Reprinted with permission from the The Press-Dispatch, July 8, 2020
Editor’s note: (The following is a news release submitted by Capital Dynamics and Tenaska)
A 150-megawatt (MW) solar field proposed for Pike County is anticipated to bring construction jobs, tax revenue, landowner lease payments and other economic benefits to Pike County. The project under development by the Clean Energy Infrastructure (CEI) business of Capital Dynamics and Tenaska represents an estimated $128 million investment in the area economy.
“There is a growing demand for solar in the Midwest, and we are excited to bring the Ratts 1 Solar Project and these many economic benefits to Pike County,” said Tiago Sabino Dias, executive vice president of development of Arevon Energy Management, the CEI platform’s dedicated energy solutions business.
“We intend to be part of the local business community for many years to come.” Capital Dynamics, an independent global private asset management firm, is the second- largest owner of solar facilities in the United States. It has a relationship with Tenaska, one of the largest private independent energy companies in the country, to develop nearly 8,000 megawatts of solar projects.
The Ratts 1 Solar Project in Pike County is located on roughly 1,200 acres in Jefferson Township. Construction is anticipated to begin in 2021 and last for 12 to 18 months. Once operational in 2023, the solar field will deliver renewable power to Indiana utilities and/ or electrical cooperatives.
A study conducted by Gnarly Tree Sustainability Institute, in collaboration with Dr. Kenneth Richards of Indiana University’s O’Neill School of Public and Environmental Affairs, reported that the Ratts 1 project would bring broad economic benefits to Pike County, including:
Direct Construction Jobs: Employment of varying durations for up to 350 people within the county, or the equivalent of 188 full-time jobs for an entire year.
Direct Operations Jobs: Full-time employment for 4 workers overseeing operations and maintenance for the expected 35-year project life.
Local Goods and Services: Annual expenditures on goods and services in excess of $350,000 per year for 35 years.
Gross Domestic Product: Contribution of $19.3 million to Pike County Gross Domestic Product during construction, with an additional $800,000 per year during operation.
Additional jobs and spending as an indirect outcome of economic activities created by the project, including an additional 42 full-time, full-year jobs during the construction phase and an additional five jobs for the next 35 years of operations.
Ashley Polen Willis, executive director of Pike County Economic Development Corporation, said: “This project holds tremendous opportunity for Pike County. It is a $128 million investment that will continue to pay dividends to the people of our county. Not only will it provide hundreds of construction jobs during these difficult economic times, but it also will pump nearly $1 million per year into our county GDP for the next 35 years. Over the life of this project, Pike County will gain approximately $28 million in revenue. This is a win-win for Pike County.”
The demand for renewable energy within the Midcontinent Independent System Operator (MISO) market is expected to grow from 8% today to 30% by the end of the decade. Recent transactions by Indiana utilities illustrate that solar is becoming a preferred technology based on its competitive price and an energy profile that aligns with periods of peak demand. Solar provides state and community leaders an opportunity to diversify their electricity sources while addressing environmental concerns and creating economic opportunity.
“We are proud to be working with Capital Dynamics to bring the Ratts 1 Solar Project to Pike County,” said Steve Johnson, senior vice president in Tenaska’s Strategic Development & Acquisitions Group. “Not only will this project bring jobs and economic opportunity, it will generate climate- friendly electricity for 35 years, then return the land – rested and restored – back to landowners for their personal use.”
Tenaska and Capital Dynamics claim they have been working with county officials on a tax abatement “that would maximize the property tax benefit to the county while also ensuring the project remains competitive with similar solar fields and maintains financial viability over the long term. An economic development agreement will pair a tax abatement for the project with economic development payments, providing additional monetary income to the county.”
However, those meetings have only taken place in executive sessions, which are not open to the public. Consequently, how much abatement they are requesting has not been released.
They continued, “Despite no zoning requirements in Pike County, Capital Dynamics and Tenaska have worked with county officials to impose rules about certain technical aspects of the project, such as setbacks. Additional agreements will ensure that roads are maintained during construction of the project and that there is a decommissioning plan that returns the land to its pre-construction use.”
Residents near the proposed project have raised concerns about the original proposed setback, which they claim was only 100 feet from a dwelling. Pike County Councilmen, off the record, have said this is not enough setback and they are working to increase that distance.
More information about the project is available at www.pikecountysolar.com, via email at firstname.lastname@example.org or phone at 812-213-0179.
About Capital Dynamics Capital Dynamics is an independent global asset management firm focusing on private assets including private equity, private credit and clean energy infrastructure. Tenaska, based in Omaha, Nebraska, is one of the leading independent energy companies in the United States. Forbes magazine consistently ranks Tenaska among the 50 largest private U.S. companies. Gross operating revenues were approximately $9.9 billion in 2019. Tenaska has developed approximately 10,500 megawatts (MW) of natural gas-fueled and renewable power projects.
Affiliate Tenaska Solar Ventures provides development services to approximately 65 projects in 15 states, totaling roughly 11,000 MW of renewable solar capacity. Tenaska and its affiliates have managed the acquisition and divestiture of 10,500 MW of energy assets. The current Tenaska operating fleet includes 12 natural gas-fueled and renewable generating facilities able to generate approximately 8,200 MW combined.
Tenaska affiliates are industry leaders in natural gas and electric power marketing. Tenaska Marketing Ventures (TMV) is among the top five largest natural gas marketers in North America and is the top-ranked natural gas pipeline capacity trader. TMV is consistently top ranked by its customers in the annual Mastio & Company Natural Gas Marketer Customer Value / Loyalty Benchmarking Study. During 2019, TMV sold or managed 10.7 billion cubic feet (BCF) of natural gas per day.
Tenaska Power Services Co. is the leading provider of energy management services to generation and demand-side customers in the U.S., with more third party-owned generation under management than any other provider.