Rejected solar project would have meant big money for towns, school

Published: Aug. 15, 2022 at 5:18 PM EDT
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TOWN OF BRASHER, New York (WWNY) - Three St. Lawrence County towns and a school district won’t be seeing tens of millions of dollars in tax revenue after the state rejected a proposed solar project.

“It’s up to the developer to want to appeal or to have a re-application go through a different process,” said Brasher Town Supervisor Mark Peets.

He’s talking about the proposed 180-megawatt solar array that was set to be on roughly 1,200 acres in the towns of Massena, Brasher, and Norfolk.

While Peets was in favor of it, the state’s Board of Electric Generation Siting and the Environment denied the project. It said the project would have adverse environmental effects on wetlands and threaten endangered species.

This project could have meant big money for local towns and the Massena Central School District. North Side Energy Center, the company behind the project, says it would have provided $33 million in tax revenue over the next 20 years, with $19 million of that going to the school.

With the state’s rejection, that won’t be happening.

“North Side Energy Center is aware of and disappointed by the siting board’s decision. We are evaluating our next steps at this time,” the company said in a prepared statement.

Peets says he still has some hope that the company can re-evaluate its proposal, present a new plan to the board and find a project that’ll appease the state and bring in tax revenue to the towns and school.

“I think there’s some other suitable areas that they could discover. That would be a process in and of itself. I mean, they would have to go through the same environmental impact studies,” said Peets.

This marks the first time the state’s siting board has rejected a renewable energy project in New York.

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