|Location:||Watertown and Hounsfield|
Boralex’s Greens Corners Solar project is proposed to be built in the Towns of Watertown and Hounsfield, Jefferson County, New York. The facility study area consists of approximately 3,031 acres. The proposed design consists of 1,070 acres of fenced-in PV areas to be developed. The majority of the site is currently agricultural land (corn, hay, soybean, cattle). The site is surrounded by residential and commercial properties, additional agricultural fields (corn, soybean, hay), Interstate Route 81, and scrub-shrub deciduous forest.
Boralex will be leasing the majority of the land from private landowners, providing a stable and predictable revenue stream, Some land will also be purchased from private landowners.
Currently in early-stage development, the facility is expected to be commissioned in Q4 2023. Boralex is progressing through the appropriate study processes as required with NYISO and National Grid. Boralex plans the point of interconnection (POI) with the electric grid to be on an existing National Grid 115-kilovolt (kV) transmission line. Boralex will be submitting documents and continue to progress with the processes outlined in the 94-c regulations.
Process for Renewable Energy Projects
The Accelerated Renewable Energy Growth and Community Benefit Act (the “Act”) was passed in April 2020 as Part JJJ of Governor Cuomo’s 2020-21 enacted state budget. The Act adds a new section 94-c to the Executive Law, titled Major Renewable Energy Development (the “94-c Process”), which is intended to establish a review process with uniform permit standards for New York State renewable energy projects in place of the procedures set forth in Article 10 of the Public Service Law (“Article 10").
Please note, while this project started development under Article 10, on May 4, 2021 it began instead to follow the 94-c process, and will continue as such. Some documentation included here followed the former Article 10 format, and can be found here, as Article 10 DMM Case Number (19-F-0512). Permitting, public engagement and other further actions will be following the regulations outlined in 94-c.
The Act creates a newly established Office of Renewable Energy Siting (“ORES”), within the New York State Department of State, as part of the 94-c Process to provide a single forum for the environmental review and permitting of proposed major renewable energy facilitates, which includes renewable energy systems with a nameplate generating capacity of 25 megawatts (MW) or more, co-located energy storage systems, and electric transmission facilities less than 10 miles in length.
ORES has 60 days from the date of its receipt of a permit application to make a completeness determination. After a completeness determination, draft permit conditions will be issued by the Office of Renewable Energy Siting for public comment. Within the established comment period, the host municipalities must submit a statement indicating whether the proposed renewable energy facility complies with applicable local laws. The Office of Renewable Energy Siting must issue a final decision on the siting permit within one year of the date on which the application is deemed complete.
94-c Application Overview
The 94-c Application for Greens Corners Solar was submitted on or about June 11, 2021. Submitted Applications Under Review with ORES can be found on the ORES website. The Application describes the Facility as a 120 MW solar facility with a 3,031 acre Facility Area; a final fenced area during operation of approximately 1,074 acres; and Facility components including solar panels, racking, access roads, electrical collector network, inverters, step-up transformers, a substation, perimeter fencing, and landscaping. The Application describes the Facility location as being proposed in the Town of Watertown and Town of Hounsfield primarily west of I-81 and southwest of the City of Watertown. The Application describes the potential environmental and health impacts of the construction and operation of the Facility as having been largely avoided or minimized; for impacts that could not be avoided or minimized to the extent practicable, the Application outlines mitigation for those impacts with respect to: visuals, NYS threatened or endangered species, wetlands, and agricultural resources. The Facility will contribute to New York State’s renewable energy goals contributing to environmental benefits including cleaner air and lowering GHG emissions.
Surveys and Studies
Environmental field inventories have been performed on the site, including wetland surveys, bat and avian studies—both winter raptor and breeding bird surveys, leaf-on and lead-off noise campaign, archeological State Historic Preservation Office Phase 1A and 1B, geotechnical borings and electrical resistivity testing, as well as environmental and technical studies subject to ORES technical standards.
