Invenergy seeks Brookhaven IDA assistance

A Chicago-based owner/operator of energy storage and generation projects across North America and Europe is looking to shine in Shoreham.

And Invenergy – whose portfolio includes wind, solar and natural gas-fueled power facilities in Poland, Scotland and the United States – wants the Brookhaven Industrial Development Agency’s assistance as it establishes Shoreham Solar Commons, a 24.9 megawatt solar farm proposed for roughly 150 acres of the Tallgrass Golf Course property.

According to an application accepted Thursday by the IDA, Invenergy is requesting tax relief as it constructs its solar farm adjacent to the Shoreham Solar Farm, a separate, 9.5 megawatt farm being constructed along Route 25A.

A 2015 land-use application Invenergy filed with the Town of Brookhaven suggests Shoreham Solar Commons will employee roughly 200 people during a year-long construction process that could begin as soon as this spring. But before construction can begin, the Illinois-based company – billed as North America’s largest independent wind-power generation company – is hoping for some IDA love.

Shoreham Solar Commons must also survive a public-hearing process, noted Brookhaven Economic Development Director Lisa Mulligan.

That hearing could be contentious. Local reaction to Shoreham solar-farm proposals hasn’t always been favorable. But Mulligan, who was careful to note that the IDA board decides the merits of each application individually, said the development agency’s acceptance of Invenergy’s tax-relief application was “certainly a positive step.”

“Our board accepted the application, so that means it’s definitely interested,” Mulligan told Innovate LI.

Just what tax incentives Invenergy might enjoy in Shoreham remains to be seen. While the Brookhaven IDA does have a standard tax-relief package at the ready for manufacturers and distributors – typically a 10-year pilot program featuring sales-tax and recording-tax exemptions – Invenergy’s deal, if there is one, will be “a little bit different,” according to Mulligan.

The details will be negotiated by the IDA board and revealed at a later date, she added, possibly at the next Brookhaven IDA meeting, scheduled for April 20.

Mulligan also could not say for certain when Shoreham Solar Commons would get its public vetting, noting only that it “could happen” before that April IDA meeting.