May 13—CAMBRIA — Town board members heard from one member of the public Thursday night at its public hearing on a proposed local law that would regulate battery energy storage systems in the town.
In front of an audience of 10, Tim Walk, consulting engineer from Wendel, gave a brief summary of the new law, dubbed Battery Energy Storage Systems Local Law No. 2 of 2022.
Energy storage systems are becoming more of an interest to solar renewable energy companies, Supervisor Wright Ellis said, which prompted the town board to write a law to control the use of such batteries.
Walck said the local law encompasses three tiers of energy storage systems.
The first tier is a battery that is capable of storing up to 600 kilowatt work hours and cannot store more than 110% of two days of energy use. The tier also stipulates that the battery must be contained in an existing principal building. Installation of such a battery would require a building permit from the town.
"The first tier is a tier that would be typical if someone had solar at their house or at their business for personal use," Walck said.
Tier two would include energy storage systems that use more than 600 kilowatt work hours, are comprised of more than one battery in an enclosed area or are located outside a primary building and may be permitted in an accessory building. The storage limit remains 110% of two days' energy use. For this tier a special use permit and site plan approval would be required.
Tier three battery storage systems could not exceed 1 megawatt. Also, they could not be standalone systems and they must be associated with a tier-three or tier-four solar energy system, which primarily feed into the utility grid. Batteries for such systems would have to be housed in a "dedicated use building" and a special use permit and site plan approval would be required.
Sharon Tasner, vice president of Cambria Opposes Industrial Solar (COIS), attended the public hearing and asked whether the tier-three designation would include Cypress Creek Renewables' proposed Bear Ridge Solar project.
Ellis said that unless Cypress Creek introduced a battery system in its application to the state Office of Renewable Energy Siting (ORES), which it did not, the inclusion of any energy storage battery system would be held to local laws.
Tasner said later that COIS is continuing to monitor the Bear Ridge project. Cypress Creek's application is now being reviewed by ORES.
"When it's approved, that will be our call to action," she said.
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