By Gwendolyn Craig
The Adirondack Park Agency approved on Thursday a large-scale solar project in the town of Ticonderoga, the fourth commercial solar permit the APA has issued in that town since the fall of 2020.
Should all projects come to fruition, Ticonderoga will have installations generating a grand total of 32.5-megawatts of solar power. Experts estimate 1 megawatt of solar power generates enough electricity to run about 164 United States homes; therefore Ticonderoga will generate enough power for 5,330 homes.
In 2020, the APA approved a 5-megawatt solar project in the town. In the spring of 2021, it approved another 5 megawatts. In the fall of 2021, the agency approved its largest project to date—20 megawatts, including a build-out of utility infrastructure.
On Thursday, board members unanimously approved a 2.5-megawatt installation in the area of Shore Airport and Delano roads on 35 acres of fields with several scattered apple trees. The fenced site of the 6,500 panels will be on about 12 acres. The developer is Pivot Energy, a national company focused on utility and community solar projects.
Devan Korn, an environmental program specialist with the APA, said the installation will include native plantings to attract pollinators and a flock of sheep to mow the area. There will be about three-to-four sheep per acre grazing for several days about twice a summer.
The APA did not receive any public comments on the proposal.
The town of Ticonderoga has yet to issue its own site plan review and special use building permit. Korn said the town was waiting on the APA’s approval first. The state Department of Environmental Conservation will also permit the project for stormwater prevention plans.
“I’m really pleased to see that there’s some retention of agriculture use here,” said Jerry Delaney, executive director of the Adirondack Park Local Government Review Board.
Chairman John Ernst agreed. But Ernst also said he worried about the cumulative impact of solar projects, especially on Ticonderoga. The APA board has nearly monthly brought up the question of whether the agency needs to do any long-range planning of solar projects in the park.
“If you’re looking at cumulative impact on a statewide basis, what we’re doing here is de minimis,” Ernst said. “Where there’s a cumulative impact is town by town.”
Dan Kelleher, special assistant for economic affairs for the APA, said the agency mailed out surveys to the park’s towns to get their input on solar. Once he gets those back, Kelleher plans to present the findings to the agency.
Adirondack policy, in plain speak.
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