Terra Ceia School Solar Showdown => Terra Ceia School vs Wilkinson Solar => Topic started by: citizensscience on June 13, 2017, 01:24:58 PM

Title: Wilkinson Solar Wraps-Up Terra Ceia Private School
Post by: citizensscience on June 13, 2017, 01:24:58 PM
Terra Ceia community fights huge solar farm

Residents of remote Beaufort County community say solar facility could destroy North Carolina's oldest private school

Don Carrington in CJ Exclusives
June 12, 2017

Jeanne Van Staalduinen teaches at Terra Ceia Christian School in Beaufort County.

Four generations of her family have been involved with the modest school, tucked neatly in an austere wedge of this historic slice of North Carolina, about 18 miles east of Washington. It’s a place not far from where the Pungo and Pamlico rivers empty into the Pamlico Sound.

A place where things are serene, peaceful. Tightly knit. A great environment for learning and to explore one’s faith.

For now.

An industrial solar farm, for instance, not only would interrupt the scene but also obliterate it, the school becoming a victim of the so-called green revolution.

Van Staalduinen, like many residents of this sparsely populated corner of the county, are understandably worried. Their concerns aren’t without precedent, and, in the end, their efforts to stop the project may prove futile.

“Instead of perpetuating the growth of our school, the placement of these solar panels will halt and kill it,” Van Staalduinen testified May 17 during hearing in Washington before three members of the North Carolina Utilities Commission. “These panels waste some of Terra Ceia’s most valuable resources — our children and our farmland.”

Chicago-based Wilkinson Solar would build the 600-acre, 74-megawatt solar facility adjacent to the school. The project, with 288,120 solar panels, would be the largest solar array in North Carolina. An outside entity would buy the energy. A university or another large energy user, maybe.

None of the power from the project would be used directly in the community.

On March 13, Wilkinson Solar, through Raleigh attorney Henry Campen, filed with the NCUC a request to approve the Beaufort County project.

The commission held an evidentiary hearing May 22 and 23.

Attorney Dianna Downey and engineer Evan Lawrence represented the Public Staff of the utilities commission. Lawrence testified the project met all legal requirements, and the commission should approve it. He said environmental or appearance issues weren’t the responsibility of his office, and they should be addressed though the local permitting process and the environmental permitting process.

The Terra Ceia Christian School would be completely surrounded by the proposed solar farm. (CJ photo by Don Carrington)

Terra Ceia Christian School hired a lawyer to participate, but he was denied the chance to speak because the school failed to file a timely petition to intervene.

David Butcher, who lives adjacent to the proposed project, did, however, file such a petition. Raleigh attorneys Brady Allen and Dwight Allen represented Butcher, whose children had gone to Terra Ceia School.

Butcher said he is concerned for the students’ safety. Panels could break free in high winds, he said. Disrupting the existing drainage ditches would cause flooding, which also could affect his property.

He worries about the financial viability of the school. A fear of the unknown, he said, may keep many parents from considering Terra Ceia.

NCUC Commissioner ToNola Brown-Bland, who chaired the May 17 evidentiary hearing, agreed Terra Ceia Christian School is an important part of the community, and urged Wilkinson Solar and the school supporters to come together and coexist.

From left, N.C. Utilities Commissioners James Patterson, ToNola Brown-Bland, and Lyons Gray review evidence presented at a May hearing about the proposed solar farm in Beaufort County. (CJ photo by Don Carrington)

Whether that happens is uncertain at best.

The school goes back to 1937. It sits on 3 acres at Christian School and Terra Ceia roads near the community of Pantego. The school provides a Christian-based education for pre-kindergarten through 12th grade and has about 125 students from Beaufort and three adjoining counties.

Standing near the school one has a clean view in all directions. Look north, and then east. Fields and farmland. Soon solar panels rising from six and 10 feet above the ground could scar that view.

