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Some residents of Spotsylvania County, Virginia, are concerned that a proposed 500-MW solar project in their county is planned closer to residential areas than other similar large-scale projects in the United States and have formed a group to seek more answers and express their worries.
Sustainable Power Group (sPower), which owns and operates more than 160 renewable energy projects across the U.S., has proposed the construction of the 500-MW Spotsylvania Solar Energy Center—a solar project in western Spotsylvania County, Virginia. The Project Site consists of around 6,350 acres, of which some 3,500 acres will be developed into the solar project, while the remaining 2,850 acres will be preserved as undeveloped, vacant land. The Project Site currently consists of recently timbered land and borders other forested lands and scattered single-family residences, sPower says.
The Concerned Citizens of Fawn Lake and Spotsylvania County (CCFLSC) group, however, have voiced concerns with the project. Their main concern is that other projects of such size in the United States are built in desert areas in the southwest, far away from residential areas.
“As proposed, at 10 square miles, 6,500 acres — that’s half the size of Manhattan — this would be the fifth largest solar power plant in the United States – surrounded by thousands of homes and farms. The other four largest solar plants — they’re in the desert southwest, miles and miles from any residential areas,” Kevin McCarthy, a member of Concerned Citizens of Fawn Lake and Spotsylvania, said in a statement to The Daily Caller News Foundation (DCNF).
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“Our research into commercial solar power plants has revealed several areas of concern with the proposed 500 MW solar power plant that sPower intends to build on 6,350 acres … These concerns include risks that may harm human health, your property values and finances, and the environment, which must be avoided or mitigated,” the concerned citizens’ Facebook group says on its page.
sPower submitted Special Use Permit (SUP) Applications for the project to the Spotsylvania County Planning Department in March 2018. The county has one year to reply. The Spotsylvania County Board of Supervisors hasn’t made a decision yet, which may push back the company’s timeline to begin construction in August or September.
“Either ensure ‘Do No Harm’ or do not build it,” a spokesman for the Concerned Citizens group, Dave Hammond, told The DCNF.
By Tsvetana Paraskova for Oilprice.com
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Tsvetana is a writer for Oilprice.com with over a decade of experience writing for news outlets such as iNVEZZ and SeeNews.