Linn County names members of renewable energy review committees

Groups will study various aspects of county’s renewable energy policy

Members of special purpose advisory committees have been named to review portions of Linn County’s renewable energy policies.

The committees have been formed to explore parts of the county’s renewable energy overlay zoning district requirements for utility-scale renewable energy projects. Linn County has already approved rezoning for two such projects, one near Coggon and another near the former Duane Arnold Energy Center near Palo.

Each county committee is set to meet several times over the first half of 2023. After fully exploring each area of code, the committees may make recommendations on code changes to the county’s planning and zoning commission. In turn, the commission will provide further analysis and recommendations to the board of supervisors based on the work of the committees.

Four committees have been formed, each with different focus areas:

  • Good Neighbor Practices, set to discuss setbacks and screening);
  • Battery Energy Storage Systems, set to discuss placement and safety considerations;
  • Balancing Agriculture and Solar, set to discuss vegetation requirements and agrivoltaic considerations; and
  • Lifecycle Costs, set to discuss decommissioning plan requirements and considerations, operation and maintenance plan requirements and considerations.

Committee members were selected based on the applications they submitted and their backgrounds and areas of expertise. Many were also active participants in the county’s deliberations of rezoning applications for the Coggon and Duane Arnold solar projects.

Linn County planning and development director Charlie Nichols will provide regular updates on each committee’s progress during his monthly department update to the board of supervisors.

Members of the Good Neighbor Practice Committee are Mike Carberry, Tina Dubois, Mike Franke, Kelly Merta and Eric VanKerckhove.

Members of the Battery Energy Storage Systems committee are Sara Alden, Curt Eilers, Bruce Lindholm, Junior Luensman and Steve Myers.

Members of the Balancing Agriculture and Solar committee are Diane Brecht, Greg Bickal, Steve Emerson, Gary Scott and Tom Wieseler.

And members of the Lifecycle Costs Committee are Griffin Kuntz, Randy Lucore, Carolyn Petersen, Jane Tompkins and Ellis Vann.