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Burke briefed on solar proposal

pBURKE — Geronimo Energy is currently looking into a possible large-scale solar project between Burke and Chateaugay./ppGeronimo representative Brett Hastings met with the Burke Town Board during its monthly meeting Tuesday night to review the proposed project’s specifications and how the company would go about preparing it./ppHastings said the 100-megawatt solar farm would be located along the Burke/Chateaugay town line, encompassing between 800 and 1,000 acres; the split is estimated to see about 40 percent of the project within Burke and 60 percent in Chateaugay./ppGeronimo Energy has been reaching out to local landowners, said Hastings, to gauge interest for land leases to allow the project to move forward. He recounted how the company’s founder, Noel Rahn, had previously been approached by a renewable energy company on his own farm, and was less than impressed by the company’s relations with landowners; the company has striven, he reiterated, to work respectfully with both landowners and local governments./ppHastings added that the actual number of acres for the project will depend on overall response from local landowners, as well as avoidance of wetlands and minimized forestry clearing./ppThe large scale of the proposed solar farm would require an Article 10 proceeding under New York State law; such a process includes a public hearing for local residents to have their concerns about the project addressed. He estimated that the entire process could take up to 39 months, delaying construction until 2023./ppTown Board members asked Hastings what the expected lifespan of the proposed solar farm would be and where Geronimo would purchase the materials. He replied that the expected lifespan of the solar installation would be 25 years, with the company pursuing a payment-in-lieu-of-taxes agreement, and would create local construction jobs at the outset as well as providing lease payments to landowners./ppHastings also noted that Geronimo is likely to purchase materials from an American company, in part due to ongoing tariffs on solar technology./ppGeronimo Energy had previously planned to build a 150-megawatt solar farm on 950 acres in the town of Malone. The project was later scaled back to 50 megawatts./ppHowever, that project was unable to move forward after the Malone Town Board passed a solar law last September which limited the percentage of space on projects that can be used for solar panels./p


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