Linn County holds informational meeting on solar projects

PALO, Iowa (KWWL) – A “utility-scale” solar array produces a large amount of electricity.

On Tuesday, Linn County held the first of two briefing meetings to educate residents about the approval and public submission processes for a solar project. The meetings are not specific to a solar project as Linn County has not received an application for one.

Sara Ritchie lives in the rural Center Point.

In March she found out from her neighbors about the solar project proposed by Nextera Energy.

“Just talks about vendors stopping by trying to lease land for solar,” Ritchie said. “It just felt strange why here? Because it’s very comfortable.”

She heard the vendor pressure the neighbors to sign the relief rights.

Then, in April, she received a certified letter from Nextera Energy.

The company proposes the construction of three solar energy projects around the Duane Arnold Energy Center near Palo.

To this end, they are demanding relief – or leasing rights – from landowners to build, operate and maintain the project in parts that are on private land.

“For example, if you clear this field, level the field, and put in solar panels and fences, it will completely change the nature of the area out here. It will feel very industrial,” said Ritchie.

Ritchie has started a petition against the project, which received nearly 1,900 signatures in 5 weeks.

Kendra Aarhus is one of them. She sits on the Palo City Planning and Zoning Committee.

She says the project will limit the city’s growth as it is surrounded by flood on one side.

“That would be my main concern and the lack of transparency for homeowners and landowners,” said Aarhus. “It doesn’t sound like Palo residents have a huge voice unless they petition the Iowa Utilities Board.” I think this is the greatest. ”

There is an indication in that letter that Nextera Energy may seek the Iowa Utility Board for the right to a significant domain.

Nextera Energy representatives were absent tonight and did not respond to a request for an interview for this story.

Linn County will hold a second briefing at the Lynn Dunn Memorial Building on the Linn County Fairgrounds next Wednesday June 2nd at 6:00 pm.

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