Officials from the company behind both phases of the Buckeye Wind Farm project informed Champaign County commissioners that they intend to file an application for payment in lieu of taxes (PILOT) in the near future.
EverPower Senior Director for Permitting Michael Speerschneider and Project Manager Jason Dagger met with the commissioners on Thursday to discuss the status of the second phase of the project.
During their presentation, Speerschneider said the company plans to send an application for PILOT to the proper state government agency in the near future, but would not put an exact timetable on when the application would be filed. County commissioners would have to sign a resolution to grant PILOT.
When asked by the Daily Citizen why the company planned to apply for PILOT soon, Speerschneider said the uncertainty of the commissioners’ decision could slow down other steps in the project such as engineering and financing.
“We’d like to get that issue resolved. We’d like to put it before the board so that we have more certainty that the tax treatment will be approved and that will allow us to then move forward with some of the other big items that are left to achieve or complete for this project to be built,” Speerschneider said.
Speerschneider also discussed the project’s progress throughout this year with commissioners and provided the commissioners with a packet of information. Included in the packet were reports from third party entities on the subjects of property values, the cost of electricity and the role of government incentives in all energy sectors.
In July, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service approved a habitat conservation plan and incidental take permit. The Ohio Power Siting Board (OPSB) granted a certificate for the second phase of the project in May and rejected applications for rehearing last month.
Intervening parties have 60 days from the date of the board’s decision to file an appeal with the state Supreme Court.
Christopher A. Walker, attorney for citizens group Union Neighbors United, told the Daily Citizen on Sept. 30 that the group was evaluating which issues they wanted the Ohio Supreme Court to consider following the board’s decision.
The proposed project would construct more than 100 turbines in eastern Champaign County.