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Earlier this month, the Town of Somerset passed a law regulating the use of industrial grade battery storage systems. Debates involving how industrial grade batteries should be used has been wrapped into the larger debate in rural Niagara County involving the permitting of solar farms.

Opposition to industrial grade batteries often stems from arguments of preventing negative impacts on the environment.

Lockport Supervisor Mark Crocker stated that the town has no current plan in place involving industrial batteries. Crocker stated that there hasn’t been a need to implement new regulations, on the grounds that the current solar farm batteries in Lockport haven’t been big enough to warrant regulation. In the event that New York state does implement more thorough requirements for how solar farms are managed, then Lockport would likely make the needed updates.

“New York state has not finalized their laws in regards to solar,” said Crocker. “Until they settle their laws, we can’t settle ours.”

The Town of Cambria is in the process of drafting a potential bill for regulating batteries due to alleged dangers from the industrial grade versions.

“The biggest concern with the large-scale batteries is public health and safety,” said Cambria Supervisor Wright Ellis. “They all have dangers, not the least of which is disposal. We’re very concerned about large-scale battery storage that would be associated with industrial sized solar emplacements.”

Assuming the draft of the bill is completed on time, then a public hearing on it could be held in February at the next Cambria town board meeting. 

In the Town of Hartland, zoning laws have already been implemented to prevent industrial-scale batteries from being set up in the town. Hartland Supervisor Ross Annable still wants anything involving larger batteries to adhere to existing New York state guidelines.

“The state has put together laws and regulations on these batteries, so we would probably follow along with those safety guidelines,” said Annable. “Of course, it would also be up to our attorneys to detail that for any upcoming laws that we might enact.”

Supervisors in the towns of Royalton, Pendleton, Newfane and Wilson, were also reached out to on the issue of industrial batteries, but did not respond by the time of publication.

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