On February 3, 2023, the town of Amherst posted a “courtesy notice,” announcing that “the Fort River Solar 2, LLC (“FRS2”) Solar Project, managed by Amp Solar Development Inc. (“Amp”) is set to begin construction in the coming weeks.” The notice continued—” The Town and FRS2, along with the site contractor, Dynamic Energy, will be constructing a 3.83 MWac community solar project.”
Not mentioned in the town’s posting is the fact that Dynamic Energy was responsible for the 2018 Williamsburg solar disaster. As detailed in the Massachusetts Attorney General’s press release on February 1, 2021, Dynamic Energy Solutions “disregarded fundamental pollution control requirements for construction sites.” According to Michael Gorski, director of Mass DEP’s Western Regional Office, “the impacts to the wetlands and wildlife habitat areas were not only egregious, they were entirely avoidable.” Dynamic agreed to pay approximately $1.14 million in a settlement with the commonwealth.
Dynamic’s work in Williamsburg is a prime example of solar gone wrong. A detailed description of the disaster and the settlement can be found in the attorney general’s press release, and in this Daily Hampshire Gazette article.
The Fort River solar project at the former site of the Hickory Ridge Golf Course is located on environmentally sensitive, flood-prone town land. This site leaves no room for error. Based on their track record, Dynamic’s role as site contractor suggests the following actions need to be considered immediately:
1. Given the fragile environmental conditions at Hickory Ridge an environmental monitor, paid for by AMP and working for the town, must be required immediately.
2. Given that AMP has not been required to provide a bond to cover any damages and necessary remediation, the town should remedy this by requiring a bond from AMP and Dynamic.
3. Given the concerns raised by this information, the Town Council, Planning Board, and ZBA should discuss whether AMP, as the party responsible for hiring Dynamic Energy Solutions, may be allowed to oversee projects now and in the future.
Jenny Kallick. & Michael Lipinski
Jenny Kallick. & Michael Lipinski are members of Smart Solar Amherst