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KNOX, Ind. (Inside INdiana Business) — Israel-based Doral Renewables LLC has signed an Engineering Procurement and Construction Agreement for the massive Mammoth Solar project in northwest Indiana. The company says the deal with SOLV Energy in California represents the plan to build the solar farm’s first phase.

Officials broke ground on the $1.5 billion solar farm in Starke and Pulaski counties last October. The $475 million first phase, also known as Mammoth North, is expected to generate 400 megawatts of electricity, enough to power about 75,000 homes annually.

“We are excited to partner with SOLV Energy LLC for this phase of Mammoth,” Amit Nadkarni, vice president of project management at Doral, said in written remarks. “It has been a challenging year in the solar industry and we are happy to have the SOLV Energy team by our side as we navigate through these challenges. We will be mobilizing this month, and we look forward to the construction of this project over the next 15-18 months and adding 400 MWs of clean energy to the grid.”

The first phase is expected to be operational in mid-2023. A Power Purchase Agreement with Ohio-based AEP Energy was inked just over a year ago.

When complete, the entire Mammoth Solar project is expected to generate 1.3 gigawatts of power, or enough to power 175,000 homes in Indiana and Illinois.

KNOX, Ind. (Inside INdiana Business) — Israel-based Doral Renewables LLC has received more investment for its massive solar project in northwest Indiana. Migdal Insurance, also based in Israel, says it has committed up to $75 million in additional funding in the second phase of the Mammoth Solar project, bringing its total direct investment to $175 million.

Mammoth Solar is a $1.5 billion project being built on 13,000 acres in Starke and Pulaski counties. Officials broke ground in October on the project’s first phase, which is expected to produce 400 megawatts of energy when it becomes operational.

Migdal’s new investment commitment is being made in exchange for a 22.5% ownership stake in the project. The second phase, construction for which is expected to begin this year, will be able to produce 300 megawatts of electricity when operational.

“We are delighted to deepen our investment in Doral LLC’s activities,” said Erez Migdali, deputy chief investment officer and head of private assets at Migdal. “This significant, growing partnership is an indication of our trust in the renewables industry and in Doral. I have no doubts that this deal, signed in the first days of 2022, is the first among many new investments we intend to promote in the upcoming year.”

Mammoth Solar, which will also include a third phase, will ultimately have the capacity to generate 1.65 gigawatts of power, or enough electricity to power some 175,000 homes in Indiana and Illinois.

NORTH JUDSON, Ind. (Inside INdiana Business) — The state will Friday kick off a celebration of trails with a ribbon cutting in Starke County. Governor Eric Holcomb declared 2021-2022 as “Indiana’s Year of the Trails” following a resolution passed by the Indiana General Assembly earlier this year.

The Rails-to-Trails Conservancy says the designation “creates an opportunity to bring trails users, business owners, nonprofits, local and state elected officials, and other stakeholders together to experience Hoosier trails and share the value of walking, biking and other non-motorized infrastructure for all Indiana residents and visitors.”

Officials will kick off the year-long celebration by cutting the ribbon on the Erie Trail Extension along the Great American Rail-Trail in North Judson. Other events are set to take place this weekend in Muncie, Fort Wayne and Indianapolis.

“Indiana’s Year of the Trails creates a meaningful opportunity to foster community around the trail network that’s growing across the state,” said Brian Housh, Midwest policy manager for the RTC and a lead organizer behind the initiative. “It gives us a chance to celebrate iconic projects like the Great American Rail-Trail, which will connect hundreds of miles of trail in Indiana and will bring significant economic, health, recreational, safety and other quality of life benefits to Hoosiers.”

Housh says the celebration sets up for efforts during the next legislative session as trail stakeholders will be looking to secure permanent funding for the governor’s $150 million Next Level Trails program, which was established in 2018. The RTC says permanent funding would amount to $10 million annually.

KNOX, Ind. (Inside Indiana Business) – Israel-based Doral Renewables LLC has broken ground on the first phase of a $1.5 billion solar farm in Starke and Pulaski counties. The developer says the 1.65 gigawatt Mammoth Solar project will create 50 full-time jobs by 2023 and ultimately generate enough clean energy to power 175,000 homes in Indiana and Illinois.

The first phase of the project represents a $475 million investment that will produce 400 megawatts of electricity when it becomes operational, which is expected to be in mid-2023. The Indiana Economic Development Corp. says the project is also projected to remove 40,000 tons of greenhouse gas emissions and conserve 1 billion gallons of irrigation well water annually.

