Pictured Above: The proposed site of a BESS system on Oregon Road in Cutchogue, which was the subject of two public hearings in December of 2022.

The Southold Town Board will consider a 12-month moratorium on Battery Energy Storage Systems (BESS) while developing town code to regulate such facilities, Town Supervisor Scott Russell announced on the afternoon of Jan. 12, just prior to a forum on BESS systems scheduled for this evening by the Cutchogue Civic Association.

The Supervisor said the Town Board will discuss the proposed moratorium at its next work session Jan. 17.

This action comes as the town’s Planning and Zoning boards are in the midst of reviewing a proposal by Key Capture Energy for a BESS system on a swath of farmland on Oregon Road in Cutchogue that has met with a great deal of public opposition.

The Cutchogue Civic Association forum will be held this evening, Jan. 12, from 6 to 8 p.m. at the Peconic Recreation Center on Peconic Lane.

Speakers will include a representative from Key Capture Energy, Nick Petrakis of the FDNY Energy Response Group, Rudy Sunderman of the Suffolk County Fire Academy and Ian Latimer, a Senior Project Manager with the New York State Energy Research Development Agency (NYSERDA).

Mr. Latimer will be providing a technical overview of battery energy storage systems along with an overview of programs, policies and state resources available. The representatives from the FDNY and the Suffolk County Fire Academy will discuss the training of responders with regards to these facilities. The public is welcome to attend.

“Battery Energy Storage Systems facilities are a key component for the viability and promotion of renewable energy sources; however, the technology of these systems is still in its infancy,” according to a press release issued by Mr. Russell Thursday afternoon. “It is imperative that the town undertake a thorough examination of these systems to identify any possible threats to public health, safety and welfare as well as evaluate the potential for environmental degradation. These issues are of great public concern and it is important that the potential for any risks is thoughtfully reviewed with in-depth analysis and that mitigation measures are identified to ensure our goals of the protection of our community and of our environment.”

Mr. Russell said the code changes will determine criteria for future siting, site design and safety requirements. He added that NYSERDA recommends the town create a Battery Energy Storage Task Force, which would include representatives from the community, businesses, the renewable energy industry, battery storage industry, environmental organizations and municipal officials. The task force would be charged with creating an action plan that will be adopted as an addition to the Town’s Comprehensive Plan,

“While BESS facilities will have an important role in the future for the viability of renewable energy on a large scale, like any new technology, human and environmental impacts much be evaluated prior to land use inclusion,” he added. “Such code for inclusion requires certain steps be taken by the New York State Energy Research Development Authority. A 12-month moratorium will provide the time necessary to comply with that directive.”

The supervisor’s full press release is online here.          

Beth Young
Beth Young is an award-winning local journalist who has been covering the East End since the 1990s. She began her career at the Sag Harbor Express and, after receiving her Masters from the Columbia University Graduate School of Journalism, has reported for the Southampton Press, the East Hampton Press and the Times/Review Media Group. She founded the East End Beacon website in 2013, and a print edition in 2017. Beth was born and raised on the North Fork. In her spare time, she tinkers with bicycles, tries not to drown in the Peconic Bay and hopes to grow the perfect tomato. You can send her a message at editor@eastendbeacon.com

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Please prove you're human: