Letter — Open to discussion of Riverstone Solar project

Published 10:45 am Wednesday, March 9, 2022

To the Editor:

Over the years I have spent a tremendous amount of time in Buckingham County. I have traveled on your roads, walked through your woods, and floated in your rivers countless times. This county and community are truly beautiful, and I am grateful to those who have welcomed me and given me an earful alike.

I am proud to be a part of the Riverstone Solar project. Thoughtful community design is at the forefront of our decision making and throughout the development of our project we have worked very closely with county staff, your elected officials, and neighbors to shape Riverstone into a project that will thrive within the community and co-exist with surrounding land uses.

We have been engaged with the community since June of last year and in that time have been constantly adjusting the project to weave your feedback directly into our design and the associated conditions that have been codified with the project. Each condition is a targeted solution to specific concerns that have been brought forward. We have pushed the limits with our design team to incorporate features into this project meant to protect the environment, control erosion and sediment, and manage water.

Riverstone is a good project that will bring substantial benefits to Buckingham County. Not only is this project fundamentally safe, but it is going to make a significant economic contribution to Buckingham. If Riverstone comes to fruition Buckingham will receive about $16.8 Million in direct tax revenues over the operational life of the project. The construction itself is estimated to produce $66 Million in economic output and create over 400 jobs. Our goal is to ensure as much of that investment as possible stays local, so if you are a local contractor or business in Buckingham, please let us know who you are and how you can support the construction of the project at www. riverstonesolar.com/vendor_sign_up. We want to hear from you.

I firmly believe in solar energy. The communities I work in have to weigh decisions on what their future will look like and trust that we will be good stewards of their land, keep our word, and build something we can all be proud of. Our climate and our energy security are dependent on counties like Buckingham leading the way to responsible development of renewables. I am proud to be here, working on this project to drive economic development while protecting our environment and diversifying our energy supply for generations to come.

Whether you are supportive or skeptical of Riverstone, do not hesitate to call or email me at (434) 282-2107 or jimmy.merrick@apexcleanenergy. com. I look forward to speaking with you soon.

Jimmy Merrick

Charlottesville