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Proposed solar project at landfill has other companies interested in site

A proposal by a Virginia-based company to construct a solar array at the Southold Town landfill has sparked renewed interest among other entities, town officials said.

Councilman Bob Ghosio said at a work session Tuesday that the interest now stretches beyond solar companies and suggested the town issue a broad Request for Proposals in order to weigh its options. 

“Now that we’ve got some renewed interest, some of it in different technologies, I think we need to do what’s right for the town,” Mr. Ghosio said.

Last month, Mr. Ghosio presented a proposal by Summit Ridge Energy to construct a 6-megawatt solar array at the landfill. The company has developed solar arrays at five other capped landfills in the northeast.

Town Supervisor Scott Russell said he believes the greatest interest lies in companies looking to mount battery storage units in anticipation of the burgeoning wind energy industry.

New York State officials are aiming to create 9,000 megawatts of offshore wind by 2035 and recently approved an 880-megawatt offshore wind project to be built 30 miles east of Montauk Point. State officials have identified Greenport as a possible location to serve as a staging area for employees who will work on the eventual wind farm, though no decision has been made yet. In 2018, a 5-megawatt battery storage facility opened in East Hampton to provide a power boost during peak demand times.

Battery storage facilities help store and discharge power generated by renewable energy. 

“[Wind turbines] produce a lot of energy that you can’t use at the time, so you’ve got to store it some place,” Mr. Ghosio said. “It’s all part of that infrastructure.”

The supervisor noted that wind turbine projects would not be permitted at the landfill since the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation has concerns over the cap.

Councilman Jim Dinizio said his main concern is finding the most efficient use of the land while also generating income that would directly impact taxpayers. The board could issue the RFP at its next meeting Feb. 25.