Wilkinson has approval from Beaufort County to proceed, but it must still get the OK from the Utilities Commission.

That’s much of the problem, school backers say. The approval process is biased toward authorizing projects that satisfy technical requirements. It doesn’t allow much leeway to consider local opposition, potential environmental problems, or other effects on the communities where they are sited.

“Butcher and Terra Ceia citizens know the area best. This case will set a tone nationwide for the media,” Brown-Bland said.

Alan Meijer has four children at Terra Ceia Christian School. They live a mile from the proposed site.

Meijer, who testified during the hearing, is the board president at the school, and his wife teaches there.

“Permitting the installation of the proposed photovoltaic facility is simply reprehensible given the immediate proximity of a K-12 school, the potential harm to students and property at the school, and the topography, drainage, and soil qualities of the site,” he said.

He, too, worries about flooding.

“I’m concerned that any attempt to stop the flooding of the land where the photovoltaic facility will be located will cause water to be diverted past the school and cause flooding of our property and buildings,” he said.

Meijer is just one voice against the project, though many others have joined the battle. In all 15 people testified May 17. They formed a powerful chorus.

Eddie Ewell lives in Plymouth and is a youth minister at Plymouth Church of Christ. His four children attend the school. He speaks about the potential health risks.

“We do not have enough evidence to feel that our children going to school in the middle of a solar panel field is the safest situation for them. If this project happens, we will be forced to remove our children from a school that we love, and I believe there are other parents who probably feel the same way,” he said.

Wilkinson Solar LLC, is a subsidiary of Chicago-based Invenergy, an international renewable energy developer. Invenergy officials created Wilkinson Solar in June 2016 to handle the Beaufort County project. Invenergy has built one other solar project in North Carolina, the 20-megawatt Morgan’s Corner facility near Elizabeth City, completed in 2015. In 2011, Invenergy tried to build a wind energy facility in the same general area of Beaufort County as the proposed solar project. It abandoned that effort a few years later.

Wilkinson Solar projects the facility would generate 175,376 megawatt hours annually. But, like wind energy, solar energy is inconstant and undependable. “Solar is an intermittent energy source, and therefore, the maximum dependable capacity is 0 MW,” states the application.

Wilkinson officials said the project would only be built if it can secure a buyer who will sign a long-term contract for the electricity.

A 35 percent state tax credit for solar and wind projects expired in 2015, but federal incentives are still in place. Another factor driving the demand for solar and wind projects is the desire by some organizations to claim they are investing in green energy to offset their use of electricity from more traditional sources such as coal, natural gas, and nuclear.

In 2015, online retailer Amazon signed a contract with Avangrid to buy all the power from the 104-turbine, 208-MW wind facility near Elizabeth City that began operation this year. The power doesn’t go directly to any Amazon facility. Rather, Amazon sells it through the PJM Interconnection a regional transmission organization. The wind generated electricity does not count toward the renewable standards for any North Carolina electric utility.

In October, three Boston-area entities — Massachusetts Institute of Technology, the Boston Medical Center, and the Post Office Square Redevelopment Corporation — contracted to buy all the power from the 60-MW Summit Farms Solar facility in Currituck County. The power doesn’t go directly to any of the three organizations. They sell it through the PJM Interconnection.

Residents and school supporters will continue to fight as they await a decision on Wilkinson’s application, expected sometime in July.

Kenneth Leys was the administrator at the school for 24 years and continues to teach part time. “My younger students taught me how to Google, and so I Googled educational research on how solar panels affect positively the quality of education. I could not find one article,” he said.

He glanced toward the Wilkinson representatives. “Change your decision and put those panels somewhere else.”

Another opponent, Jennifer Skvarla, wasn’t so blunt. But her plea came from the heart.

“I know this school, I know this community, and I know that we will do everything to protect our children. When you take the children away, then you take the heart and soul of what we have stood for all these years,” she said.

