates 124-175 temporary construction jobs in eight months of construction and two to three permanent local employment positions.
Initially, the project timeline called for a fall 2021 commercial operation date, but the process is already at least a few months behind schedule.
As part of the permitting process, developers are required to create an “intervenor fund,” which involved municipalities can tap for fees, studies, consultants, and other project costs.
In anticipation of that, in April the Town of Sharon agreed to hire engineers Barton & Logudice and the law firm of Whiteman Osterman & Hanna as consultants on the project; both have experience with large solar arrays.
Then, in May, at the recommendation of the Joint Planning Board, the town agreed to a six-month moratorium on large-scale solar development to give it time to review its existing 2015 solar law.