Working group making recommendations to improve Shepherd’s Run
Diane Valden is reporting for The Columbia Paper Deputy Copake Town Supervisor Richard Wolf, January 13, in his monthly report to the town board on the Hecate [HEK-uh-tee] Energy solar project said the Chicago-based company had made a project presentation to “an expert working group” assembled by the citizen group Sensible Solar, together with Friends of Columbia Solar. Other group experts include representatives from Scenic Hudson, Columbia Land Conservancy, two Cornell University teams — from the Ag School and from the Department of City and Regional Planning — and two volunteer landscape architects, Wolf said. “The working group is preparing a report with recommendations to improve the Shepherd’s Run proposal, and will presumably opine on screening, fencing, protecting forested areas and other concerns,” Wolf said. The project alls for the clearing of 40 acres of trees and shrubs. Copake officials asked the company to delay filing its siting application until the working group’s report has been received and considered. In answer to a February 7 email from The Columbia Paper, Hecate Project Developer Alex Campbell said “Hecate hasn’t filed its application.” Wolf said the town maintains the hope that Hecate will consider what the working group has to say. Once the Shepherd’s Run project application is filed with the state Office of Renewable Energy Siting, the agency has 60 days to review it and determine its completeness and define deficiencies, if any. If all goes smoothly for Hecate they plan to start construction activities in the second quarter of 2023. Hecate proposes to build a solar-powered electric generating facility with 200,000 solar panels on several sites along State Route 23 and County Route 7 in and around the Copake hamlet of Craryville. The total project area is 880 acres and the panels will physically occupy 220 acres, which will be fenced in. The industrial-scale project is not permitted under Copake Zoning Law, yet it is moving forward because Hecate has bypassed local law and is seeking site approval from ORES under the state’s new siting process for renewable energy projects, known as 94-c. Read the full story in The Columbia Paper.