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    White Creek Solar

    finchville community solar White Creek Solar

    Please join us for a White Creek Solar Community Meeting!

    We look forward to meeting with the community to answer questions and discuss project updates, the 94-c permitting process, and the transition of project ownership to AES. 

    This community meeting will be in an open format: updated project information will be displayed on boards throughout the room, with AES representatives available at each station to answer questions. There will be no formal presentation.

    Community members are welcome to stop by anytime between 5:30 - 7:30 pm to learn about the project and meet the project team. Light refreshments will be provided.

    • Date: Wednesday, November 30, 2022
    • Time: 5:30 pm - 7:30 pm
    • Where: Genesee River Restaurant and Reception Center (134 N Main St, Mount Morris, NY 14510)
    • RSVP: Please RSVP by phone (866-757-7697), email (whitecreeksolar@aes.com) or via this web form, to help us get an accurate headcount of attendees. Registration is requested, not required.

    Project description

    White Creek Solar is a proposed 135 MW-AC solar project located in the Towns of York and Leicester in Livingston County, NY. The project will safely generate enough clean, renewable electricity to power over 29,700 households and offset 190,000 tons of CO2 emissions each year.

    The White Creek Solar project was previously developed by solar developer Community Energy. In December 2021, AES acquired Community Energy, and along with it, White Creek Solar. To learn more about the acquisition, click here.

    Solar equipment is a proven and safe technology in applications from fields to rooftops of homes, schools, and businesses. The White Creek Solar project will provide a significant economic stimulus to the area during construction by providing jobs and local contracts for goods and services, and significant long-term economic benefits through lease revenue to local landowners and tax revenue to the community.

    White Creek site layout

    Project impacts

    Environmental studies have been conducted to help design and position the solar project in a way that avoids and minimizes impacts to wetlands, wildlife, and cultural resources. Through thoughtful and sensitive design, the White Creek Solar project seeks to be a good neighbor and a contributing member of the business and farming community.

    Responsibly sited solar facilities can provide a net benefit to the preservation of agricultural land. The facility is not a permanent structure and essentially provides a form of preservation for agricultural land by maintaining permeable land surface and improving soil quality over the project life by allowing the soil to effectively rest, and installing a high-quality ground cover seed mix. Setbacks, fencing, and landscape buffering enable solar projects to blend comfortably into the community.

    When a solar project reaches the end of its project life, the developer is responsible for executing the approved Decommissioning Plan, including abiding by all local and state decommissioning requirements. This includes the removal, recycling, and disposal of all solar arrays, racking, equipment, and other structures associated with the project, as applicable. The land surface within the project area will be sensibly restored to pre-project conditions to allow a return to agricultural use or other uses consistent with the land-use policies at the time.

    Community solar

    Community benefits

    Long-term Tax Revenue: The White Creek Solar project will provide numerous economic and social benefits. The land hosting the solar project will no longer be taxed at the lower rate provided for agricultural land and will generate many times more in taxes compared to current land use. In addition, there will be roll-back taxes associated with the change in land use status. Tax revenues to the county and school district with no additional burden on municipal services. The project will pay millions of dollars of taxes over the life of the project. Unlike residential or commercial development, this tax revenue will not create any material burden on County infrastructure or expenses for schools, water, sewer, emergency services, etc. 

    Rural communities benefit from public road enhancements, and increased tax revenues to fund local infrastructure and public services, schools, and other community infrastructure. The construction and operations and maintenance create direct and indirect benefits of additional jobs and increased demand for local goods and services within the community.

    Full-Time Operations and Maintenance Jobs: The White Creek Solar project is expected to create 2 full-time equivalent operations and maintenance jobs.

    Construction Jobs Local Economic Stimulus During Construction: The White Creek Solar project will support up to 150 full-time jobs in construction during the 6-12 month construction period. Local construction employment is expected to primarily benefit those in the construction trades in Livingston County and the surrounding regional labor market, including equipment operators, truck drivers, laborers, landscapers, and electricians. The project construction period will also stimulate spending at local hotels, restaurants, shops, entertainment, and tourism businesses.

    94-c permitting process

    Overview

    The Accelerated Renewable Energy Growth and Community Benefit Act (the “Act”) was passed in April 2020 as part of the final state budget. The Act added a new section 94-c to the Executive Law, titled Major Renewable Energy Development ("Section 94-c”, "94-c", or "the 94-c permitting process"), which established 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").

    Section 94-c established the Office of Renewable Energy Siting (ORES) within the NYS Department of State to provide a single forum for the environmental review and permitting of proposed major renewable energy facilities. This includes renewable energy systems with a nameplate generating capacity of 25 MW or more, co-located energy storage systems, and electric transmission facilities less than 10 miles in length. The final Section 94-c regulations were issued on March 3, 2021 and can be viewed here.

    Article 10 applications that had already received a completeness determination are deemed complete under the new 94-c process, while projects currently undergoing the Article 10 siting process can choose to either remain in Article 10 or opt-in to 94-c. The 94-c regulations issued by ORES include an expedited permitting process to account for matters and issues already presented and resolved in the alternate Article 10 proceedings.

    Prior to submitting a 94-c permit application, Applicants are required to consult with the local agencies and stakeholders of the community(ies) in which the proposed project will be located. ORES also requires that state agencies (e.g. NY DEC) are consulted on wetland and stream delineations, threatened and endangered species, and archeological and cultural resources, if appropriate. Agency consultations should take place at the earliest point possible in the Applicant’s process. Following consultations with impacted agencies, 94-c Applicants must hold at least one meeting for community members. A virtual community meeting was held for the White Creek Solar project on January 5, 2021, and a second community meeting is scheduled for November 30, 2022. 

     From the date of its receipt of a permit application, ORES has 60 days to make a completeness determination. After a completeness determination, draft permit conditions will be issued by ORES for public comment. Within the comment period, the host municipalities must submit a statement indicating whether the proposed renewable energy facility complies with applicable local laws. ORES must issue a final decision on the siting permit within one year of the date on which the application is deemed complete. See below for a full diagram of the 94-c process, from pre-application activities through the start of construction.

     

    This is a diagram of the 94-c process

     

    White Creek Solar permitting milestones
    • The 94-c community meeting for the White Creek Solar project will be held on November 30, 2022, from 5:30-7:30, in anticipation of the submission of the White Creek 94-c permit application to ORES. This community meeting will be held at the Genesee River Restaurant and Recepion Center, located at 134 N Main St, Mount Morris, NY 14510. All interested stakeholders are welcome to attend and learn more about the project, including all updates that have occurred regarding the project since January 2021.

    • On February 4, 2021, White Creek Solar filed a letter with the Secretary to the NYS Public Service Commission (PSC) noticing its election to be subject to Executive Law Section 94-c and stating its intent to file a Transfer Application with the Office of Renewable Energy Siting (ORES). The White Creek Solar materials filed under the Article 10 process can be found here, as Article 10 DMM Matter Number 20-00100.

    • On January 5, 2021, a virtual information session (community meeting) was held to share information about the White Creek Solar project. The recording and presentation slides from this meeting are available below in the 'Project Resources' section.

    How to receive notices

    Join the White Creek Solar master stakeholder list

    Joining the Master Stakeholder List maintained by AES enables you to receive mailings of the 94-c required notices. You can join this list by filling out the 'Stay Updated' webform at the bottom of this page, by calling 866-757-7697, or by emailing whitecreeksolar@aes.com.

     

    Subscribe to the service list

    If you would like to monitor the proceedings of the White Creek Solar 94-c application, you can do so without the formal commitment of becoming a party in the proceeding. By subscribing to the service list of a case, you will receive an e-mail with a direct link to the documents issued by the Public Service Commission PSC), such as orders, notices, and rulings. If you are unable or unwilling to receive electronic notification, you will receive hard copies of Commission-issued documents by regular mail. *Once White Creek Solar is issued a 94-c case #, stakeholders will be able to subscribe to the service list (case number pending as of October 27, 2022)*

    If you are a registered user of the NYS Public Service Commission's Document and Matter Management (DMM) System, you may submit your service list subscription by clicking here. Registration saves time and allows you to see and manage all of your service and party list subscriptions.

    If you do not wish to register on the PSC's DMM System, you can download the Request for Service List form here. Please follow the instructions on the form.

     

    Request party status

    Generally, parties commit to contribute to the development of a complete record in a proceeding by conducting discovery, submitting testimony, briefs, or other formal written comments, and/or participating in evidentiary hearings, procedural conferences and other formal events conducted in the case. (Non-parties participate in PSC proceedings by filing informal comments, such as letters, in contrast to the formal comments filed by parties in response to Commission notices.)

    For some PSC proceedings, including rate cases, a person need not be a party to petition for rehearing of the Commission's final decision; however, in some other proceedings, only those who were parties in the case may petition for rehearing. The right to challenge a PSC decision in New York State Court may also be limited to those who were parties to the PSC proceeding.

    Under Commission rules, 16 NYCRR 4.3, you must seek permission to intervene as a party from the Administrative Law Judge (ALJ), if one is assigned to the case, or from the Secretary if there is no ALJ assigned. The standard for allowing intervention is whether your participation is likely to contribute to the development of a complete record or is otherwise fair and in the public interest; whether other parties are unfairly prejudiced is also considered.

    If you are a registered user of the NYS Public Service Commission's Document and Matter Management (DMM) System, you may submit your request for party status by clicking here. Registration saves time and allows you to see and manage all of your service and party list subscriptions.

    If you do not wish to register on the PSC's DMM System, you can download the Request for Party Status form here. Please follow the instructions on the form.

    When you submit the request for party status here, you will be provisionally added to the party list, subject to the right of other parties to object and subject to the final determination of the ALJ or Secretary. You will be required to mail your request to anyone on the party list who cannot receive e-mail service.

    Availability of local agency account funds

    Intervenor funding is money that Applicants make available to qualified, locally affected parties and municipalities to offset certain expenses they incur in participating in the state permitting process. These funds are meant to encourage early and effective public involvement in project development and permitting.