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series: Carolina Cronyism

categories: CJ Exclusives, Education (PreK-12), Energy & Environment, Land Use Planning, Law & Regulation, Local Government, North Carolina, Property Rights, State Government

tags: Beaufort County, solar energy, solar farm, Terra Ceia Christian School

Title: Wilkinson Solar Wraps-Up Terra Ceia Private School
Post by: citizensscience on June 13, 2017, 01:36:53 PM

Ryan Van Portfliet, Senior Analyst with Business Development Eastern Region of Energy (Chicago, Illinois),  says, "We have opened up communication. We would be more than happy to talk with folks further and we want to continue this conversation down the road."
Title: Wilkinson Solar Wraps-Up Terra Ceia Private School
Post by: citizensscience on June 13, 2017, 01:59:57 PM
Who is really behind this shell company... Wilkinson Solar LLC?

Chicago Solar Boss -  Michael Polsky

Title: Re: Wilkinson Solar Wraps-Up Terra Ceia Private School
Post by: citizensscience on June 13, 2017, 02:08:11 PM

Michael Polsky (Chicago Solar Boss) is the new owner of Jamie Dimon's Chicago mansion, sold at half of its original asking price, $6.95 million, says Crain's.

We can't find a record of these two ever working together, so it's not as cool as buying the boss' house, something Goldman's Bryce Markus and David Tepper both did, but we're guessing that crowning yourself king of Dimon's old mans still feels pretty awesome.

Polsky, the founder, President and CEO of Invenergy, was able to afford the place after he made his money in the energy business. An energy company he founded, SkyGen, was sold to Calpine. Now he's investing in alternative energy. Invenergy owns a number of wind farms.

He's also well-known because in 2007, he had to pay the biggest divorce settlement ever at the time, $184 million, to his ex-wife Maya Polsky, an artist.




North Carolina's Oldest Private School


Title: Wilkinson Solar Wraps-Up Terra Ceia Private School
Post by: citizensscience on June 15, 2017, 06:51:31 PM
While the hard working parents of Terra Ceia School age children are franticly planting their crops, the big money Chicago Solar Boss is filling the Raleigh swamp with money to drive his out of state profits... 

So, just who are these "Serpents" of the SWAMP??

Turns out their Parker-Poe Lobbyist who seem to have sold-out their fellow North Carolina neighbors for a Chicago Check??

Fortunately, these paid Swamp Serpents are required to be registered as public record.   

As such, you may want to kindly call them or perhaps email and inquire...


Katherine Ross represents businesses and local governments in regulatory matters and civil litigation.

In her regulatory practice, Katherine routinely advises clients on regulatory compliance matters, assists clients with obtaining permits and represents clients in negotiations with local and state agencies. As businesses grow, land use, zoning, environmental, ad valorem tax and other issues involving governmental entities frequently come up. Katherine works with clients to navigate these complex issues and works to evaluate the most cost-efficient path forward.

In her litigation practice, Katherine represents clients in complex civil matters, focusing on real property disputes. While Katherine understands that businesses and governmental entities tend to avoid litigation, she also knows that at times it is unavoidable. Katherine has obtained favorable bench and jury verdicts, and she works with clients to identify when it is worth fighting and when it makes business sense to  resolve a matter without a judge or jury. Whether a client is involved in a condemnation action, resolving an easement dispute, or fighting a property tax assessment, Katherine can assist.

With a focus on the energy sector, Katherine has assisted developers of renewable energy facilities as they develop more than 10,000 megawatts of generation. She represents clients seeking permits at the local, state and federal levels. She advises clients on Power Purchase Agreements, Interconnection Agreements and Agreements for the Sale of Renewable Energy Certificates. Katherine also helps clients navigate regulatory changes and provides counsel on the acquisition and sale of renewable energy facilities.

In addition, Katherine chairs Parker Poe's Pro Bono Committee. She spearheads and coordinates pro bono initiatives across all seven offices.


