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Letter: Niagara County taxpayers will miss solar benefits

As I sit here drinking my Sunday morning coffee while reading the July 15 editorial “Embrace The Sun” concerning the proposed 900 acre solar farm in Niagara County, I can’t help but chuckle over two thoughts going through my head. The first is how New York State is going to give the royal shaft to Cambria, Pendleton and Niagara County (i.e.,; just as it did to Niagara Falls with casino funds) over the proposed solar farm, and the second, where the proposed solar farm power will go. The answer to the latter is simple – just look at where the power from the Robert Moses Power Plant doesn’t go.

While it is likely possible that this project could generate enough power to light up 25,000 homes, you can bet your last dime none of those homes will be in Niagara County. Just like in Niagara Falls, where the state confiscated land through eminent domain, I wouldn’t be surprised if they did the same thing in Pendleton and Cambria. After all, we’re talking about $562,500 per year or $22.5 million over the term of the lease just for the use of the land. We all know too well New York’s thirst for land revenue.

Cypress Creek, the California company proposing to build this solar farm and sell the power to National Grid, will also have to deal with NYS over their “cut” of power. This is where it may get interesting. New York State wants half of its energy to come from renewable resources by 2030. With this proposed project, one of the three stakeholders will have to cave in.

You see, I have a solar panel system. National Grid charges me on average $0.60 per kilowatt for power I use from their grid. The power generated from my system goes to National Grid and they credit me $0.013 per kilowatt. That’s about a penny per kilowatt.

Why am I pointing this out? National Grid won’t want to pay a premium, Cypress Creek won’t want to give it away or sell it for less than a premium, and New York State will come in and take what they want. The loser in this will be the taxpayers. They will get shafted just like the citizens of Niagara Falls were over the casino money.

Tom Destino

North Tonawanda

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