New York regulators on Tuesday rejected a proposed 180-megawatt solar farm project in the state's North Country region as efforts to transition to more renewable forms of energy clash with conservation concerns.
The state's environmental and electric generation siting board turned down approval for the project, planned for the towns of Massena and Norfolk in St. Lawrence County, pointing to plans to build predominantly on 500 acres of wetland space as well as near 11 regulated streams.
“While New York fully and strongly supports and encourages the construction of appropriately sited renewable energy projects, North Side in its application and case failed to adequately address the significant adverse impacts to freshwater wetlands on the site, putting it in conflict with existing Siting Board and Department of Environmental Conservation precedents,” Siting Board Chairman Rory Christian said. “Our overall actions-to-date demonstrates our commitment to developing solar. We will continue to focus our energies and resources in developing environmentally compatible and acceptable projects.”
Siting board officials insisted the rejection of the project will not affect New York's broader efforts to transition to cleaner and more renewable forms of energy in the coming decades. The state is trying to reach a goal of 70% electric generation by renewable sources in 2030.
The state has previously awarded 22 large-scale solar and energy storage projects that are expected to power 620,000 average-sized homes in the state for at least 20 years.