Emery County Makes Progress on Hunter Solar Project

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The Hunter Solar Project is a Community Reinvestment Project Area Plan that was created by the Emery County Redevelopment Agency in May. The authorization of the preparation of the plan was in accordance with provisions of Title 17C of the Utah Code Annotated 1953 as amended.

The objective of the plan is to use tax increment to expand and diversify Emery County’s industrial tax base and benefit all that are taxing entities. The plan also hopes to promote the efficient use of natural resources, support the growth and development of clean energy production, and more.

According to the agency, the plan will cover approximately 1,319 acres of undeveloped land that is located east of Clawson Town and south of the Hunter Power Plant.

The implementation, as well as execution, of the plan is to incentivize the development and operation of a utility-scale solar energy generation project, titled the “Solar Project.” This project was proposed by Hunter Solar, LLC, and is reported to benefit all local taxing entities while providing significant economic returns to Utah’s public school trust and create jobs, among other benefits.

The agency requested the participation of each taxing entity that levies a property tax within the plan area, asking them to agree to allow the agency to receive a percentage of the tax increment generated within the area for the terms of the plan. Separate interlocal agreements with each participating entity will be negotiated.

Discussion on this plan was had during the Oct. 5 Emery County Commission meeting, with the commissioners ultimately approving the ordinance to adopt the plan and budget as outlined.

The Emery County Water Conservancy District also recently met to discuss this plan, voting in the affirmative to support the amount that the county and the Emery County School District (ECSD) agree to match. There is 4.5 million in tax revenue projected over 20 years for this project and the conservancy district’s portion is about $160,000.

Since that is a smaller amount, they stated that they will match what the other two entities wish to do. While the ECSD is not meeting to decide until Nov. 6, the county has passed and is committed to a 50 percent incentive. Prior to now, 75 percent has been the standard incentive.

However, the county proposed the new incentive with the assistance of Sevier County, which is working on its own solar project and agreed to a 25 percent incentive. On Sevier County’s solar project, they are a quarter mile away from the substation. With the Hunter Solar Project, they will be about four miles away from the substation, which will cost the company about 5.5 million to run the power, thus the reason for the extra incentive.

Emery County Commissioner Kent Wilson also explained that the incentive will be based on new revenue.

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