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Two proposed solar farms in Lexington face opposition on separate paths for approval

Two proposed solar farms in east Lexington would use nearly 1,200 acres and face opposition from some nearby residents and the Fayette Alliance, a land use advocacy group.
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Two proposed solar farms in east Lexington would use nearly 1,200 acres and face opposition from some nearby residents and the Fayette Alliance, a land use advocacy group.

Two proposed solar farms in eastern Fayette County are taking heat. Nashville-based Silicon Ranch’s operation would take up 800 acres, while East Kentucky Power Cooperative’s plant would involve nearly 400 acres. Nick Comer, the external affairs manager for the co-op, said they’re trying to cut the amount of carbon dioxide their power plants produce.

“Of course, a lot of the electricity we make comes from coal, from natural gas. As we go forward, EKPC has a sustainability plan, and we're looking to add more renewables to our portfolio.”

Critics include nearby residents and the Fayette Alliance, a land-use advocacy group. Monday night’s informational meeting at Macedonia Christian Church won’t be the last time the Fayette Alliance speaks up in opposition, according to executive director Brittany Roethemeier.

“We do have serious concerns about the impacts of locating large-scale solar facilities on Lexington-Fayette County’s world-renowned soils. Overall, we do not believe that industrial-scale solar facilities should be permitted in our agricultural zones.

The state Public Service Commission will decide whether to grant permission for the co-op’s solar farm, which Comer said would generate power for 4,500 homes and not require the removal of topsoil. Because Silicon Ranch is not a Kentucky utility, Lexington’s city council will make the call on that project.

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John McGary is a Lexington native and Navy veteran with three decades of radio, television and newspaper experience.
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