During my tenure, the Louisa County Board of Supervisors was responsible for the zoning of Clenera’s Wapello Solar project. We were responsible for crafting a renewable energy district that balanced the goals of the project with those of the community and the project’s neighbors, much like the discussion underway in Linn County with the Duane Arnold Solar project.
I supported the Clenera project and am hopeful it serves as a catalyst for more renewable energy development in my county. I believe that project, with the safe, reliable and sustainable energy it produces, was the driver in Amazon choosing the Quad Cities as the site for its distribution center. Renewable energy projects like utility scale solar can spur economic activity for communities and the entire region.
I also supported the project because of the benefit it provides to the land. After decades of fertilizer and pesticide application, the soil will have the opportunity to rest and regenerate. The vegetation beneath the solar panels will work as a stabilizer for the soil and a filter for groundwater before it runs into our river and streams.
I am also familiar with many of the arguments offered by the opposition. Oftentimes it’s rooted in half-truths and designed to cause misinformation. Not only did I support the Wapello Solar project, but I am an adjacent landowner to the facility. With vegetative screening and tree plantings, working with my neighbors and the developer, I have had no issues living beside utility scale solar. Land and housing prices have not bottomed out.
I am aware of the process that Linn County is undertaking to site the Duane Arnold Solar project. They are taking a diligent and thoughtful approach to creating their renewable energy overlay district. The process has and will continue to take input from the public and I am confident they will ultimately see the value of the solar proposal. This is an opportunity for Linn County to be a leader in renewable energy production, helping the county achieve its climate and environmental goals while creating economic activity for today and tomorrow.
I strongly encourage my peers with the Linn County Board of Supervisors to give approval to the Duane Arnold Solar project.
Brad Quigley is a member of the Louisa County Board of Supervisors.