Power

Dane County town prosecutes regulators over Cambridge solar plant approval

solar plant

Solar plant

Firstly, Dane County community is suing Wisconsin utility regulators to block the state’s largest solar plant farm.

Secondly, the town of Christiana asks the courts to reverse the Public Service Commission’s approval of the Koshkonong Solar Energy Center. This would produce enough electricity to power about a third of the county’s homes.

Thridly, the town argues the PSC approved a project that violates the state Constitution; and was presented under false pretenses, among other deficiencies.

The project

The 2,400-acre project west of Cambridge interferes with orderly land use and development plans and would adversely affect public health. It will also affect amenities as views, historic sites, geological formations, the aesthetics of land and water and recreational use.

Invenergy has the approval to build the 465-megawatt solar-plus-storage facility. It would be the largest in the state and the first industrial-scale solar plant in Dane County.

In addition, the town argues the commission should not have granted Invenergy a permit to operate.

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Companies like Invenergy don’t have to justify the need or cost of a project or show that it is the most cost effective solution.

Opponents also argue the developer’s lease agreements with participating landowners violate a provision of the state Constitution that limits long-term leases on farmland.

The commission dismissed the challenge. It is base on a misreading of the 174-year-old document and failed to consider existing laws and court rulings.

Energy transition with a solar plant

With about 1,235 residents, the town would receive more than $250,000 a year in utility aid revenue from the plant.

Supporters, including the Sierra Club, Clean Wisconsin and Dane County sustainability groups, argued the project is needed to complete the swift transition to clean energy that the world’s climate scientists say will be necessary to slow climate change, and the impacts of solar panels pale in comparison to the alternative.

Finally, the commission found the impacts are unfortunate but a necessary result; of maintaining reliable electricity service with clean energy.

Read more, here.

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