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Town of Deerfield board shares stance on solar farm

Newly-elected Town Board Member Katie Michel volunteered to attend future Cambridge meetings regarding the solar farm, to represent the town of Deerfield’s interests

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The town of Deerfield may be joining in future conversations with the village of Cambridge about a utility-scale solar farm proposed to lie partially in its boundaries.

Town board members said at an April 12 meeting that they’re still formulating their position on the 375-megawatt Koshkonong Solar Energy Center that Invenergy, LLC, of Chicago, is proposing in the towns of Deerfield and Christiana.

Invenergy expects to apply for a certificate of public convenience and necessity from the Wisconsin Public Service Commission in the next few weeks, Tracy Fillback, Koshkonong Solar’s local representative, told the town board. A year-long state approval process would follow.

Fillback said once that application is filed, more specific information will be available about the solar farm’s proposed size and placement of solar panels on up to 2,600 acres in the two towns. The total anticipated project area is about 11,900 acres.

In January, the village of Cambridge created an Energy Subcommittee that has since been meeting monthly to discuss Koshkonong Solar.

The Energy Subcommittee voted unanimously on March 31 to recommend to the Cambridge Village Board that it file for intervenor status with the Wisconsin Public Service Commission. It has also recommended that the village hire a lawyer.

Audience members attending the April 12 Deerfield Town Board meeting over Zoom questioned whether town officials had been invited to those subcommittee meetings, and why they hadn’t attended.

Town board member Bill Roelofs replied that the invitations were extended. But he said town officials haven’t attended in part because Cambridge and the town of Deerfield have different interests and would be affected differently by the development.

Cambridge has, for instance, expressed concerns that the project might impede its future growth. Roelofs said that isn’t a concern for the town of Deerfield.

“The town of Deerfield and the village of Cambridge may have very different goals in this,” he said.

Newly-elected Town Board Member Katie Michel volunteered to attend future Cambridge meetings regarding the solar farm, to represent the town of Deerfield’s interests. Other board members agreed to that idea.

Several audience members also asked about the township’s stance on the solar farm

“The town is weighing its options and trying to balance people who want to lease their land, and people who will be affected by this,” Roelofs responded. There’s “not one answer,” he said.

In other matters, the town board:

  • Approved refunding $1,660 in administrative fees to Forever Sandfill & Limestone related to applying for its annual mining license. Forever Sandfill & Limestone paid $2,500 in administrative fees for the license, but the cost of legal council only amounted to $840, so the town board voted to reimburse the excess fees.

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