IURC says solar farm project should be under local jurisdiction

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The IURC has declined jurisdiction of a proposed solar farm in Shelby County.

SHELBY COUNTY, IN (Inside INdiana Business) — The Indiana Utility Regulatory Commission has expressed confidence in the development of a proposed $175 million solar farm in Shelby County by taking the administrative and regulatory steps of declining to take jurisdiction of the project.

New York-based Ranger Power says it plans to build the 199-megawatt solar farm on a 1,200-acre site, starting construction in 2021 or 2022.

By declining jurisdiction, the IURC is effectively putting the Speedway Solar project under local regulatory control. In its order, the state agency said Ranger Power has “demonstrated that it has the technical, financial, and managerial capability to construct and operate the proposed facility. It has also shown that the wholesale market for electricity in Indiana will benefit from the addition of the generating capacity…”

The Indianapolis-based Wabash Valley Power Association announced in December 2018 that it would purchase 100 percent of the energy produced by the solar farm.

Ranger Power said with the power going directly to WVPA and its 19 rural electric cooperatives, and not selling the power to the general public, the IURC had further reason to decline jurisdiction.

“We are focused on bringing this significant investment in clean energy to Shelby County and Indiana. We continue to work with local officials and our landowner partners as we prepare for design and construction,” said Ranger Power Chief Executive Officer Adam Cohen.

The company says it’s not uncommon for regulatory agencies, like the IURC, to decline jurisdiction on smaller power producers. But this is the first time the agency issued the order for a large-scale operation, according to Ranger Power.

In May, the Shelby County Development Corp. said the Speedway Solar project had received all necessary approvals from local government agencies.

Ranger Power says it wants to have the solar farm online in 2023.

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