Recognized as a top North Carolina political influencer and one of the state’s most influential lobbyists, Bruce Thompson is part of Parker Poe’s Government & Public Policy group. He concentrates his practice in governmental and regulatory activities, including legislative representation and counsel before the United States Congress and the North Carolina General Assembly, strategy formulation, bill drafting, preparation of testimony for legislative committees, and appearances before state and federal executive agencies. He also focuses on economic development initiatives, having represented some of the nation’s largest companies in incentives negotiations with local and state officials.

In 2013, Campaigns & Elections magazine named him one of the top 10 political influencers from North Carolina as part of the publication’s “Influencers 500” list. The magazine described Bruce as a “top lobbyist” in North Carolina. He has been named to the list of “Most Influential Lobbyists” by the North Carolina Center for Public Policy Research, was recognized by North Carolina Super Lawyers for Government Relations and Administrative Law and has been named to Woodward/White’s The Best Lawyers in America since 2008.

Bruce served on the National Finance Committee for the Hillary Clinton for President Campaign and was an advisor to Secretary of State Clinton’s campaign during the North Carolina Primary. He served as legal counsel to United States Senator Kay Hagan in her successful campaign and also advised the North Carolina campaign of President Barack Obama during the 2008 general election. Additionally, he served as outside counsel for the 2012 campaign of United States Representative Mike McIntyre.

During each election cycle, news outlets including Media General, Fox News, UNC-TV, NBC-17, the Raleigh News & Observer, the Winston-Salem Journal and the New York Times call upon Bruce for commentary. His experience in state and national politics provides him with insight into the electoral process and its impact on public policy. He also utilizes this experience to advise clients on election law issues in addition to providing counsel on how to navigate the halls of government in Washington, D.C. and Raleigh, N.C.

Before joining Parker Poe, he was an assistant attorney general in the North Carolina Department of Justice. There, he represented the state colleges and universities, the community college system and the North Carolina Department of Public Instruction. He also served as a legal advisor to the North Carolina Commission on Business Laws and the Economy while a member of the attorney general’s staff.

Following graduation from law school, Bruce served as a law clerk for the Honorable Jack L. Cozort on the North Carolina Court of Appeals. He also managed a statewide campaign for North Carolina attorney general in 1996.

He is admitted to practice before the United States Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit and the United States Supreme Court.


Matt Wolfe concentrates his practice in the areas of administrative litigation, government relations, and health care regulatory matters.

Within his administrative litigation practice, Matt advises and counsels clients subject to federal and state regulatory actions. Matt routinely appears before the North Carolina Office of Administrative Hearings, the Office of Medicare Hearings and Appeals, State licensing boards, and federal and state courts.

Within his government relations practice, Matt formulates comprehensive political and public relations strategies on a broad range of federal and state policies. He drafts and monitors legislation, intervenes directly with legislative, executive, and local officials, and appears before state and federal executive agencies. Matt has also advised and assisted clients with issues related to federal and State appropriations and grants.

Within his health care regulatory practice, Matt advises clients on a wide spectrum of legal and compliance issues, including licensure, Medicaid and Medicare enrollment, reimbursement issues, privacy, government investigations, prepayment and postpayment reviews, managed care and accountable care organizations, and regulatory interpretation. Matt crafts unique solutions to thorny challenges facing members of the health care industry. Matt’s clients include health systems, acute care hospitals, psychiatric hospitals, physician practices, home health agencies, federally qualified health centers and look-alikes, hospice providers, behavioral health agencies, skilled nursing facilities, adult care homes, licensed professionals (e.g., physicians, nurses, licensed clinical social workers, respiratory therapists), and health IT and billing vendors. Matt also counsels health care trade associations and industry groups.

Matt has been selected as a Rising Star by the North Carolina Super Lawyers in health care (2015, 2017), administrative law (2016) and government relations (2014). Before joining Parker Poe, Matt served as a law clerk for the Honorable James C. Dever III, United States District Judge for the Eastern District of North Carolina.

