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Cedar Rapids, Iowa 52401
Linn County schedules meetings on Duane Arnold Solar projects
NextEra proposing solar farms near Palo
Linn County has scheduled four public meetings this summer to consider the proposed Duane Arnold Solar projects near Palo.
The first meeting is for the county’s Planning and Zoning Commission, set for 6 p.m. July 28 at the Palo Community Center, 2800 Hollenbeck Rd.
Public comment will be taken at the meeting, and commissioners will vote whether to recommend approval or denial of the project to the Linn County Board of Supervisors.
The supervisors make the final decision.
County supervisors will hold meetings in late August, also at the Palo Community Center. Those meetings are set for 6 p.m. Aug. 22, Aug. 24 and Aug. 29.
Supervisors will consider rezoning land to allow construction of the Duane Arnold Solar projects, which are designed to generate up to 200 megawatts of electricity.
Duane Arnold Solar I would use 316 acres of an 857-acre plot to place photovoltaic solar arrays capable of generating up to 50 MW.
The larger Duane Arnold Solar II would use 815 acres of a 1,780-acre area, for generating up to 150 MW. It also would have a 75-MW, four-hour battery energy storage facility.
The county’s technical review committee reviewed the projects last month.
The process is identical to that used for the Clenera solar project near Coggon last year. Supervisors approved that 100 MW project, on 750 acres 3 miles west of Coggon, on a 2-1 vote.
To proceed, the Palo project requires a majority vote of the supervisors at three readings of the enabling ordinance. The supervisors also could reject the proposal at any of the meetings, and the application would not move forward.
Supervisors also could vote to postpone any decision.
Florida-based NextEra submitted its application to the county for the Duane Arnold project in February. If the plan is approved, the company has said it would begin operations by the end of 2024.
NextEra, which has operated in Iowa since 1999, has said it will invest $800 million in the projects, including $50 million paid to local landowners over the project’s 30-year life span. NextEra’s land-leasing phase was completed last year.
Last November, Alliant Energy filed a proposal with the Iowa Utilities Board to buy the project from NextEra and further develop it into the state’s largest solar and battery storage facility.
NextEra would develop and build the solar facility, with Alliant owning and operating it.
The Iowa Utilities Board’s decision on the proposal is expected later this year.
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