Final exhibits will be available here and include: general requirements; overview and public involvement; location of facilities and surrounding land use; real property; design drawings; public health and safety and security; noise and vibration; visual impacts; cultural resources; geology, seismology and soils; terrestrial ecology; NYS threatened or endangered species; water resources and aquatic ecology; wetlands; agricultural resources; effect on transportation; consistency with energy planning objectives; socioeconomic effects; Environmental Justice; effect on communications; electrical system effects and interconnection; electric and magnetic fields; site restoration and decommissioning; local laws and ordinances; and other permits approved.
In August 2020, Boralex installed an on-site weather monitoring station to refine the anticipated energy production to be expected from the solar facility and refine our soiling estimates.
The project would offer significant economic, social, and environmental benefits to the New York State (NYS), to Jefferson County, the Town of Watertown and the Town of Hounsfield, and would:
- Create more than 100 jobs during construction
- Create long-term jobs to support operations
- Boost local economy and add commerce for local businesses during the construction and the operation
- Provide significant tax revenues to the Town of Watertown, the Town of Hounsfield, Jefferson County and to the local school districts
- Provide quiet, emission free, reliable power generation for the equivalent of 27,500 NYS households per year
- Help NYS achieve its goal of 70% clean power generation by 2030
The slides for our December 18, 2020 Virtual Open House are available to download, and the presentation can be found here:
Local Agency Account Funding
For each project, local agencies and community intervenors may apply for funds, subject to ORES-approval, that may be used to defray expenses for experts reviewing the project’s potential environmental, public health and safety impacts. Additionally, local agencies may use the funds to determine whether a proposed facility is designed to be sited, constructed, and operated in compliance with applicable local laws and regulations.
To defray the costs of review, Boralex will deposit $120,000 for the Greens Corners Solar 94-c Application towards a Local Agency Account ($1000 per MW)–75% of which is reserved for eligible local agencies.
Eligible local agencies include any municipality and other political subdivisions of the state that may be affected by the proposed major electric generating facility.
Potential community intervenors include persons residing in an affected community or non-profits with a concrete and localized interest that may be impacted.
Local agencies or potential community intervenors must submit a request for initial funding within 30 days of the date of the project’s application to the Office of Renewable Energy Siting, at the Albany, New York office, Attention: Request for Local Agency Account Funding.
Further information regarding the availability and rules for intervenor funding can be found here and in subpart 900-5 of the final ORES regulations.
Office of Renewable Energy Siting (ORES)
c/o: OGS Mailroom Empire State Plaza
240 State Street P-1 South, J Dock
Albany, NY 12242
The application may be examined during normal business hours at the Office of Renewable Energy Siting and the following public libraries, in accordance with section 900-1.6.(a)(6) of Regulation 94-c. Hard copies of related project documents will also be available at the following sites:
Flower Memorial Library
229 Washington Street
Watertown, NY 13601
Phone: (315) 785-7705 / Fax: (315) 788-2584
Hay Memorial Library
105 South Broad Street
Sackets Harbor, NY 13685
Phone: (315) 646-2228 / Fax: (315) 646-2228
Please note that business hours may be altered due to COVID-19 restrictions. Please call ahead to confirm times or make an appointment, as appropriate.
Those wishing to receive all notices concerning the proposed facility can file a request with the Office of Renewable Energy Siting to subscribe to receive such notices. To access relevant documents from the ORES website, look under Permit Applications.
Please click here to view an invitation to our December 2020 open house and 60 day notice of intent to file an application under Section 94-c of the New York State Executive Law. Please click here to view our 3-day notice of intent to file an application under Section 94-c of the New York State Executive Law.
Review the Greens Corners Agricultural Multi-Use Plan here.
Questions about this project? Please contact our Greenfield Development Manager, Andrew Buckley at:
Postal address: 39 Hudson Falls Rd. South Glens Falls New York, 12803