While at Duke University School of Law, Matt served as an article editor on the Duke Law Journal, and was also a member of the National Moot Court team and the Mock Trial Board.

Before law school, he taught students with special needs in New Orleans, Louisiana, through Teach for America. He also served as a legislative aide in the British House of Commons. He served as assistant finance director for the campaign of former Representative Tom Reynolds (R-NY). He then worked in the Communications Section of the National Republican Congressional Committee under former Representative Tom Davis (R-VA).
Title: Get Involved - Text this link to friends and neighbors --
Post by: citizensscience on June 15, 2017, 10:03:19 PM

If you found this developing thread interesting considering texting / emailing to others --
Title: Wilkinson Solar Wraps-Up Terra Ceia Private School
Post by: citizensscience on June 18, 2017, 11:33:12 PM
Crooked Hillary, Swamp Serpent / Lobbyist Bruce Thompson and Parker Poe...


Should rural NC trust a Paid Parker Poe -- Swamp Donkey bought and paid for by a Chicago Solar Boss who trust Crooked Hillary??
Title: Wilkinson Solar Wraps-Up Terra Ceia Private School
Post by: citizensscience on June 24, 2017, 08:52:25 AM
Carolina Journal drops a bomb...  See link to full article @ Carolina Journal below -


What do you get when you mix a Chicago Solar Boss the Cops possible Fraud and 3 Solar "Pimps" from the Parker Poe "Swamp Lobby"??

Gertrude Respess claims Wilkinson Solar, and its parent company Invenergy Solar Development, last year took advantage of her dying husband Rhonda to obtain farmland for a large solar installation in Beaufort County.

Gertrude’s attorney Mario Perez also says a notarized statement filed with the Beaufort County Register of Deeds was not true, because the notary was not present when Rhonda and Gertrude Respess signed the memo authorizing the lease and an easement on their property.



Title: Re: Wilkinson Solar Wraps-Up Terra Ceia Private School
Post by: citizensscience on July 16, 2017, 02:52:35 AM

Big Solar means big loss to local community -

Another stated concern is that the solar farm would cause a net overall loss of revenue for the county: if TCS closes, more than $600,000 in salaries will be gone; and money spent locally through agribusinesses to farm the 600 acres would represent at least another $300,000 loss, according to Bradley Van Staalduinen, who spoke during the public comment period.

He compared that $900,000 loss to, at most, a $230,000 gain to the county from $80,000 in property tax revenue and a maximum of three employee salaries.
Title: Re: Wilkinson Solar Wraps-Up Terra Ceia Private School
Post by: citizensscience on August 04, 2017, 11:08:26 PM

Update - Chicago Solar Pimp and Parker Poe's "Swamp-Lobby"...


Title: Re: Wilkinson Solar Wraps-Up Terra Ceia Private School
Post by: citizensscience on August 05, 2017, 11:22:25 AM


via Carolina Journal

Ron Heiniger just wanted to be a farmer. He encouraged research to avoid solar industry encroachment on North Carolina’s prime farmlands.

But because of his academic study, the respected crop and soil scientist has become an unwilling poster child for anti-solar activists, vilified by the solar lobby, and chastened by his employer, N.C. State University.

“I’ve been called crazy. I’ve been threatened. My job’s been threatened. I really don’t want to advertise my issue very much anymore,” said Heiniger, who works at the Vernon G. James Research and Extension Center in Plymouth.

Left unchecked, Heiniger says, replacing prime farmland with utility-scale solar projects could destabilize a fragile agricultural ecosystem. He warns about soil erosion, leaching contaminants, and ruining soil for future crop growth.

Heiniger and Herb Eckerlin, an N.C. State professor emeritus of the College of Engineering, said they were silenced by the university. Cooperative Extension agents across the state were ordered to cancel popular public forums they had arranged independently to discuss pros and cons of the state’s rapid solar growth.

