The Town of Brookhaven Planning Board has approved the Middle Island Solar Farm’s phasing plan – at least, a scaled-down version of what company officials still consider “a significant renewable-energy project on Long Island.”
The company had originally proposed a nearly mile-long array of 67,000 solar panels for a 100-acre wooded lot – zoned for industrial uses – along Moriches-Middle Island Road, slightly east of Brookhaven-Calabro Airport.
That solar farm would be capable of generating approximately 19.2 megawatts of renewable electricity for distribution directly into the PSEG-Long Island power grid – a giant leap toward fossil-fuel reductions with job-creation and public-health benefits to boot, according to the MISF website.
Those claims have been a point of contention throughout the MISF application process, which has been further slowed by political jockeying in Albany over a state law that would forbid the development. Project managers have withdrawn and resubmitted their plans to the Planning Board, the board has tabled its vote more than once and, last summer, MISF Managing Partner Gerald Rosengarten blasted the entire approval process, which he deemed “rotten.”
In a statement Tuesday afternoon, Rosengarten struck a different tone, noting solar farm officials were “pleased” with the Planning Board’s decision to permit construction on the 40 acres – although he noted that partial approval came “after six years of preparation and planning which led to a fully approved [environmental impact statement] and unanimous project approval by the town in 2017.”
“We are excited to be able to get underway with the first phase on the Mastic property,” Rosengarten added. “This milestone will bring Long Islanders one step closer to cleaner air quality and a more renewable local-energy infrastructure.”
Noting strong support from “the state’s leading environmental advocates,” the managing partner indicated work would begin at the site – which has already been cleared of trees and is ready for construction – imminently.
“As we begin work on the initial 40 acres … we are committed to a constructive dialogue with state and local officials on the remaining phases of the project,” Rosengarten said in the statement.