Southold Town has extended a moratorium on battery energy storage...

Southold Town has extended a moratorium on battery energy storage systems for another year.  Credit: Randee Daddona

Southold Town has extended a pause on battery energy storage systems for another year, further delaying a proposal to build a facility in Cutchogue.

The town board first enacted the 12-month moratorium in 2023 to buy time for a task force to study the emerging technology amid safety concerns and issue a report. That moratorium was set to expire April 11, according to town officials.

Board members on March 26 voted 5-0, with one member absent, to extend the moratorium.

Michael Macco, a member of the task force, said a draft report could be submitted to the town board as early as next month.

Key Capture Energy, an Albany-based renewable energy company, wants to build a 60-megawatt facility on farmland on Oregon Road in Cutchogue, according to an application filed with the town planning department in May 2022. The property is industrially zoned, but town code does not explicitly permit battery storage facilities. Residents have expressed concerns about environmental and safety impacts, including how fire departments would respond to emergencies at the site. 

The company also has plans for a 50-megawatt facility next to a LIPA substation in Babylon, Newsday previously reported. 

Fires at three battery storage facilities last year, including one in East Hampton, prompted several towns to enact moratoriums. The facilities complement renewable solar and wind energy systems because they can store energy to meet peak demand.

The towns of Southampton and Huntington have moratoriums in place. Babylon, Islip and Oyster Bay are considering them. 

Phil Denara, director of development for the energy firm, said in a statement the company “remains eager” to work with the town, first responders and other stakeholders to address concerns while the moratorium is active.

“Battery energy storage will provide Southold and other communities across Long Island with clean, reliable energy that will help keep the lights on during extreme weather events and other times of high electricity demand,” he said.

A 60-megawatt project could power roughly 50,000 homes, according to KCE public affairs manager Chris Linsmayer.

At a March 26 public hearing, Southold residents spoke in favor of the extension.

Tracy Levy, 64, of Laurel, supports the moratorium but would rather see no battery storage systems built in the area.

“It’s not worth gambling the beauty of Oregon Road or, for that matter, the entire North Fork on a technology that is changing rapidly,” Levy said.

In February, state officials released preliminary recommendations for battery storage facilities. The report suggested requiring developers to fund reviews, enhance safety monitoring and require  “qualified personnel” be available to dispatch within 15 minutes of a reported fire and able to arrive on the scene within four hours.

Southold Town has extended a pause on battery energy storage systems for another year, further delaying a proposal to build a facility in Cutchogue.

The town board first enacted the 12-month moratorium in 2023 to buy time for a task force to study the emerging technology amid safety concerns and issue a report. That moratorium was set to expire April 11, according to town officials.

Board members on March 26 voted 5-0, with one member absent, to extend the moratorium.

Michael Macco, a member of the task force, said a draft report could be submitted to the town board as early as next month.

Key Capture Energy, an Albany-based renewable energy company, wants to build a 60-megawatt facility on farmland on Oregon Road in Cutchogue, according to an application filed with the town planning department in May 2022. The property is industrially zoned, but town code does not explicitly permit battery storage facilities. Residents have expressed concerns about environmental and safety impacts, including how fire departments would respond to emergencies at the site. 

The company also has plans for a 50-megawatt facility next to a LIPA substation in Babylon, Newsday previously reported. 

Fires at three battery storage facilities last year, including one in East Hampton, prompted several towns to enact moratoriums. The facilities complement renewable solar and wind energy systems because they can store energy to meet peak demand.

The towns of Southampton and Huntington have moratoriums in place. Babylon, Islip and Oyster Bay are considering them. 

Phil Denara, director of development for the energy firm, said in a statement the company “remains eager” to work with the town, first responders and other stakeholders to address concerns while the moratorium is active.

“Battery energy storage will provide Southold and other communities across Long Island with clean, reliable energy that will help keep the lights on during extreme weather events and other times of high electricity demand,” he said.

A 60-megawatt project could power roughly 50,000 homes, according to KCE public affairs manager Chris Linsmayer.

At a March 26 public hearing, Southold residents spoke in favor of the extension.

Tracy Levy, 64, of Laurel, supports the moratorium but would rather see no battery storage systems built in the area.

“It’s not worth gambling the beauty of Oregon Road or, for that matter, the entire North Fork on a technology that is changing rapidly,” Levy said.

In February, state officials released preliminary recommendations for battery storage facilities. The report suggested requiring developers to fund reviews, enhance safety monitoring and require  “qualified personnel” be available to dispatch within 15 minutes of a reported fire and able to arrive on the scene within four hours.

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