Wednesday, August 30, 2023

News of Shepherd's Run

It's been six months since Gossips published any news about the proposal by Hecate Energy to site a utility-scale solar installation on more than 250 acres of farmland in Craryville. Today, Gossips received the following press release providing an update on the project.

On Friday, August 25, the Office of Renewable Energy Siting (ORES) filed a Notice of Complete Application, concluding that it now possessed sufficient information to decide whether to grant Hecate Energy a siting permit to build a utility-scale solar installation on farmland in Craryville, a hamlet within the Town of Copake. 
This determination came after three previous applications by the Chicago-based corporation had been found to be “incomplete.”
The ORES decision was issued just one week after New York State Senators Michelle Hinchey (SD-41) and Pete Harckham (SD-40) wrote to ORES Executive Director Houtan Moaveni, outlining potential adverse environmental and agricultural impacts of the proposed 60-megawatt solar development and urging that another site be found for the project. ORES’ finding of completeness does not grant permission to build the site, but it does trigger a sixty-day period by the end of which ORES must either publish a draft permit for public comment or deny permission for Hecate to move forward.
The Town has complained that ORES’ “completeness” determination was unwarranted since it ignores Hecate’s failure to submit critical information previously requested by ORES. Deputy Supervisor Richard Wolf, who has spearheaded the Town’s response to the Hecate application, has pointed out that the corporation “has not fully addressed the impacts of its proposed 267-acre solar factory on the Taghkanic Headwaters Conservation Plan. It has failed to prove that constructing 200,000 solar panels and inverters and drilling beneath wetlands will not adversely affect the wetlands, streams, and Taghkanic Creek (an important source of Hudson’s drinking water), all of which are on or under the proposed construction site.”
According to Copake, Hecate has also withheld historical information from the public regarding a historically significant Native American presence near the Niver Farm (now Rasweiler Farm), and Hecate has not taken sufficient precautions to ensure the 60-megawatt solar facility will not adversely impact Copake’s nationally significant historical and cultural resources.
The criticism of senators Hinchey and Harckham came after the two met with Copake Town officials and toured the site in Craryville. Senator Hinchey, who represents the Town of Copake, is Chair of the Senate Committee on Agriculture, and Senator Harckham chairs the Senate Committee on Environmental Conservation.
Addressing their concerns to Moaveni, they wrote:Under the current project proposal, 140 acres of prime farmland and 76 acres of farmland of statewide importance will be rendered unusable because of the solar array being constructed on it.”
Copake contends that Hecate’s supposedly “complete” application fails to address the adverse impact of waiving local laws specifically enacted to protect Copake’s high-quality farmland and rural character.
“ORES may have found that Hecate’s application was good enough for them,” said Jeanne E. Mettler, Supervisor of the Town of Copake, “but it is not good enough for Copake.” Pointing out that Hecate is seeking permission from ORES to override twenty Copake laws, Mettler said, “Hecate’s proposal sacrifices prime farmland and tramples on local law. Clearly Hecate was irresponsible in choosing this site in the first place, and they should not be rewarded now for their lack of care. Hecate has demonstrated a complete disregard for this small town.”
“Given the large amounts of missing or incomplete information,” Deputy Supervisor Richard Wolf said, “one can only hope that ORES’ 'Notice of Complete Application' was issued to ‘put Hecate out of its misery,’ because ORES now understands that the proposed site is completely unsuitable for a utility-scale facility. In sixty days, ORES should tell Hecate to find another site.”
Supervisor Mettler concluded, “ORES should deny Hecate’s application and end this ordeal for Copake once and for all.”


  1. I'm all for solar, but we ought to be using blighted sites. Way too many solar fields are popping up in fields where it's quick and cheap and easy for the developer.

  2. There are enough rooftops in the US to host a massive solar network, but that is never an option because it can't be used to extort the public through a corporate owned utility. This type of thinking is why the climate crisis will never be resolved. It's a doomsday scenario driven by greed.

    How about rather than focusing on sidewalks the city installs solar panels on every rooftop in Hudson, connects them to a local network and puts and end to the National Grid rip off.

  3. Carole - You should have included a picture of the CEO of Hectate, Chris Bullinger. He looks like the Weird Al Yankovic of the corporate renewable energy lobby. In other words, a scammer, a rip-off artist, someone to not be taken seriously.

  4. The solar panels standing across the road from Taconic Hills School Complex on Rt 23 are non operational. The contractor abandoned the site after a short time and left the substation which attracted Hecate in the first place. Copake is forward thinking and supports small solar projects throughout town. Copake became an unwitting target for this predatory corporation with its huge energy project because of that substation.

  5. Opposition to solar in this county is embarrassing. It is an unholy alliance betwen Republicans who hate everything green, and Democrats who care more about their perceived property values than participating in a society-wide solution to global warming.

    Such opposition is based on a ton of misinformation: Absurd claims that solar will poison the water... That solar is harming agriculture... And more of the like.

    Shame on those who either don’t bother to learn about the issue, or just care more about not having to see an occasional glint off a solar panel from their Mercedes than about having a non-disastrous future for the world.

    I wrote about this in detail a bit ago: