A state court judge Tuesday issued a temporary restraining order blocking construction of a controversial solar farm in Shoreham despite claims by the project's developer that delays were costing $15,000 a day in lost profits.
State Supreme Court Justice Andrew Tarantino Jr. issued the six-day order until a scheduled court appearance next week by attorneys for developer sPower and residents opposed to the project.
Shoreham residents who live near the proposed solar array have filed suit against sPower, alleging that proper environmental reviews were never conducted. Some who live near the proposed 60-acre, 9.5-megawatt array also say it will be an eyesore and will hurt property values.
Construction of the array, which sPower originally planned to begin last fall, received final approval last month after Brookhaven Town issued a building permit. The project will take up to six months to build, sPower said.
In an affidavit filed Tuesday, Christian Wiedemann, director of development at sPower, said the company already has spent $7.3 million on the project, which has a contract to provide power to LIPA. He said that if the project is ultimately terminated, the company would lose more than $39.3 million in expected net income over the next 19 years.
Wiedemann asked Tarantino to require residents to post an "undertaking," or bond, to cover losses the company would sustain due to delays should residents' request for a preliminary injunction ultimately be denied. Tarantino denied the request, leaving the decision for Justice William Rebolini, who is holding a hearing on the case next week.
Fred Eisenbud, an attorney for residents, said the request should be denied.
"We have no idea why it took them seven months to get a building permit," Eisenbud said. "It's not our fault."
Morton Weber, an attorney for sPower, declined to comment.
The sPower affidavit noted that the company's agreement with LIPA is subject to a project completion date of Dec. 30, 2015, after which LIPA can terminate the contract.