top of page

Carmel to Discuss Battery Farm Ban

By Holly Crocco

The Carmel Town Board will vote during its May 15 meeting on a resolution to hold a public hearing regarding a possible moratorium on lithium battery farms.

Residents of Mahopac and Carmel, as well as Somers, have expressed concerns over the development of a lithium battery farm on the county line, which includes a 116-megawatt battery energy storage system, two substations and two enclosure pads.

The proposed Union Energy Center, a grid-scale energy storage system project on a 93.5-acre parcel of land off Miller and Union Valley roads in Mahopac, adjacent to the border of the Town of Somers, is currently before the planning board.

According to the developer, East Point Energy of Charlottesville, Va., the project is meant to reduce some of the strain on the regional electric grid, which would be helpful during blackouts, and also alleviate some costs to both the electric utility and consumers. The system would be connected directly to the electricity grid in Mahopac, where it is under operation of New York State Electric & Gas.

During the May 8 Carmel Town Board meeting, Town Supervisor Mike Cazzari explained that after Councilman Frank Lombari researched state regulations regarding moratoriums, the town reached out to other local municipalities that have implemented moratoriums, as well as legal counsel, and learned that such action may be doable.

“We’d like to do a public hearing, and we’ll discuss a moratorium on the large-scale battery farms, and we’ll see if their legal opinions are right, and if anyone can sue us,” he said. “And let’s see if we can sustain it.”

After weeks of bitter back-and-forth between the residents and the board, neighbors said they were happy to learn of the board’s actions.

“Just in case you don’t hear it enough, thank you for hearing us, our neighbors, and trying to be proactive to catch up to something that kind of smacked us all in the face,” said Jennifer Cargain. “I appreciate your attention to this, in bringing this moratorium, and hopefully it works to put the brakes on something that I think is very hazardous to everybody here.”

Joyce Lambert said the town’s zoning codes, laws and requirements are antiquated.

“They were created way before the new technology of lithium-ion batteries,” she said. There is an ongoing race by corporate America to obtain permits to build these green energy facilities before new zoning ordinances affect their opportunity to build these facilities… It is this board’s responsibility to protect the people by approving a moratorium to allow a thorough environmental study to be completed.”


bottom of page