An aerial view of an area in West Babylon that...

An aerial view of an area in West Babylon that was the proposed site of a battery energy storage facility. Credit: Newsday/J. Conrad Williams Jr.

Babylon Town officials will now include a potential lithium-ion battery energy storage facility in West Babylon as part of a temporary moratorium on such facilities.

The decision is a reversal from the town’s previous position that the proposed facility on Bahama Street should be excluded from the 6-month moratorium the town is currently considering since the company had already applied for permission. Albany-based KCE NY 30 LLC is seeking to build a 50-megawatt facility on 3½ acres of industrial-zoned land next to a LIPA substation.

Babylon in January held a public hearing on the moratorium. The town has now removed language exempting KCE from the moratorium resolution, which includes the option of an additional 6-month extension, and will schedule another public hearing, said town attorney Joe Wilson.

The towns of Southampton, Southold and Huntington already have moratoriums on battery storage facilities. Islip and Oyster Bay are considering them.

“There’s nothing in our code that addresses storage facilities,” Wilson said. “The planning department felt they were unable to review that application because of the absence of standards.”

Lithium-ion battery facilities are used to complement renewable energy sources such as wind and solar by storing electrical energy that can be used to meet elevated demands at peak times.

But the batteries can overheat and explode, leading to fires that can be difficult to extinguish and can require "copious amount of water," Babylon Assistant Chief Fire Marshal Anthony Cardali has told Newsday. Town officials are also worried about hazardous runoff from a fire.

After three storage facility fires in the state last year, an interagency fire safety group was created. The state group said the fires didn't produce any harmful toxins or migration of contaminants, but activists have questioned the findings.

The West Babylon facility would have 118 batteries each in enclosures nearly 31 feet long, nearly 6 feet wide and more than 8 feet tall, according to the company’s application. The site would "predominantly operate unmanned" 24 hours a day, the application states. It would provide energy to power about 40,000 homes, said Phil Denara, director of development for KCE.

Asked about the town’s latest action, Denara emailed a statement to Newsday saying KCE looks forward to “working with the Town, local emergency first responders and other stakeholders to understand and address their concerns as well as implement the recommendations” from the state’s fire safety group.

Denara noted the facility would provide the area with "clean, reliable energy that will help keep the lights on during extreme weather events and other times of high electricity demand.”

Town Supervisor Rich Schaffer said the town is creating a group to study the issue. He said if the moratorium is enacted, it may take longer than 6 months to come up with standards. 

“It’s so new and so involved,” he said. “It’s not a simple, straightforward issue.”

Mitchell Goldstein, an electrical engineer, said he has decades of experience working on different types of battery systems and has offered the town his expertise. Goldstein, of Melville, said the town made “a very prudent decision” to include the proposed site in the moratorium.

He said municipalities should take a “reasonable period of time to develop codes, whether it’s state codes or local codes, to ensure the fact that battery energy storage systems move forward because we need the grid support.”

Babylon Town officials will now include a potential lithium-ion battery energy storage facility in West Babylon as part of a temporary moratorium on such facilities.

The decision is a reversal from the town’s previous position that the proposed facility on Bahama Street should be excluded from the 6-month moratorium the town is currently considering since the company had already applied for permission. Albany-based KCE NY 30 LLC is seeking to build a 50-megawatt facility on 3½ acres of industrial-zoned land next to a LIPA substation.

Babylon in January held a public hearing on the moratorium. The town has now removed language exempting KCE from the moratorium resolution, which includes the option of an additional 6-month extension, and will schedule another public hearing, said town attorney Joe Wilson.

The towns of Southampton, Southold and Huntington already have moratoriums on battery storage facilities. Islip and Oyster Bay are considering them.

“There’s nothing in our code that addresses storage facilities,” Wilson said. “The planning department felt they were unable to review that application because of the absence of standards.”

Lithium-ion battery facilities are used to complement renewable energy sources such as wind and solar by storing electrical energy that can be used to meet elevated demands at peak times.

But the batteries can overheat and explode, leading to fires that can be difficult to extinguish and can require "copious amount of water," Babylon Assistant Chief Fire Marshal Anthony Cardali has told Newsday. Town officials are also worried about hazardous runoff from a fire.

After three storage facility fires in the state last year, an interagency fire safety group was created. The state group said the fires didn't produce any harmful toxins or migration of contaminants, but activists have questioned the findings.

The West Babylon facility would have 118 batteries each in enclosures nearly 31 feet long, nearly 6 feet wide and more than 8 feet tall, according to the company’s application. The site would "predominantly operate unmanned" 24 hours a day, the application states. It would provide energy to power about 40,000 homes, said Phil Denara, director of development for KCE.

Asked about the town’s latest action, Denara emailed a statement to Newsday saying KCE looks forward to “working with the Town, local emergency first responders and other stakeholders to understand and address their concerns as well as implement the recommendations” from the state’s fire safety group.

Denara noted the facility would provide the area with "clean, reliable energy that will help keep the lights on during extreme weather events and other times of high electricity demand.”

Town Supervisor Rich Schaffer said the town is creating a group to study the issue. He said if the moratorium is enacted, it may take longer than 6 months to come up with standards. 

“It’s so new and so involved,” he said. “It’s not a simple, straightforward issue.”

Mitchell Goldstein, an electrical engineer, said he has decades of experience working on different types of battery systems and has offered the town his expertise. Goldstein, of Melville, said the town made “a very prudent decision” to include the proposed site in the moratorium.

He said municipalities should take a “reasonable period of time to develop codes, whether it’s state codes or local codes, to ensure the fact that battery energy storage systems move forward because we need the grid support.”

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Animal cruelty case update … Riverhead farmland preservation … LIRR IOU invoices Credit: Newsday

Gilgo-related search in Manorville ... UBS Arena MTV Awards ... Jericho fatal crash ... Girls softball league

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