Letter – Doubts linger on solar project

Published 5:20 pm Tuesday, December 27, 2022

Editor, The Smithfield Times:

Pine Gate’s flaws brightened in its Dec. 8 second pitch to the Isle of Wight Board of Supervisors for Ho-Fel Solar. The board again tabled and did not reject Ho-Fel Solar.

Pine Gate’s way to the Board of Supervisors was via misrepresentation to the Isle of Wight Planning Commission in stating the BOS’ 2019 approval was a “previous approved” 40 MW facility and referred to the 2019 proposals with Fix versus Sun Tracking Panel Systems. In actuality, the 2019 BOS approval was for a 55 MW Single Axis East to West Sun Tracking, thus additional land is not required.

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More disclosures on utility scale solar facilities are needed, thanks to Pine Gate’s Dec. 8 new flaws. Pine Gate could not comment on whether all power produced will be consumed, and leased land terms were questionable as to align with the 40-year life of the facility.

Who and what protect landowners when electricity produced does not make market? It is likely more renewable Nameplate MW will be available than that is consumed or saved, the supply will be greater than demand on mild days (Reference: Energy.Virginia.gov and PJM.com). Wind turbines and solar facilities are increasing from approximately 2,000 MW Nameplate to over 45,000 MW Nameplate in five to 10 years, and gas and nuclear rightfully are not going away.  How can a Pine Gate validate a 40-year life with five-year increment land leases? Where is the guarantee that the facility will be viable and exist to provide tax revenue, and pay leases even in 20 years and beyond?

Revenue share as high as $4.5 million over Ho-Fel’s 40-year life is a product of the commonwealth of Virginia. To prove revenue share, a competent developer and engineer can easily add more disclosures of replacement fuel savings per year, power purchase agreement estimates per MWHr and energy produced annually MWHr.


David Tucker