A New Jersey renewable energy company has cleared a major step in developing a hydroelectric site on Sewall’s Island, and Convalt Energy’s application for a hydro plant has been rejected, Councilman Patrick J. Hickey informed the city council on Monday.
The New Jersey company, LinkPast Solutions, was recently notified that the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission has “accepted” its preliminary permit application to build two hydro plants on Sewall’s Island and develop recreational kayaking opportunities.
Plans call for construction of two buildings that would house the hydro plants near the site of an abandoned plant on Sewall’s Island on the Black River and demolishing of an existing dam. All that is left of that plant is a skeleton of a building.
According to a Dec. 14 letter to LinkPast Solutions, the “sole purpose of a preliminary permit, if issued, is to grant the permit holder to file a license application during the permit term.” FERC now starts soliciting comments about the project for the next 60 days.
Hickey was recently searching on the FERC website when he learned about the status of LinkPast’s application project, saying it was “absolutely” a major step in the process.
He brought up the company’s application during Monday night’s council meeting.
“I would highly suggest the city begins a dialogue with LinkPast and develop a cooperative joint venture to develop Sewall’s Island,” he said Monday night.
LinkPast is developing five hydroelectric generating facilities in the greater Watertown area, he said. In addition to the two on Sewall’s Island, the company also plans to build three others along the Black River, called the Great Mills Hydro Project.
LinkPast Solutions is a new company, with the Sewall’s Island and Great Mills proposals its first venture into renewable energy.
Hickey said the city missed out on pursuing its own project on the island because it “didn’t have the vision” to do so. City officials were worried about its cost, rather than the importance of a second city-owned hydro plant, he said.
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