“This project will be a model for solar energy in Indiana and the Midwest as a whole,” said Nick Cohen, chief executive officer of Doral. “The 400 megawatts of energy produced here during the first phase of the project is enough to power 75,000 Midwestern households and will infuse millions of much-needed dollars into local Indiana communities. Support from local landowners and community leaders was also instrumental in making this project happen, and we look forward to working with them for decades to come.”

The IEDC says Mammoth Solar will be the largest solar farm in the U.S. Phases two and three of the project are expected to begin next year and draw $1 billion in additional investments.

“Knowing Indiana will continue to play a key role in the global energy sector while creating real change in our Hoosier communities is empowering,” Governor Eric Holcomb said in a news release. “It’s encouraging to witness the power industry moving toward reliable, affordable and ever more clean renewable energy sources for generations of Hoosiers to come.”

Ohio-based AEP Energy has already inked power purchase agreements for the first and second phases of the project.

In addition to the 50 full-time jobs, the project is expected to create 500 construction jobs over the next few years. The IEDC says it is working with Doral Renewables to finalize tax incentives for the project. Starke and Pulaski counties are also considering incentives.

KNOX, Ind. (Inside INdiana Business) — Israel-based Doral Renewables LLC will Thursday break ground on the first phase of a massive solar project in Starke and Pulaski counties. When complete, Doral says the Mammoth Solar will be able to produce 1.3 gigawatts of clean energy.

Mammoth Solar will ultimately cover 13,000 acres of land. Ohio-based AEP Energy has already inked power purchase agreements for the first and second phases of the project.

The first phase of the project, known as Mammoth Solar I, is expected to be complete by the summer of 2023.

Governor Eric Holcomb and Indiana Secretary of Commerce Brad Chambers will be on hand for the groundbreaking ceremony, which is scheduled to begin at 2 p.m. local time in Knox.

STARKE COUNTY, Ind. (Inside INdiana Business) — Ohio-based AEP Energy has signed another long-term purchase agreement for power provided by a 1,400-megawatt solar farm in northern Indiana. The utility says the energy will come from the second phase of the Mammoth solar project, which is beginning construction next year.

The Mammoth project, located in Starke and Pulaski counties, is being developed by Israel-based renewable energy developer Doral LLC. Chief Executive Officer Nick Cohen says the project has strong community and government support.

“The economic impact through jobs, vendor contracts and taxes will work to revitalize the area,” said Cohen. “Pulaski County is utilizing its competitive advantage of being at the intersection of two electrical grid systems and having flat farmland as far as the eye can see. Instead of buying power from farmers in other states, Indiana and its farmers, through projects like Mammoth, have a real opportunity to be energy independent and even export power to neighboring states. Indiana is taking the lead as a true economic powerhouse.”

The second phase of the Mammoth project, known as Mammoth Solar II, is expected to be operational in 2024. 

In April, AEP signed a deal to acquire power from the 480-megawatt first phase of the Mammoth project, known as Mammoth Solar I. That phase is expected to begin construction in the fourth quarter and be complete by the second quarter of 2023.

AEP Energy is a subsidiary of American Electric Power (Nasdaq: AEP), which also owns Indiana Michigan Power Co., headquartered in Fort Wayne.

WASHINGTON, D.C. (Inside INdiana Business) — The U.S. Economic Development Administration (EDA) has awarded two grants totaling more than $4 million to two Indiana communities. U.S. Secretary of Commerce Gina Raimondo says the funding will support workforce training programs in Starke County and promote business growth and job creation in Noble County.

The EDA awarded $2.8 million to Starke County Initiative for Lifelong Learning in Knox to build a 12,000-square-foot workforce training center. The facility will be used for precision welding, automation, robotics and equipment maintenance training programs.

The EDA says the project will be matched with nearly $700,000 in local funds and is expected to generate more than $24 million in private investment and create 640 jobs.

“SCILL is a unique and vital program that provides Hoosiers in Starke County with new opportunities by helping them build the job skills they need to thrive,” said Congresswoman Jackie Walorski (R-02). “This investment in SCILL’s mission will help expand its efforts to strengthen our workforce, ensure local businesses can hire the skilled workers they need, and make a real difference in people’s lives.”

