Sept 6, 2020: Notice of Proposed Major Utility Facility

The Sept. 6th issue of the Gazette included a public notice on a solar farm in Ross and Pickaway Counties. This is the first step in getting approval for their 2,040 acre “solar farm”.

A couple months ago I read a story about an organization attempting to find 1,500 acres for a solar farm. I wondered where they might find that much acreage and whether it would be hidden from sight. So I had been waiting for more news. It came yesterday in the form of the notice. Unfortunately those who have canceled their Gazette subscriptions didn’t have the chance to see this notice. So I thought I should bring it to your attention.

The project is titled Yellowbud Solar, LL. It’s proposed site location is just west of OH 104 and south of the Pickaway County line. I drove up to the area and along the roads that border the project. What I saw was prime agricultural property currently planted in corn and soybeans. I also saw topography that allows one to see the acreage from OH 104. That means the project will be very visible to anyone drive north or south using one of the two major routes from Chillicothe to Columbus.

To get a sense of what it might look like, drive west of OH 104 on US 35. Pay attention to the power station on the right hand side of the road. It isn’t the pretty site in Ross County is it? Yet it is only a small fraction of the size of the proposed Yellowbud Solar project. Is that what we want in such a visible portion of Ross County?

The article identifies the ownership of the proposed project.

“Yellowbud Solar, LLC, a subsidiary of Geronimo Energy, LLC, a National Grid Company”

Geronimo Energy started in Minnesota and in 2019 was bought by National Grid Company. An internet search on National Grid Company shows it is a United Kingdom company that is investing in renewable energy projects, including ones in the US through a US subsidiary. So the solar project in Ross County is a venture by a British company? Why not a Ross County, Ohio or US company? Maybe AEP?

So why solar in Ohio? Isn’t Ohio known for its “gray” weather? I checked out the internet and found and found that they show the average amount of sunshine by state. Ohio ranks near the bottom of the 50 states. There are only four states (Alaska, Washington, Oregon and Vermont) with lower % of possible hours of sun which are sunny. Ohio (they used Columbus as the Ohio proxy) Sun % was only 50%. States like Arizona (85%), Nevada (79%), New Mexico (76%) and Colorado (71%) would all seem like better states for investing in a solar project.

As a side comment, “What happens if we have a summer without sun if most of our electricity comes from solar farms?” That sounds like a crazy question and something that could never happen, doesn’t it? But maybe you should check the following out:

1816: That year followed the major eruption of Mount Tombora in 1815 and the eruption of Mount Mayon in 1814. These eruptions were so large and put so much volcanic dust in the air that it had world wide implications.

In the spring and summer of 1816, a persistent “dry fog” was observed in parts of the eastern United States. The fog reddened and dimmed the sunlight, such that sunspots were visible to the naked eye. Neither wind nor rainfall dispersed the “fog”. It has been characterized as a “stratospheric sulfate aerosol veil”.[25]

536: Long called the Dark Ages because of the collapse of civilization it is now recognized as also a time when volcanic activity blotted out the sun making agriculture difficult. A historian of the time made the following statement when talking about :

“The sun gave forth its light without brightness.”

There are other years when volcanoes have had a negative impact on sunlight and agriculture. Imagine what impact they could have on electric output from solar farms, something that isn’t a problem when natural gas or coal are used. Maybe going 100% renewable might not be such a good idea? But if we are going to develop solar projects, why isn’t that occurring in states that have large undeveloped tracks of land unfit for agriculture and high level of sunshine rather than using very productive agricultural property in a state with low levels of sunshine?

Some how that sounds more rationale to me. How about you?

Send your thoughts to:

  • Ross County Commissioners
  • Union Township Trustees
  • Ross County Soil and Water Conservation District
  • Ross County Planning and Building Department
  • Greater Chillicothe and Ross County Development

A copy of the proposal for the Yellowbud Solar, LLC is available at the Main Library in Chillicothe.

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