Blooming Grove Puts A Hold On Stationary Battery Storage Systems
By Edie Johnson
This week’s Blooming Grove Town Board Meeting began with a Public Hearing for adoption of a local law that will implement a moratorium on permitting, construction and installation of any and all stationary storage battery systems within the Town of Blooming Grove. The moratorium will not affect the town’s existing solar code.
It seems like it was just yesterday that residential communities had solar systems beginning to pop up on rooftops, and a few larger ground mounts here and there. Now that they have become more commonplace, some who are concerned about protecting their energy needs and costs are looking to add battery systems to store the energy their solar systems are generating, so that in the event of an outage they can maintain utility power. The kinds, sizes, potential uses and power capacities of these battery storage systems are as varied as the minds that create them. Some countries in Europe, particularly Germany, have sold battery backup systems for a decade or so. But in this country they are still relatively rare. Being relatively rare there no known towns in our area that have building codes established to make sure they operate safely and in any event of emergency, can be accessed by fire and police, and have immediate shutoff controls. Batteries can present a fire hazard, and rural homes that want a sizeable backup system are often relatively inaccessible, so emergency access would be a primary concern. In some even more rural areas, rugged individuals even try to assembly their own backup system.
(Some questionable “off the grid” battery systems ) popular out in the Mid-West.
Meanwhile, with no code in the town to control their use, no code in any nearby municipalities and in fact no New York State code, the town can lead on this issue for others municipalities. Solar batteries can be lithium ion, lead acid, flow or aqueous hybrid ion, so understanding the technology is complex. Lead acid batteries emit gases, posing a ventilation issue. Quality and safety can vary between manufacturers. That being said, it will take some time for the town’s building department, engineers and officials to do the necessary research, go over every possible scenario and determine what conditions can be set into new law that will keep residents safe. Until that is accomplished NO stationary battery storage systems will be allowed.
Orange and Rockland Utilities has already given the town notice that these storage systems are an ‘up and coming thing’, While there is already a draft in the works, they are eager for Blooming Grove to craft a relevant law.
Smaller Residential Battery Backup
Phase 2 of Lasser Park Athletic Field Construction
Work is beginning on a large new field that will be suitable for multiple uses. Suburban Excavating came in with the lowest quote to start work at $6,950.00. More on athletic field developments coming soon. But with the town’s own highway department chipping in on the work, and free clean fill being obtained from excavating being done at Beaver Dam Lake (outside of the lake, so no PFA risk) significant savings are expected. Any tree removal must be done by April 1.
CPR, AED and Safety Training will be offered on March 27, 2019 at the Town of Blooming Grove Ambulance Site (behind Stewarts in Washingtonville). Town employees are being encouraged to attend in large enough numbers that someone adequately trained is likely to be available in the event of a health emergency. The cost at the site will be $10.00 per person for CPR and AED and an additional $20 for First Aid and Safety. Police and town camp counselors are required to have current certificates showing they have updated training.
Highway Department – A huge excavator that has had little use because of its weight and lack of tracks (has wheels that sink when off road), is going to be traded in for a smaller one on tracks. Given that it is expected to save the town about the same amount as the difference between the old machine and new one because of the work it will allow the town to do without expensive excavation rentals, its cost over the next year is expected to be minimal at most.