Additionally, the EDA awarded $1.3 million to the Noble County town of Avilla. The funding, along with $1.3 million in local matching funds, will be used for road, water and sewer infrastructure improvements in support of the town’s industrial park.

The EDA says the project will generate $7.8 million in private investment, create 70 jobs and retain more than 360 jobs.

STARKE CO., Ind. (Inside INdiana Business) — Ohio-based AEP Energy has signed a long-term renewable energy purchase agreement for power from a 1,400-megawatt solar farm in north central Indiana. The Mammoth Solar project covers more than 12,000 acres in Starke and Pulaski counties and is being developed by Doral LLC, a renewable energy developer based in Israel.

“AEP Energy is focused on providing customers with integrated, carbon-free energy supplies that deliver long-term price stability while benefitting the environment and surrounding communities,” said Greg Hall, president, AEP Energy. “Agreements like the one with Doral LLC demonstrate how our innovative energy solutions can support the development of new renewable clean energy resources, boost local economies and help our customers power their homes and businesses with clean, reliable energy.”

Mammoth Solar 1 is expected to begin construction during the fourth quarter of 2021 and reach commercial operation by the second quarter of 2023.

AEP Energy is a subsidiary of American Electric Power Inc. (Nasdaq: AEP), which also owns Fort Wayne-based Indiana Michigan Power Co.

KNOX, Ind. (Inside INdiana Business) — A startup beverage manufacturer has announced plans to establish operations in Starke County. The Indiana Economic Development Corp. says Common Collabs, which makes cold brew coffee and other consumer packaged goods beverages, will invest $22 million to build and equip a 60,000-square-foot production facility in Knox and create up to 80 jobs over the next few years. The company broke ground on the facility earlier this week.

Common Collabs says the facility will feature state-of-the-art, custom-designed equipment to support its proprietary coffee manufacturing process. The company was co-founded by third and fourth generation family members of Wilbur Curtis, who nearly 80 years ago founded the Wilbur Curtis Co., which manufactures commercial coffee equipment.

“On behalf of the City of Knox, I would like to welcome Common Collabs and members of the Curtis family to our community,” Knox Mayor Dennis Estok said in a news release. “For over 75 years, the Curtis family has instilled strong family values into their business. They take pride in their workmanship and the products that they manufacture. This family-owned business believes in being loyal to their customers’ needs, their employees and forming strong community relationships. We are excited to see this company become a vital part of our city and we look forward to building a long-lasting community partnership with them.”

The new jobs are expected to offer competitive average salaries for the state and county. The IEDC has offered Common Collabs up to $800,000 in conditional tax credits, which the company will not be eligible to claim until Hoosier workers are hired for the new positions.

The city of Knox will consider additional incentives at the request of the Starke County Economic Development Foundation.

KNOX, Ind. (CNN) – Two formerly conjoined brothers who call Indiana home are now 3 years old and making amazing strides. 

Their parents said Jadon and Anias McDonald, since the boys had separation surgery in 2016, have had downs and plenty of ups.

After two years, Nicole and Christian McDonald decided to leave New York – the city they adopted to help care for their boys – and return home to the Midwest.

It meant big changes for everyone. The biggest changes of all though were the boys. 

Three-year-old Jadon is starting to read. But, as with most stories, along with victories came defeats. 

With conjoined twins, there is almost always one that is more dominant and one at a greater disadvantage. In this case, that’s Anias.

Nicole said, “That’s where I kind of fell apart this year (2018) because the child that hit so many walls before and you just want him to fly you know and he’s still stuck on the ground.”

Father Christian said, “In this day and age, we’re kind of a quantum leap society. We want quick fixes and, if it doesn’t happen quick, then we almost get discouraged and think that it can’t happen. But, you know we really need to understand that amazing things can happen, and Anias can do amazing things and will do amazing things.”

But, even Anias has made gains. He no longer needs any of the machinery that was used to monitor him. He’s starting to be a kid again and playing with his toys.

It’s hard to believe that just 2 years ago, Anias and Jadon were connected.

And amazingly, Nicole and Christian are now more connected than ever.

Christian said, “I think we’re getting stronger and better every day. I mean, I guess they say, you know, sometimes difficult circumstances. You go through the fire, you come out stronger on the other side and I think that’s definitely true for us. It’s definitely made us better as a couple.. “

Nicole said, “this forced us into family. I’ve gained so much respect for him through the process and the dad that he is and then in the way that he’s been able to support me but we also have to remember that we’re not done. You know our future has a lot more.”