Some who spoke said the proposed project has caused division in the community between landowners who signed a lease and those who did not.
The certificate application to be filed today includes several hundred pages of documents and various plans, surveys, studies and reports pertaining to the development work the Vesper team has conducted on this project, according to spokesperson Daniel van Hoogstraten.
“This is a significant step for Kingwood Solar, and will be the start of a long, transparent, and collaborative process that follows on the many months of community outreach and education,” van Hoogstraten said in an emailed statement.
van Hoogstraten said Kingwood Solar will provide $1.5 million annually to local communities in Greene County, with the largest contribution benefiting local schools. The project will support hundreds of Ohio jobs during construction, as well as on-going operations and maintenance jobs, local contractors, and sustained revenues for our community and the state.
Vesper representatives previously told Greene County commissioners the project would create about 300 construction jobs and five permanent jobs. All the electricity would be distributed locally and the power would be sold wholesale.
There are about 25 Ohio solar projects pending or in the pre-application phase with the Ohio Power Siting Board (OPSB), which is the body that approves these large energy projects. These projects are in various stages of development across the state. About 10 projects have been approved and a few are currently in construction.
The OPSB holds a public hearing and then a more formal hearing on all proposed projects. Applicants must notify neighbors in the surrounding area they intend to apply and hold an informational meeting.
A local government can intervene during the preapplication stage. Once the application is complete, the OPSB conducts an investigation of the project which includes site visits. The whole process takes about nine months to a year.
Miami Twp. trustees on Feb. 1 passed a resolution stating they plan to intervene in the Ohio Power Siting Board process for the Greene County project. Tecumseh Land Trust also has plans to intervene.
Greene County commissioners have obtained outside legal counsel, Thaddeus Boggs of Frost Brown Todd law firm, to help them potentially intervene in the process.
“Commissioners are looking forward to reviewing the application so they can see the details related to the project,” said Greene County Administrator Brandon Huddleson. “Our hope is the application will contain the detailed information related to site design, screening, environmental and wildlife protection, property value concerns and a host of other questions that have been asked by the citizens and public officials. We understand the application will consist of hundreds of pages of information that will take some time to review.”