116 3rd St SE
Cedar Rapids, Iowa 52401
CEDAR RAPIDS — The Cedar Rapids City Council this week unanimously approved a resolution supporting the proposed Duane Arnold Solar projects in Linn County that would be — if built — Iowa’s largest solar and battery storage facility.
The city’s seal of approval comes nearly three months after the Palo City Council voted unanimously to oppose the county rezoning property within a 2 miles of the Palo city limits for the solar projects.
The Palo Planning and Zoning Board had recommended the council oppose the projects, which were determined to be within the city’s “future growth area.”
If approved, the Duane Arnold Solar project would be built just north of Palo near the decommissioned Duane Arnold Energy Center nuclear power plant.
Cedar Rapids city documents regarding the resolution stated the projects would directly benefit homeowners and businesses in Cedar Rapids and aid business retention and attraction efforts. The projects also align with the city’s Community Climate Action Plan that includes reducing carbon emissions and increasing renewable energy usage.
Cedar Rapids’ resolution, approved Tuesday, supported the development and construction of NextEra’s two Duane Arnold Solar projects.
It also called upon the Linn County Board of Supervisors to approve the requested renewable overlay district necessary for construction, along with any other approval or action needed to get the project underway.
The Linn County Planning and Zoning Commission recommended on July 28 that county supervisors approve the proposed projects. The supervisors will have three considerations of the proposal at the end of August.
The proposed installation is split into two projects that would use more than 1,100 total acres of land. Duane Arnold Solar I includes a 50-megawatt solar facility, while Duane Arnold Solar II includes a 150-megawatts solar facility and a 75-megawatt battery storage facility.
Florida-based NextEra Energy would develop and build the projects, planning to invest $800 million into them. In November, Alliant Energy filed a proposal to the Iowa Utilities Board to buy and operate the large-scale solar project once it is completed. The utilities board is expected to decide on the proposal later this year.
If approved, the project would begin operating by the end of 2024.
Brittney J. Miller is an environmental reporter for The Gazette and a corps member with Report for America, a national service program that places journalists in local newsrooms to report on under-covered issues.
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