    With the filing of its 94-c application, White Creek Solar will submit the required local agency account fee of $135,000. These funds can be sought by local community intervenors and host towns. 75% of funds are reserved for municipalities.

    Any local agency or potential community intervenor seeking funding must submit a request for initial funding within 30 days of the date of application filing (date of application filing and thus funding deadline TBD).

    Additional details regarding requests for local agency account funding will be provided once the White Creek 94-c Application has been submitted to ORES.

    Requests for local agency account funds can be made via:

    The ORES Request For Local Agency Account Funding form available in the Resources section of the ORES website

    Or by email to:

    general@ores.ny.gov 

    Or by mail to: 

    Attention: Request for Local Agency Account Funding
    Office of Renewable Energy Siting
    Empire State Plaza
    240 State Street
    P-1 South, J Dock 
    Albany, NY 12242

    If you have questions regarding the intervenor process, please contact the ORES office.

    White Creek Solar document repositories

    As the proposed White Creek Solar project advances, public documents will be posted to this website, the project Document Matter Master (DMM) on the DPS website (pending 94-c case # creation), and will be made available for viewing in print at the following locations, during regular operating hours:

    • Town of York Town Hall: 2668 Main Street, PO Box 187, York, NY 14592

    • Town of Leicester Town Hall: 132 Main Street, PO Box 197, Leicester, NY 14481

    Accessing resources via the ORES website

    To learn more about the 94-c permitting process, please visit the Office of Renewable Energy Siting website at https://ores.ny.gov/.

    Contact ORES

    To submit any questions or comments regarding the 94-c permitting process, reach out to ORES by phone, email, written letter, or via this contact form on the ORES website (https://ores.ny.gov/)

    • (518) 473-4590

    • general@ores.ny.gov

    • Mailing Information (letters and envelopes):

    Office of Renewable Energy Siting (ORES)
    c/o: OGS Mailroom
    Empire State Plaza
    240 State Street
    P-1 South, J Dock
    Albany, N.Y. 12242

    Community engagement events

    All public meetings will be announced at least 14 days prior to the scheduled event and posted on the facility website.

    • Upcoming November 30, 2022: Community Meeting (see details at the top of this page)
    • March 2022: Presentation to Town of York
    • December 2021: Presentation to Town Board of Leicester
    • January 2021: Virtual Information Session/Community Meeting
    • March 2020: Leicester Town Hall Meeting

    Frequently asked questions (FAQS)

    What safety measures will be put in place?

    We will provide security fencing that will fully encompass the solar fields. Any wires outside of our security fence will be buried. As such, no part of our solar project will be accessible to the public. Within the fence line, all solar equipment will be grounded and touch safe, fully compliant with all applicable codes and accessible only to qualified personnel, with the exception of guided tours. Orientation will be offered to local first responders to educate them about the project, the equipment and access, and response procedures in case of unexpected events. Contact information for our monitoring and response center will be provided and posted on the project fence to ensure the public can easily reach project representatives.

    What will happen to the equipment at the end of the project?

    When a solar project reaches the end of its project life, the project owner is responsible for executing the approved Decommissioning Plan, including abiding by all local and state decommissioning requirements. This includes the removal, recycling, and disposal of all solar arrays, racking, equipment, and other structures associated with the project, as applicable. The land surface within the project area will be sensibly restored to pre-project conditions to allow a return to agricultural use or other uses consistent with the land-use policies at the time.

    What are the environmental benefits?

    The project will use no fuel and create zero emissions, reducing air pollution and offsetting hundreds of thousands of tons of carbon dioxide emissions every year. Energy generation and environmental equivalents from the project are estimated to include…

    • Equivalent of powering over 29,700 average NY homes per year
    • Equivalent of offsetting ~190,000 tons of CO2 per year
    • Equivalent of carbon captured by ~250,000 acres of U.S. forests
    • Equivalent of offsetting ~210 million pounds of coal burned per year
    • Equivalent of offsetting consumption of ~441,000 barrels of oil

    Contact us

    We want to hear from you! For any inquiries or comments about White Creek Solar, please contact us directly at:

    • Project email: whitecreeksolar@aes.com

    • Project phone number: 866-757-7697 (866-SLRPOWR)

    • Office address:
      292 Madison Avenue
      15th Floor
      New York, NY 10017

     

    New York office hours

    Have a question or comment for AES about our work in your community? Give us a call during these hours to talk to a company representative. If you call outside of these hours, we will return your call as soon as possible.

    • Every Monday 11:00 AM-1:00 PM ET
    • Every Thursday 4:00 PM-6:00 PM ET
    • Call our New York team at 866-757-7697 (866-SLRPOWR)

    Stay updated

    If you would like to be designated as a Project Stakeholder and added to the Project's Master Stakeholder List, please fill out the following form. Individuals and groups on this list receive mailed copies of the regulatory project notices required by 94-c. 

    If you would like to RSVP to the November 30, 2022 Community Meeting, please fill out the form below. Indicate 'community meeting RSVP' and any questions you may have in the 'Brief message' field. We look forward to seeing you on the 30th!

    Name
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