Call & Times

Council holds closed-door meeting on solar plan

- By JOSEPH B. NADEAU jnadeau@woonsocket­call.com Follow Joseph Nadeau on Twitter @JNad75

WOONSOCKET – The city’s work on future solar power developmen­t in the community continued behind closed doors on Monday as the City Council Renewable Energy Sub-committee held meetings with representa­tives of Green Developmen­t, LLC, and its renewable energy legal counsel.

The panel, including City Council members Jon Brien, John Ward and James Cournoyer, spent about two hours in closed session on its own and with Green’s representa­tives in the council’s second floor conference room before returning to open session and reporting no votes had been taken.

Green has been selected as the developer of four different locations in the city for a total of about 6 megawatts of generated solar power and the committee has been working out a contract on those projects with its representa­tives, according to members of the committee.

Cournoyer said the cityowned sites under discussion include land near the city’s police target range off Manville Road, the parking lot of the Career and Technical Center where a car-port array would be installed, land near the Woonsocket Housing Authority’s Bourdon Boulevard housing developmen­t, and land off Jillson Avenue near the city’s new drinking water treatment plant.

“At this point we are in negotiatio­ns with Green on a contract and the negotiatio­ns are continuing,” Cournoyer said.

The city has also received five responses to a request for proposals for proposals on the possible installati­on of an approximat­ely 3 megawatt solar array at the Rivers Edge Recreation­al Complex off Davison Street and the sub-committee has also been assessing and discussing those proposals in its closed session, he added.

The Rivers Edge developmen­t would be land the city received state and federal funding to redevelop its the former city landfill into a safely capped recreation­al site and the city has been informed the R.I. Department of Environmen­tal Management that it would have to be involved in a reconsider­ation of the existing use.

Participat­ing in the sub-committee’s talks Tuesday evening were Christian F. Capizzo, and environmen­tal and energy law and land use specialist with Partridge Snow & Hahn, LLP, as the city’s consultant, Jonathan Pratt, the city engineer, City Solicitor John J. DeSimone, and Public Works Director Steven D’Agostino.

D’Agostino declined comment on the sites under review by the panel beyond saying all were city property

“I can’t discuss that because it was all in closed session. I can’t discuss anything that we discussed,” D’Agostino said.

Brien, chairman of the sub-committee, said that all of the four sites under review with Green have already been approved for solar developmen­t by the full City Council and the sub-committee is now working on the city’s proposal contract with Green to carry out the individual projects.

“The City Council would eventually approve the contract as soon as we are done with negotiatio­ns,” Brien said.

“I would like to have had it done yesterday but we have to do our due diligence,” Brien said.

Green is a major renewable energy developer in Rhode Island and is currently involved in a massive solar array developmen­t for more than 38 megawatts of solar power generation on a 425-acre site off Iron Mine Hill Road in North Smithfield.

The North Smithfield Town Council has already approved an overlay district for the site and a tax treaty and developmen­t agreement with Green Developmen­t for the project following a long series of public meetings in that community. Town’s Planning Board will continue its public hearing on a preliminar­y plan for the developmen­t atop Whortleber­ry Hill at its meeting on Thursday.

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