Macon Twp. Board plans outdoor meeting for solar project discussion

MACON TWP. – To cater to an expected large number of attendees, the Macon Township Board will hold its regular May outdoor meeting to continue discussion on the proposed Mustang Mile Solar Energy Facility and the application for a special land use permit.

Invenergy, an America-based multinational power generation company, has proposed building the solar farm in the community.

Due to planning conflicts with board members, the date of the meeting was postponed from May 3rd to May 10th. The session will begin at 7:00 p.m. at Macon Township Hall, 8320 Clinton-Macon Road.

Macon ward leader Lee Wagner said both he and city clerk Julia DeJonghe had planning conflicts for the May 3 meeting. Wagner said it would make sense to postpone the meeting date by a week to ensure that the entire board will be present.

“If we postpone the meeting by a week and have it outside, I think it will work for everyone,” said Wagner.

Signs like this one at the intersection of Macon Highway and Clinton-Macon Road against a planned solar power plant have been strewn across Macon Township in recent weeks.

The local government met on April 5th for its monthly meeting. It was the first board meeting since the Macon Township Planning Commission voted March 4-1, 17 to recommend not to make a specific land use request for the solar array. It is now up to the local government to decide the fate of the solar park. At the board meeting on April 5, there were hardly any discussions about the solar park that went beyond public comments, said Wagner.

Wagner was the only member of the planning commission who voted to approve the special land use application. Planning Commission Chairman Gary Maska, Secretary Scott Niblack and Commissioners Don DeJonghe and Rona Hintz all voted against the land use solar project application.

Wagner said there was a good chance that the May 10 meeting would make a decision about the fate of the solar project.

“This meeting could be the panacea for the future of the project in the community at this point,” he said.

This field pictured in January on the southeast corner of Pennington Road and Macon Highway could become part of a planned solar park project in Macon Township.

At least 30 people attended the meeting of the local government on April 5th. Wagner didn’t have the planned number of people he expected at the May 10 meeting, but he said he was expecting a lot more than 30 people.

During several meetings of the Virtual Planning Commission, residents have expressed their concern about a decision on the solar park in a meeting of the virtual local government. Many residents stated that a decision of this magnitude should be made in an arena where the public can participate in person.

Michigan Public Service Commission approves consumer solar contract with Mustang Mile

At its April 8 meeting in Lansing, the Michigan Public Service Commission approved a build-transfer agreement between Consumers Energy and Mustang Mile Energy LLC for the Mustang Mile project. In build-transfer arrangements, a company develops and builds a renewable energy project and then transfers it to the utility company.

According to online documents from the Michigan Public Service Commission, Consumers and Mustang Mile signed a build-transfer contract on Jan. 21.

Mustang Mile is a planned 150 megawatt solar facility that is expected to receive a 30% tax credit. The installed capital cost of the Mustang Mile project is approximately $ 261.4 million. The total lifetime cost of the project is approximately $ 516 million over a 25 year useful life.

Talks between Macon Township and Invenergy about the Mustang Mile Solar Project have been going on for more than two years.

Of the 2,500 to 2,700 acres to be rented for the project, 1,100 to 1,200 would be suitable for the implementation of solar systems. The actual area that would be taken up by the solar panels would be between 330 and 400 acres. The 2,500 to 2,700 hectares were leased to Invenergy by landowners.

Solar panels cannot exceed a maximum height of 14 feet, and each shelving system of panels would be 20 feet apart from other shelving systems. Long-rooted perennial vegetation would be planted under and around each panel.

According to site plans, a planned substation would be located somewhere between Ford Highway, Stone Highway, and Tecumseh-Macon Road.

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