$1 Billion Solar Project in Madison County is set to be voted on in Ohio

Madison County, OH: A fateful decision on the development of one of the largest solar farms in the country is set to be made on land that is partially owned by Bill Gates in Madison County.

At its March 21 meeting, the Ohio Power Siting Board—which reviews proposals for large-scale utility projects in the Buckeye State—will be discussing the Oak Run Solar Project.

The project has been recommended for approval by the Siting Board staff, but the board is not obligated to follow that recommendation.

Monroe, Somerford, and Deercreek townships along state Route 29 are set to be home to Oak Run, a solar farm and energy storage system with a capacity of 800 MW and 300 MW, respectively. It would be constructed approximately 25 miles west of Columbus, north of London, close to Plumwood.

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The 6,050 acres of farmland that would be covered by the project would cost at least $1 billion.

With an expected output of 800 MW, the project is both one of the largest in the nation and twice the size of any other project currently under consideration or approved by the Siting Board.

The developer, Savion of Kansas City, Missouri, is planning to begin building in 2025 if the regulators give its go light.

As part of its transition away from fossil fuels, Shell New Energies US, a subsidiary of Royal Dutch Shell, the largest oil company in Europe, acquired Savion in December 2021.

According to Savion, the project’s land will be provided by a number of property owners, including Gates’ farm and Midwest Farms LLC of Monterey, Louisiana. The project is opposed by Madison County and the three townships as well.

More than fifty individuals gave testimony at a four-and-a-half-hour hearing last year at Plain City’s Jonathan Alder High School, and over 500 comments were submitted with the Siting Board, suggesting that the project’s debate has mostly followed typical lines.

The loss of farmland is only one of several concerns voiced in opposition to the project, which also threatens nearby properties, the integrity of the natural environment, and the aesthetic appeal of rural areas. According to Madison County as well, it has been over

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