Powell Creek Solar, LLC on May 29 filed with the Ohio Power Siting Board a motion seeking a waiver to permit an alternative approach to meet the public information meeting requirement in relation to a proposed 150-MW solar facility in Putnam County.
The rule at issue requires that, prior to submitting its application for a certificate of environmental compatibility and public need to the board, Powell Creek hold a public information meeting “in the area in which the project is located,” Powell Creek said, adding: “Because of the COVID-19 pandemic, state policy currently prohibits the type of public gathering necessary to comply with the public information meeting requirement as written. Even after the official restrictions are lifted, there may be continued guidance from public health experts urging avoidance of public gatherings and a significant apprehension among the public to attend physical gatherings.”
Powell Creek said that in lieu of a meeting in the area in which the project is located, it proposes a virtual public information meeting, a teleconference public information meeting, direct outreach to affected property owners, and a regularly updated project website.
“[G]ranting this request will accomplish (and exceed) the objectives of the [board’s] public information meeting, while avoiding ongoing and undue delay to the project,” Powell Creek said. “It is also consistent with state policy to protect public health while identifying alternative ways to conduct agency business during the pandemic.”
As noted in the filing, the proposed solar facility has been in development since 2017. During the development period, project representatives worked with landowners, including holding in-person meetings with non-participating landowners in the project vicinity, Powell Creek said.
The project recently received its System Impact Study from PJM Interconnection, Powell Creek noted.
Among other things, Powell Creek said that the meeting is tentatively scheduled to be held on July 29 through a platform capable of hosting up to 500 participants.