Kara Heffelbower a developer with National Grid Renewables spoke with Amery Board of Education members about Apple River Solar, LLC, a project residing in two school districts; Amery and Clayton.
The project is currently in a State permitting process. Applications were submitted in the fall of 2020. Prior do doing so, the company did local stakeholder coordination, including townships and Polk County. They are continuing their talks with the areas involved as the project evolves. If the project comes to fruition Amery and Clayton Schools could receive education funds.
Heffelbower first gave an introduction to National Grid Renewables (NGR), which was formerly known as Geronimo Energy. She said NGR is a leading North American independent developer and operator of utility-scale renewable energy and battery storage projects.
Heffelbower said National Grid Renewables includes the renewable energy development company formerly known as Geronimo Energy, whose team has successfully developed over 2,800 megawatts (MW) of wind and solar projects that are currently in operation or under construction. She said they are experts in renewable energy project development, construction and operations and shared the robust National Grid Renewables pipeline stretches across the United States, including projects in advanced development phases.
Heffelbower then went into specifics about the company’s local project, Apple River Solar, LLC. She said it is a 100-megawatt solar project. “To put that into a relatable scale, one-megawatt of solar power generates enough electricity to power about 200 homes annually. So, a 100-megawatt is enough for 20,000 homes average on an annual basis,” she said.
When talking about sizing, she said one-megawatt sits on anywhere from five to seven acres.
Heffelbower said with 100-megawatt you are looking at $116 million in Capital Investment, three full-time equivalent jobs, 150+ temporary construction jobs, increased local spending, unique to National Grid Renewables: utility-scale solar projects receive Education Funds (501c3), $200/MW-AC/Year – 20 year commitment, 80% to Amery and 20 % to Clayton (percentages based on enrollment count for each district as on January 8, 2021 – payment allocation fixed).
She said payments start when project has operated one year and are managed through a regional or state 501c3 foundation. There are $10 Million in Utility Shared Revenue Payments and does not require additional services.
Heffelbower said she hopes the project can receive the support of the Amery School District. “Or at least to remain neutral. I would appreciate no opposition from the school district. Clayton has provided a letter of support for the project that we have filed to our docket,” said Heffelbower.
Those interested in learning more about the project can visit the Public Service Commissions website psc.wi.gov. The docket number 9808CE100 can be typed into the search engine. There will be a Public Hearing June 23, 2021.
Later in the meeting, the board approved the following personnel changes:
New Employees/Athletic Contracts
Travis Bauermeister, Children’s House Montessori Teacher
Amy Bjorge, Special Education Paraeducator – Intermediate School
Maggie Buhr, 1st Grade Teacher
Allen Carlson,High School Track Assistant Coach
Mary Beth Chirico, Special Education Paraeducator – High School
Anne (Katie) Johnson, Student Success Coordinator
Tom Olson, Maintenance Assistant
Michele Osero, Special Education Paraeducator – Intermediate School
Jeni Winchell, Food Server – Intermediate School
Donna Anich, Math Teacher – High School
Steven Bielmeier, Physical Education Teacher – High School
Robert Vincent, Math Teacher – High School
Travis Bauermeister, 4K Teacher
Katherine Benti, Varsity Boys Soccer Coach
Kelsey Busse, 7th Grade Girls Basketball Coach
Levi Busse, 8th Grade Girls Basketball Coach
Mary Beth Chirico, Clubhouse Assistant Teacher
Annelise Collins, High School Track Assistant Coach
Destiny DiCosimo, Clubhouse Lead Teacher
McKenzie Gamache, 8th Grade Volleyball Coach
Anne (Katie) Johnson, School Psychologist
Tom Olson, Director of Transportation & Grounds