RIC Energy reconfiguring Knox solar project after confused planning board vote

KNOX – After RIC Energy rejected its 4.4 megatt project in an unusual vote by the Knox Planning Board earlier this month, it decided to revamp its proposal with improvements that could reduce its impact rather than depress its claim, that the sudden absence of a planning committee member in the middle of this fateful vote should allow for a revision.

On March 12, the Knox Planning Board was voting on whether to override the Albany County Planning Board’s rejection of the project when planning committee member Debra Nelson suddenly dropped out of the video conferencing platform she was remotely using attended the meeting and later stated that she had to do so in response to a family emergency.

Without Nelson, who had previously voted for the project, the number of votes was 4 to 2, which was one vote below the five-strong super-major that would have allowed the local planning authority to approve the project, which was to be built near the project Intersection of Whipple and Thompsons Lake Streets.

RIC initially challenged the vote on the grounds that the planning authority could repeat its vote due to the special circumstances, with approval being the likely outcome. At the same time, the city claimed through its attorney, Michelle Storm, that the vote was legal and binding. The proposal remained inadmissible.

Approval manager John Reagan told The Enterprise this week that the solar developer “rather than addressing the issue” is likely to submit another proposal for the same location.

“RIC is considering revising the site map to take advantage of recent advances in solar systems that would be more efficient and less effective,” said Reagan. “If we did that, we would re-apply for site map approval and the planning board would likely follow the same review process.”

Regan stated that “recent advances” include the ability to have solar panels track the sun instead of staying pinned as in the original proposal. However, he said that “nothing has been designed yet” so details are limited.

“I don’t have a schedule to provide you with, but I would think it’s possible to redesign it in the next few months,” he said.

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