Commissioners will intervene in solar project


By Darryl McGee - dmcgee@aimmediamidwest.com



XENIA — Greene County Commissioners passed a resolution Thursday filing of a notice of intervention on their behalf regarding the application of Kingwood Solar LLC pending before the Ohio Power Siting Board.

“Whereas, the Board of Commissioners has responsibility for preserving the general health, safety, and welfare within the territory of Greene County,” the commissioners’ resolution said. “The Commissioners find that they have a real and substantial interest in the siting of the solar electric generation facilities applied for by Kingwood Solar I LLC within the territory of Greene County.”

The proposed solar facility, titled Kingwood Solar Project, is the work of Vesper Energy, a solar energy company headquartered in Texas.

The Kingwood Solar project is designed to be a 175-megawatt facility, and is expected to generate approximately 360,000 megawatt-hours of electricity per year, enough to supply electricity to approximately 33,800 households. The rural site is favorable for its proximity to the electric grid. Kingwood has acquired long-term leases from 17 landowners, most of whom are local residents.

Kingwood has completed its application for approval from the Ohio Power Siting Board, which ultimately makes the decision to allow the project to proceed. A certificate from OPSB allows for 30 years of operation, though Kingwood has the potential to extend the operation into the 40-year mark.

“What we did today authorizes us to file a notice of authorization with the Ohio Power Siting Board,” Greene County Administrator Brandon Huddleson said. “The commissioners said they want to be involved.”

Huddleson said that the steps in the process will continue on.

“There will be a public hearing in Greene County by Ohio Power Siting Board,” Huddleson said. “We will have opportunity to testify. We have set our own public hearing on land use that deals with wind and solar.”

The commissioners and Huddleson do not have the power to deny Kingwood Solar approval, as its application is already complete with the OPSB. A recent bill passed in the Ohio legislature gives the commissioners more say in the process, but it does not apply to current projects.

“Senate Bill 52 gave commissioners the power to deny future projects,” Huddleson said. “We have no authority with this project.”

Huddleson said that both the commissioners and himself receive a lot of public comments.

If Kingwood Solar is successful at accomplishing its goal, Greene County will see benefits from the project.

“We will receive additional tax dollars,” Huddleson said. “There will be an increase in property tax revenue.”

The proposed solar farm would be located on approximately 1,500 acres between Yellow Springs and Cedarville, most of which is currently in agricultural use. The site has “favorable solar resources,” meaning ample sunlight exposure year round, and flat, arable land. Vesper is partnering with First Energy to operate the facility and provide supporting infrastructure.

By Darryl McGee

dmcgee@aimmediamidwest.com

Reach Darryl McGee at 937-502-4534

Reach Darryl McGee at 937-502-4534