WATERLOO — Trelina Solar Energy Center LLC has made $28,000 available to parties that want to intervene in the Article 10 Preliminary Scoping Statement process for the company’s proposed 80 megawatt solar farm in the west end of the town of Waterloo.
The town has applied for the entire amount. The New York State Board on Electric Generation Siting and the Environment requires that at least 50 percent of the $28,000 be reserved for municipal government use.
The Article 10 state process takes the project review and land use approval responsibilities from the town Planning Board and Zoning Board of Appeals. The intervenor funding is a way to allow the local governments to participate in the process.
Trelina, a subsidiary of NextEra Energy Resources of Juno Beach, Fla., filed the scoping statement — also called a PSS — on Oct. 10. The town applied for the intervenor funds Nov. 15.
In its application, the town says it wants to use the money to obtain legal services from the Benjamin & James law firm, town attorneys, that goes beyond their normal course of legal services. The town also wants to use the money to hire MRB Group of Rochester for engineering and technical assistance and consulting services on the project.
The Benjamin & James law firm of Waterloo anticipates spending $13,500 of the intervenor funds, based on $225 per hour. MRB Group estimates it will spend the remaining $14,500 in the pre-application process, based on hourly rates ranging from $65 to $189 per hour.
Attorney Dennis Benjamin said his law firm will:
• Provide legal counsel regarding Article 10 requirements;
• Review the PSS and related documents;
• Assess compliance with local laws;
• Prepare town comments on the PSS;
• Coordinate and file town submittals;
• Participate in open houses scheduled by Trelina officials;
• Prepare quarterly intervenor fund reports and other intervenor fund compliance documents;
• Review the draft and final stipulations, agency comments to stipulations and participate in stipulations conferences.
The MRB Group said it will provide these services to the town in the pre-application process:
• Review and comment on the PSS and related agency comments;
• Attend open house meetings sponsored by Trelina;
• Attend community meetings sponsored by the town to assist in educating the public about the project and the Article 10 process;
• Prepare comments to include with the town comments on the PSS;
• Review and comment on the draft and final stipulations, agency comments to the stipulations and participate in stipulation conferences;
A state administrative law judge assigned to the case will conduct a conference to initiate the stipulation process in which Trelina and other parties may negotiate and agree upon refining studies and other issues to be addressed in the Article 10 application. Trelina will use the result of the studies it conducts to prepare the application, which will be filed no less than 90 days after the PSS was filed, which is Jan. 10.
The Siting Board will then determine if the application is compliant with filing requirements. If it is deemed compliant, the Siting Board is required to render a decision on the application within 12 months. Additional intervenor funds of $80,000 will accompany the application.
The presiding examiner will schedule a pre-hearing conference to identify intervenors, award intervenor funds, identify issues for the hearing and establish a case schedule, which will include a public hearing. After the hearings, intervenors may submit briefs to the judge, who will issue a recommended decision to the Siting Board, which will then render a final decision.