Innergex Renewable Energy representatives that are working on the Palomino Solar Project attended the Wednesday morning meeting of the Highland County Board of Commissioners.
Bill Behling, Innergex director of development, said that the project was reduced by about 200 acres and moved from the northern part of the project to the the southern part. He said the project area north of Panhandle Road and west of Mad River Road was also removed. Behling said about 400 acres were added to the southern part of the project area and 600 acres were removed from the northern project area. He said the northern project area is more densely populated and the project was able to move panels away from more heavily populated areas.
He said that construction is now scheduled to start in the second quarter of 2023 and the commercial operation date is planned to begin in the second quarter of 2024.
Behling said the solar project is a 200 megawatt (MW) on a single-axis tracking system. He said it will be in Dodson and Union townships and will use about 1,410 acres of the 2,700-acre total project area. He said the project will connect into the existing AEP Hillsboro-Middleboro transmission line that is adjacent to the site.
Janet Grothe, Innergex manager of community and government relations, said the company wants to hire locally and that it agreed to an 80-percent local labor requirement. She said the project will have about 300 to 500 people employed at the peak construction time. She also said they wanted to have a facility with no noise to disrupt the neighbor. Grothe said she understands there would be “a little bit of activity” during the construction, but that after it’s finished the company anticipates it will operate in silence.
In other news, Highland County Recorder Chad McConnaughey attended the meeting to discuss the 2021 report from the Highland County Recorder’s Office. He said the office was busy in 2021 because the real estate market moved quickly. He said the total number of documents the office collected in 2021 was 7,915, which he said was about 1,114 more documents than the previous year. McConnaughey said the office hasn’t seen numbers like that since the housing boom in the 2000s.
McConnaughey said the office started back-scanning and indexing 97 books to get the office back into compliance to 1980. He said he and his staff now have to index the legal description side of those documents and that will take a lot of time before the task is completed sometime next year.
In other news, the board of commissioners received two re-bids for a tornado siren project. The bids were for $80,761 from B and C Communications and for $72,144 from Capital Electronics.
Commission president Jeff Duncan said they would have something to review on the bids at the next meeting.
Duncan was reappointed to the Solid Waste Management District Policy Committee by the other members of the board of commissioners.
In other news, there was one resolution approved by the board, It was a request from the probation department for a budget modification for $74,259.
There were also two contracts approved by the board:
* Contract 9 is between the board of commissioners and Highland County Community Action Organization (HCCAO) for a three-year lease at the Jefferson Street Business Center in Greenfield, which HCCAO owns, for a collaboration with several people to start a training center.
* Contract 10 is a renewal between the board of commissioners and Maximum US Services, Inc. effective between Feb. 1, 2022, and Dec. 31, 2022.
Reach Jacob Clary at 937-402-2570.