An Ohio Power Siting Board administrative law judge (ALJ) on July 29 granted Hecate Energy Highland 4 LLC’s motion seeking a waiver of the requirement to hold a public information meeting regarding the proposed New Market Solar I and New Market Solar II projects.”
As noted in Hecate Energy’s July 16 filing, Hecate Energy anticipates filing with the board an application for a certificate of environmental compatibility and public need for a 100-MW solar-powered electric generating facility in Highland County, Ohio, to be known as the New Market Solar project, which involves the two individual projects.
Hecate Energy noted that it is required to hold a public information session in the area in which the project is located prior to the filing of the application, but that given the COVID-19 pandemic and the associated social distancing requirements, it requests a waiver of that requirement.
Hecate Energy said that it proposes to meet the public information meeting requirement through a three-step process that involves:
- Preparing a PowerPoint presentation with project details and posting the presentation on the project website
- Preparing a pre-recorded presentation regarding the information set forth in that PowerPoint
- Conducting a live question and answer (Q&A) session to allow the public to receive information about the project
Hecate Energy said that it has tentatively scheduled the live Q&A session for Aug. 27.
As noted in the ALJ’s filing, regulatory staff has concluded that it does not object to Hecate Energy’s requested waiver.
Noting that the request is granted, the ALJ said that “the board is not endorsing or objecting to the actual manner in which the public information meeting is proposed to be held,” and that if “Hecate Energy wishes to proceed with planning and holding the virtual public information meeting, it carries with it the risk associated with doing so.”
The ALJ said that Hecate Energy is encouraged to ensure that all those who may wish to participate in the virtual meeting have the opportunity to do so, just as they would under normal circumstances.