S-Power solar farm on Edwards Avenue in Calverton in May. Photo: Denise Civiletti

Looking to solve its capacity problem when several large solar farms in Calverton begin producing energy, PSEG-Long Island is scouting out land inside the Enterprise Park at Calverton for a power substation.

Councilman George Gabrielsen has been pushing the idea of an ‘energy park’ at EPCAL. Photo: Denise Civiletti

The utility is “looking very seriously” at the area of the EPCAL site Councilman George Gabrielsen has been pushing as an “energy park,” where the town has already signed an agreement with Hecate Energy to site a 7.5 megawatt solar power plant, Gabrielsen told RiverheadLOCAL this afternoon.

PSEG needs a substation in the area in order to tie new power-generating facilities into its grid, Gabrielsen said. There are currently four solar power projects being developed in Calverton, in various stages of construction or permitting.

“They don’t have the capacity to handle these projects without a new substation,” Gabrielsen said.

Newsday reported June 28 that the existing substation in Calverton is reaching its limit for new generation.

A spokesperson for PSEG-LI confirmed this afternoon that the utility company is interested in the EPCAL site.

“We’re happy to be working with the town on this,” said PSEG spokesperson Jeffrey Weir.

Gabrielsen said he, deputy town attorney Annemarie Prudenti, and town engineer Ken Testa first brought the idea to PSEG-LI a few months ago.

Map showing EPCAL 'energy park' and the four nearby solar farms now in various stages of development in Calverton.
Map showing EPCAL ‘energy park’ and the four nearby solar farms now in various stages of development in Calverton. Courtesy: Town of Riverhead

PSEG likes the location for its proximity to both the new solar projects and an existing right-of-way to the utility’s existing high-tension power lines, according to the councilman. Also, it’s a remote area, where there’s not a lot of residential development.

“There is big interest there,” Gabrielsen said.

“That’s the bullseye of the energy park,” Gabrielsen said of the location. “It’d be a home run to have a substation there.”

The utility would need five acres for the substation, which would house two transformers, the councilman said. PSEG wants to have it operational during 2016.

“They are pushing us hard to move on it,” Gabrielsen said.

The town has not yet negotiated terms with PSEG, he said. Riverhead will probably look to sign a land lease with the utility, he said. The town’s subdivision of land at the enterprise park is still not completed and the town can’t sell parcels yet outright.

The town is still waiting for the delivery of the final environmental impact statement in connection with its subdivision, proposed zoning and redevelopment plan for the Calverton Enterprise Park site.

Gabrielsen remains excited about the prospects for an energy park at EPCAL. He said the Long Island Power Authority is expected to issue, before the end of this month, a request for proposals for another 180 megawatts of energy generated by fuel cells and solar facilities. EPCAL will be very competitive in the next round of awards if a substation is built there, because there are not enough substations to handle the new power sources being built on Long Island.

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