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PUC to host public input hearing on Byron Solar project

The hearing will be held at K-M High School on Jan. 25.

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Andrew Link / Created with Datawrapper
Andrew Link / Created with Datawrapper
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KASSON — The public will get a chance to weigh in concerning the Byron Solar project.

The Minnesota Public Utilities Commission and Minnesota Department of Commerce will host a public hearing on the proposed 200-megawatt solar installation that would cover portions of Canisteo and Mantorville townships in Dodge County and include a 3-mile, 345 kilovolt high-voltage transmission line connecting to the existing Byron substation in Byron.

The hearing will be at 6 p.m. Jan. 25 at Kasson-Mantorville High School.

In-person attendees are asked to arrive a few minutes early to pick up materials and get a seat. Area residents or interested parties will have the opportunity to make oral and/or written comments for the record. Furthermore, staff from the PUC, the department of commerce and Byron Solar will be available to answer questions about the project and the review process.

Comments from the public will be used to develop the scope of the environmental assessment for this project.

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The solar array would occupy approximately 1,801 acres of farmland south of U.S. Highway 14 between Kasson and Byron with another 52.7 acres devoted to the transmission line right-of-way.

The project, according to PUC documents, would use photovoltaic solar panels mounted on linear tracking systems. The developer, Byron Solar, LLC, expects the project will begin construction in early 2023, and the project will be online by the end of 2024.

In addition to the in-person access, the meeting will include a virtual option. All materials presented in person also will be available online.

For those who want to make comments remotely, they must access the meeting via telephone at 800-374‐0221. To view the meeting online, access is available through minnesota.webex.com using the conference ID: 4086069, event number: 2491 778 9006, and password: 66782.

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Written comments on the environmental assessment of the project will be accepted until 4:30 p.m. Feb. 15 by Suzanne Steinhauer at mn.gov/commerce/energyfacilities/#comment ; via email at suzanne.steinhauer@state.mn.us; via USPS at Suzanne Steinhauer, Environmental Review Manager Minnesota Department of Commerce, 85 Seventh Place East, Suite 280, St. Paul, MN 55101; or via fax at 651-539‐0109.

Comments should cover topics such as potential human and environmental impacts of the proposed project that should be considered in the environmental assessment, possible methods of mitigation or minimization of those impacts, alternative routes for the 345 kV transmission line, unique characteristics of the proposed project site or route that should be considered, other ways to meet the stated need for the project such as a different size project or a different type of facility, or concerns with the certificate of need, site or route permit applications.

Brian Todd is the news editor at the Post Bulletin. When not at work, he spends time with his family, roots for the Houston Astros and watches his miniature dachshund sleep, which is why that dog is more bratwurst than hotdog. Readers can reach Brian at 507-285-7715 or btodd@postbulletin.com.
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