Synnergy Solar, LLC
Hamilton Township (Mercer County), New Jersey - Synnergy Solar, LLC is proposing to construct a 4.1 MW solar array field on a 38.2 acs site located at the confluence of the Assunpink Creek and its tributary, the Miry Run.
While the Delaware Riverkeeper Network (DRN) is a strong and out-spoken advocate for solar energy, the selected location of this streamside project has raised concerns. Prior land uses at this site were industrial and farming. Today, however, the site is covered with a successional forest, wetlands and some potential vernal pools. If constructed, nearly 60% of the solar panels would be located in the protected, forested riparian buffer area and would require the cutting of 820 large trees ((10” diameter breast height (DBH).)) Those large trees will be mitigated for, but all the other critically important plants (i.e smaller trees, shrubs and ground cover) that make-up a riparian buffer and provide the water quality, flood protection and wildlife habitat benefits will be lost and not accounted for after construction.
The applicant has made some accommodations reducing the riparian buffer impact from 12.5 acs. to approximately 11.5 acres. That is still a lot and still well into the regulatory protected zone. As a result, the applicant is still seeking waivers for Hamilton Townships Stream Buffer Conservation Zone and the Forest Preservation Ordinance. DRN has retained the stormwater engineering expertise of Princeton Hydro to more fully assess the total and cumulative impact this project, if allowed to proceed as proposed, would have on impacted streams and downstream flooding.
GET INFORMED: The proposed development application, waiver request, Environmental Impact Statement and other relevant documents are available for public viewing in the links below. Please review and bring your questions and concerns.
The Synnergy Solar project will next be heard by the Planning Board at 7:00PM on January 24, 2019.
Hamilton Township will experience the environmental impacts of this project, but the economic benefit will go elsewhere - the electrical power generated by Synnergy is contracted to the Ewing Lawrence Sewer Authority's treatment plant. While the Delaware Riverkeeper Network is a strong advocate of clean energy, including solar, it cannot come at the expense of the natural streams that sustain us and our environment. There are many good locations where solar can be placed, in a place that requires extensive cutting of a riparian forest cannot be one of them.