The Vermont Public Service Board plans a Jan. 4 hearing on an application by Elizabeth Mine Solar I LLC for approval of 4.998-MW solar project.
Ronald Kelly, a Principal at Brightfields Development, said in opening testimony that Elizabeth Mine Solar I is a partnership of Brightfields and Wolfe Energy LLC. The two firms are working together to develop the proposed project. This is called the Elizabeth Mine Solar Project, to be located on Mine Road in Strafford and Thetford, Vermont.
The Brightfields team has built a strong reputation on successfully completing large remediation projects, and has attained regulatory closure for brownfields, landfills and Superfund sites in several states, with ongoing management responsibility for seven properties, Kelly noted. Brightfields recently completed a 3-MW solar array on the former Scituate, Mass., municipal landfill. Additionally, Brightfields has permitted and has been constructing a 3.7-MW solar project on the municipal landfill in Needham, Mass., a 2-MW project in Williamstown, Mass., and a 2-MW project in Lexington, Mass. Brightfields is also working on a 23-MW closed bauxite residue facility in Illinois and a 10-MW closed copper mine project in Miami, Arizona, that is under the control of the U.S. Forest Service.
This project will be sited within restricted land on the Elizabeth Mine site known as “Tailings Pile 1 and Pile 2,” which is part of the larger Elizabeth Mine site. Tailings Pile 1 and 2 are two sections of the Elizabeth Mine site that have been remediated by the state and federal governments to contain and clean up contamination associated with the former copper mining activities.
Kelly noted that when U.S. EPA staff learned of the interest in a solar project on the site, the agency agreed to have the cap engineered to accommodate the future addition of solar panels. As a result, the cap was built with less than a 5-degree tilt to the southwest. The site is large, relatively flat, has excellent solar exposure, and very few neighbors.
The project is expected to generate 9,212,000 kilowatt-hours (kWh) of electricity each year. The company has executed a non-binding Letter of Intent with Green Mountain Power to purchase all of the energy, capacity, and renewable energy credits associated with the project at 14.9.cents/kwh for years 1-25 years, and 10 cents/kwh for years 26-30.