Solar power coming to Monson property

OneEnergy Renewables’ Steel Bridge solar power production project in Polk County, Ore.

Credit: Photo courtesy of One Energy Renewables
OneEnergy Renewables’ Steel Bridge solar power production project in Polk County, Ore.

— The City of Sunnyside and OneEnergy Renewables of Seattle are well set to sign an agreement for production of electrical power on the old Monson Feedlot property.

The city finalized the purchase of the property for $2.5 million in 2007 in a controversial move to close the operation, which had an aroma that too often didn’t sit well with downwind Sunnysiders.

The city acquired the 151-acre property, cleaned it up and started looking for a proper use and user.

According to City Manager Don Day, the City Council is certain power production and OneEnergy are a proper use and user.

According to Project Manager Blake Bjornson, the deal will be for as many as 80 acres. The company will not use all the land.

Some of the fine details, like a signing date, aren’t determined yet. But, other important details are.

Day said OneEnergy could get to production soon, or it could take as many as five years.

However, he is confident, stating companies don’t go as far as OneEnergy has without fully intending to do business.

The relationship between Sunnyside and OneEnergy will start with a 5-year option to lease the property. That will give OneEnergy the time to “do its due diligence,” Day said.

“They still have to work out a deal with Pacific Power or some other company to buy the power,” he said.

Bjornson said there are so many variables that it takes time to determine the size of the operation and the output needs.

And, OneEnergy needs to determine if the Monson property is the right place for energy production.

“We have to check out soil conditions,” Bjornson said.

Once the deal is signed, the city will not be able to entertain any other possibilities for the property until OneEnergy walks away.

The lease option will give the company five years to do that.

For that control, OneEnergy will pay the city $2,000 for the first year of the option. The next four years, it will pay $3,000, $4,000, $5,000 and $6,000, if the option goes its full term.

If OneEnergy exercises its option before the five years end, Day said, a 26-year lease will be signed. It will start at $750 per acre of land per year and as rise 3 percent in each succeeding year. In the 11th year, the payment will be $1,007.94 per acre per year.


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