Westchester residents join Putnam neighbors to oppose proposed Carmel battery plant

East Point Energy is holding a virtual community webinar on May 2 to answer community questions.

Jonathan Gordon

Apr 24, 2024, 12:20 AM

Updated 24 days ago


A proposed 116-megawatt battery energy storage system in Putnam County has now upset many homeowners to the south in Westchester County.
Late last year, green energy supplier East Point Energy, submitted plans to build the facility on an undeveloped wooded area in Mahopac along the two county lines.
The project includes constructing a system of gravel driveways, two pads for battery storage, two substations, and landscaping and stormwater drainage. According to the developer, the batteries would be stored in enclosures similar to shipping containers and connected to the NYSEG transmission lines.
The purpose of the project is to allow utility company NYSEG to store electricity during off-peak hours and dispatch it back to customers during "peak" demand hours to prevent blackouts.
The proposal has received pushback at several previous planning board meetings in the Town of Carmel but now residents in the Town of Somers are joining the fight.
"It does not belong over here," says 40-year Somers homeowner Roland Ciofrone.
Ciofrone took News 12 to the back of his property, where a stone wall outlines the border between Westchester and Putnam counties. The proposed facility would sit roughly 200 feet from there.
"[It's] too big and out of place," he said. "Too dangerous and out of place."
He and other residents are raising several concerns about the plan, including environmental hazards, potential air and water contamination and the potential for fires.
"This is nothing but horrific what they're even thinking about doing," Ciofrone's neighbor Paul Harold said. "There's not a good thing about this."
This week, Westchester Legislature Chairman Vedat Gashi whose district includes Somers sent a letter to the Town of Carmel Planning Department which has the power to move the project along.
Gashi says the plans show the project is closer to homes in Somers than any homes in Putnam County.
"They put it in an area where there aren't going to be residences on that side but on this side ignoring completely the fact that how many households line that street," he said. "Right there. Right over that imaginary border."
He expressed frustration that any direct control of the situation he has ends where the next county line begins.
"Even if it isn't my decision to make it impacts so sincerely the families here in Somers that I think that it's incumbent upon us to make sure that those voices are heard," he said.
Gashi called on the town planning board to notify all residents within 500 feet about the project, allow Somers to participate in the environmental review process, and allow Westchester residents to tour the site.
A spokesperson for East Point Energy told News 12 in a statement: "Safety is East Point Energy’s top priority - the safety of our projects, our people, and the communities in which our projects are located. We are committed to responsibly developing the proposed project."
East Point Energy is holding a virtual community webinar on May 2 to answer community questions.
A spokesperson for the Carmel Planning Board did not have a comment on the letter.
The next planning board meeting is scheduled for Wednesday, April 24, but the proposed energy plant is not on the agenda.

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