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A public hearing and first considering of a rezoning proposal for a pair of Duane Arnold Solar projects has been rescheduled for Aug. 29, after what Linn County Board of Supervisors chair Ben Rogers termed an “embarrassing mistake” that forced the board Aug. 22 to cancel the meeting – news that was delivered even as proponents and opponents of the plan were already gathered at the Palo Community Center. The meeting was canceled, as were two other meetings on the project slated for Aug. 24 and Aug. 29, because county officials failed to provide proper public notification of the meetings, as required by state law. The official notification was published in the Cedar Rapids Gazette, the area “paper of record,” on Aug. 23, paving the way for the rescheduled hearing, which will begin at 6 p.m. Aug. 29 at the Palo Community Center. The second and third meetings to consider the rezoning proposal have also now been rescheduled, and will be held Aug. 30 and Sept. 6, both at 6 p.m. and both at the Palo Community Center. County officials didn’t offer an explanation for the previous oversight. Mr. Rogers apologized for the gaffe Aug. 22 in an announcement to the estimated 150 audience members in attendance. He said the board had met earlier in the day and was in recess after having been notified that the public hearing couldn’t legally be held. “This is an embarrassing oversight, and one we did not anticipate,” he said. “Your time is valuable, and this is an issue that the community has been discussing and looking for direction on next steps. On behalf of Linn County, we are incredibly sorry.” The meetings were scheduled to review rezoning proposals for two Duane Arnold Solar utility-scale solar projects. Under the plan, formalized in November 2021 in a filing with the Iowa Utilities Board, Florida-based NextEra Energy Resources – which announced plans for the solar installation on the Duane Arnold site in March 2021 and have dubbed the project Duane Arnold Solar, with an office already open in Palo – will develop and install 200 megawatts of solar generation and a 75-megawatt battery energy storage facility near the former Duane Arnold nuclear plant, which is no longer in operation and is in the midst of a 60-year decommissioning process. If approved by the county and the Iowa Utilities Board, the project would be constructed in two phases. Duane Arnold I is a proposed 50-megawatt solar energy project on approximately 316 acres of agricultural land within an 857-acre area project site in Linn County, while Duane Arnold II is a proposed 150-megawatt solar energy project and a 75-megawatt battery energy storage system on approximately 815 acres of largely agricultural land within a 1,780-acre area project site, also in Linn County. Once completed, ownership of both projects would be transferred to Alliant Energy, through its subsidiary Interstate Power & Light Company (IPL), for ongoing operation. The project already has a leg up in the approval process. The Iowa Utilities Board in late July issued an order granting a request for waivers and certificates of public convenience, use and necessity for the Duane Arnold Solar. Under the order, the IUB will issue the certificates for the two projects if they’re approved by the Linn County Board of Supervisors under the county’s utility-scale solar installation ordinance.