Some residents oppose proposed project

Battery storage facility sparks controversy


The prospect of a massive battery storage unit looming over Glenwood Landing has sparked a heated debate among residents, town officials, and the proposing company, Jupiter Power.

The proposed Oyster Shore Energy Storage, a 275-megawatt battery energy storage system, has ignited concerns about its safety, environmental impact, and community welfare. The proposal, set to replace the current Global Petroleum terminal, has faced substantial pushback from residents and officials alike.

Town of Oyster Bay Supervisor Joseph Saladino emphasized the need for caution, citing the absence of finalized state guidelines on such facilities and recent safety concerns following fires at commercial battery storage sites across New York.

Saladino also highlighted the town's decision to implement a six-month moratorium on the project, a temporary suspension of activity and development until the government feels it is informed enough to make a long-term decision on the project.

The supervisor added that the moratorium would provide time for comprehensive research, public feedback, and state assessments. This decision, Saladino emphasized, prioritizes public safety and informed decision-making.

“There are many different types of technologies, and we want to know what the safety parameters are and we want to know what makes sense,” Saladino said. “So a moratorium protects our residents and protects the town, because we believe that we need more information first, instead of just making decisions, especially on such a large facility.”

Residents have expressed frustration over the lack of transparency and community engagement regarding the project. At the April 9 town board meeting, several Glenwood Landing residents voiced concerns about inadequate notification and the potential risks posed by the facility's proximity to schools, parks, and residential areas.

Beth Costello, a resident who organized a petition opposing the project, shared her fear of the unknown consequences of hosting such a large-scale facility in their community.

“What’s released into our community, what leeches into Hempstead Harbor, it’s not just going to affect Glenwood Landing,” Costello said. “It’s going to affect Sea Cliff, Roslyn Harbor, Port Washington, even right here in Oyster Bay.”

Christine Pangeca, another concerned resident, raised questions about Jupiter Power's ownership, lobbying efforts, and the long-term environmental impact of the proposed project. She was especially concerned about the impact on the health and safety of the community. She also requested more public information on Jupiter Power and their long-term goals for the facility.

Pangeca emphasized the danger of a “thermal runaway,” where a fire sparked by one battery can easily spread and then cascade into a wide scale, hard to put out electric fire. She said she was also concerned about where the batteries were being made, and whether they were being made abroad, as the global supply chain can leave countries at risk of political pressure when a resource they need is out of their control.

“I understand that our goal is to get renewable energy, but I think we should learn lessons from the past,” Pangeca said. “We shouldn’t run into projects, just looking at the top headline saying ‘renewable energy is the way of the future’ until we look at all angles of this and we have extensive studies.”

Jupiter Power, on its website, emphasizes the benefits of battery storage, including supporting renewable energy sources, meeting customer demand, and maintaining grid stability. The company touts the Oyster Shore Energy Storage project as a significant investment that will improve regional grid reliability, support renewable energy integration, and generate local government revenue.

Despite these purported benefits, residents remain skeptical, demanding transparency, accountability, and rigorous safety measures from Jupiter Power and local officials. The proposed facility's potential impact on air quality, public health, and environmental stability has fueled community opposition, prompting calls for more extensive studies and public discourse.

In response to resident concerns, Supervisor Saladino reiterated the town's commitment to thorough evaluation, community input, and adherence to legal protocols. He encouraged residents to engage with Jupiter Power representatives and participate in public hearings throughout the moratorium process to ensure their voices are heard.

Saladino added that he has thus far only heard negative responses from residents regarding the construction of the facility in Glenwood Landing, and as of Tuesday 750 people have signed the petition to halt the construction of the facility.