Open Road Renewables proposed the Hillcrest Solar Project near Mt. Orab in Brown County, Ohio. The project was originally scoped for a 125 Megawatts (MW) facility; the final project is expected to generate up to 200 MW from approximately 1,855 acres of solar panels and supporting infrastructure (i.e. access roads, collection lines, laydown yards, O&M facilities, switchyard, etc.).
The Hillcrest project is one of the first utility-scale solar projects to receive its necessary certificate of Environmental Compatibility and Public Need (CECPN) and awarded the Construct an Electric Generation Facility through the Ohio Power Siting Board (OPSB) permitting process (Case No. 17-1152-EL-BGN). Additionally, an interconnection service agreement is in place with the regional transmission organization to interconnect the project to the Duke Energy-owned Hillcrest substation.
Cardno was a key environmental consultant for the project and conducted a desktop review of 2,400 acres. Cardno evaluated environmental features, field wetland and stream delineations; habitat evaluations using the Ohio Rapid Assessment Method (ORAM); and rare, threatened, and endangered presence/absence surveys within the study area. Cardno then prepared the ecological assessment report — a key component in support of the CECPN application submitted to OPSB. Cardno also coordinated agency consultation, conducted impact assessment, and provided expert testimony during OPSB approval hearings.
Innergex Renewable Energy acquired the Hillcrest Solar Project from Open Road Renewables. Under Innergex, Cardno prepared the preconstruction notices for USACE Nationwide permitting for access roads and collection lines crossing and/or impacting U.S. waters.
The Hillcrest project is currently under construction. During the construction process, Cardno is supporting permit compliance, agency coordination, public outreach, and construction monitoring (based on certificate condition and Ohio EPA requirements).