WATERLOO — Joe Wukitsch has been raising questions and concerns about the Trelina Solar Energy Center in the two years since it was proposed.
One of his questions was why the two ad hoc positions on the seven-member New York State Board on Electric Generation Siting and the Environment were not filled. He applied but was not selected after Randy Neth and Rich Swinehart were named; Neth declined the appointment.
Now, Gov. Andrew Cuomo has appointed Wukitsch to one of the ad hoc seats on the siting board. He informed Wukitsch in a Feb. 8 letter, saying his appointment was based upon the recommendation of an unidentified local municipality.
“I am gratified you have accepted this appointment and I am confident you will serve the people of New York State with dedication and distinction,” Cuomo said in the correspondence.
Swinehart, Neth and Wukitsch all live on Packwood Road, which borders the land where the 80-megawatt Trelina facility would be built.
“I will try to educate the public about this project and about the need to be transparent about the benefits to the community and green energy,” Wukitsch said Monday. “I will review the environmental impacts, but also have questions about the benefits to the community in terms of energy costs, jobs, and any host or PILOT agreements before a license is granted.”
In a related matter, the siting board will accept public comments on Trelina’s application for a certificate of environmental compatibility and public need in separate sessions today, Feb. 16, at 1 p.m. and 6 p.m. The hearings will be conducted virtually, with state examiners Michael Caruso and Sean Mullaley presiding, at www.webex.com.
Those wanting to comment had to pre-register.
Anyone interested in listening to the hearings without making a statement can watch at www.dps.ny.gov (the YouTube icon is at the bottom of the homepage) or view it at a later date. Those without internet access can call (518) 549-0500 and enter the access code of 179 259 0452 for the 1 p.m. session or 179 335 8780 for the 6 p.m. session.
People also can comment by regular mail to Michelle L. Phillips, Secretary, New York State Board on Electric Generation Siting and the Environment, 3 Empire State Plaza, Albany, 12223-1350, or email email@example.com. Those comments should be received by March 12.
Florida-based Trelina wants to build its facility in the area of Packwood and Serven roads and Pre-Emption Street in the west end of the town of Waterloo. The company would lease about 400 acres from a private owner. The power generated would be added to the grid at New York State Electric and Gas’ facilities on Border City Road.