The following is an OpEd on the status of the Border Basin solar project written by Galehead’s Director of Project Development, Ben Metcalf, and published in the Hancock County Courier newspaper.
Solar, initially built to reduce pollution, is now cheaper to build and operate than coal, gas or nuclear. With gigawatts already built, solar is today’s conventional power and an economic imperative for utilities.
Ohio is Top 5 among U.S. states for both manufacturing and electricity consumption and leading in manufacturing means leading in energy. The Ohio Manufacturers’ Association addresses this critical relationship stating in its policy principles that “Sustainable energy systems support the long-term viability of Ohio manufacturing.” Cheap, reliable power helps Ohio manufacturers compete and win.
In the Navy, I was a Seabee in a Naval Construction Battalion that built buildings, ports and forward operating bases. Now I lead the development of Border Basin Solar in Cass Township for Galehead Development. The project spans 1,000 acres of private land, away from any towns and abutting railroad tracks to the south along Highway 12, which serves as a natural buffer.
Our project will keep electricity prices low in Ohio. It will add millions of dollars of new tax revenue to Hancock County and to the Arcadia and Van Buren local schoo districts. It will preserve farmland from competing industrial development. Year-round cover crops planted below the panels with native seeds will boost pollinator populations. It will be quiet. It will drain as well as or better than before. It will not pollute. Its production will be predictable and reliable, rising and setting with the sun.
All aspects of our project are vetted in the most rigorous and transparent manner by the Ohio Power Siting Board. Its commercial viability will be proven in the fierce competition of the PJM wholesale energy market, with power purchase agreements subject to board and investment committee approvals of public utilities and corporate energy purchasers.
Though there exists a transparent and readily available public record about the details and history of our project hosted prominently on the OPSB website, misinformation about the project, the science of solar, and the opportunity for a renewable source of economic development in Hancock County causes public confusion and unnecessary resentment. There remains a vocal minority who oppose both the project and the opportunity to build a new industry and resiliency for Ohio’s manufacturing economy, despite the passive nature of this project, despite its many benefits (including a tremendous revenue windfall to the county and local school districts), and despite the dangerous precedent of socializing landowners’ private property rights.
For those interested in how we are building the future of American and Ohio’s energy, or wondering about the facts of this project, its impacts and the true opportunity of solar development for Ohioans, we recommend the following resources:
- Border Basin OPSB docket 21-0277-EL-BGN hosted on the OPSB website.
- “Levelized Costs of New Generation Resources in the Annual Energy Outlook 2021” hosted on the Department of Energy’s EIA website.
- “Measuring the Economic Impacts of Utility-Scale Solar in Ohio” hosted on the Ohio University website.
Director of Development
Galehead Development, LLC
Learn more at: www.borderbasin.com.