State lawmakers have jumped in, asking university officials if they have stifled viewpoints that don’t align with those of the solar lobby.

Local officials, higher education watchdogs, and grass-roots observers question whether N.C. State’s North Carolina Clean Energy Technology Center is a tax-supported lobbying arm of the North Carolina Sustainable Energy Association disguised as an academic pursuit.

Heiniger and Eckerlin had been working with county and municipal governments to understand the complexities of proposed large commercial solar projects. They were encouraged to launch a speaking tour for farmers and other interested parties at county Cooperative Extension offices.

“I vetted my materials through people in my department, and I’ve shared my slides to everybody who’s asked for them,” Heiniger said. “In the university I’ve had nobody argue against what my concerns are. In fact, I’ve had very many people in academics agree 100 percent.”

Neither Heiniger nor Eckerlin, who designed the Solar House at N.C. State, founded its Solar Center, and was instrumental in creating the N.C. Sustainable Energy Association, oppose solar energy. They said they were interested in full disclosure about pros and cons so that government officials and North Carolina residents could make informed decisions about the renewable industry.

They were joined by Tommy Cleveland, renewable energy project coordinator at the Clean Energy Technology Center, on a panel at Fayetteville.

While Heiniger was driving to the event, Tom Melton, Cooperative Extension deputy director, called him and directed him to discontinue the series of scheduled forums. It was too late to cancel the Fayetteville session, but Melton eventually kept Cleveland on the panel, while replacing Heiniger and Eckerlin at future events.

“It wasn’t an unbiased, educational type meeting. It was a promotional meeting. It was an anti-solar meeting,” Melton said. Factually inaccurate information from the meeting was printed in newspapers, he said.

Melton said he invited Eckerlin to lunch and told him if he would stick to facts and omit “the flamboyant comments” he could remain on the panel.

Melton said he continued to be concerned after an event in Halifax that Eckerlin was “ignorant on the subject. He’s just Googling things and looking it up.”

The university and College of Engineering said Eckerlin was putting them in a bad light, according to Melton. To protect the university’s reputation and educational mission, Melton told county Cooperative Extension offices not to allow Eckerlin or Heiniger on their programs.

“It’s been a bit of a painful process for me,” Melton said. “I’ve been doing this job for over 30 years, and I’ve never asked for anyone not to be on a program.”

State Reps. Billy Richardson, D-Cumberland, and Jimmy Dixon, R-Duplin, asked university officials to account for the removal of Heiniger and Eckerlin.

“I’ve only heard one side, and even Solomon listened to both women. But I would be concerned if there was anything untoward about asking them to stand down,” Dixon said.

Richardson attended the Fayetteville event. He called it “without a doubt one of the most enlightening, refreshing, and important seminars I ever went to. I would encourage them, if there’s some reason they politically pulled that back, to not do that. … The university’s mission should never be to present one side.”

Melton said forbidding Heiniger and Eckerlin from taking part in the panel forums resulted largely from complaints by Cooperative Extension agents. Eckerlin said agents were eager to work with them to arrange the meetings.

Other complaints were registered by representatives of the solar industry, and the Clean Energy Technology Center, Melton said.

“The North Carolina Sustainable Energy Association contacted the deans of the College of Agriculture, and told them to shut me down, to stop me from talking to anybody,” Heiniger said. “I’m upset that they’re using what should be the freedom of academics to push back against me.”

“I don’t want to embarrass Melton, and I don’t want to embarrass the university. But Melton [is] not representing the people of the state. He’s representing the solar industry,” Eckerlin said.

Title: Re: Wilkinson Solar Wraps-Up Terra Ceia Private School
Post by: citizensscience on August 05, 2017, 12:10:03 PM

Title: Re: Wilkinson Solar Wraps-Up Terra Ceia Private School
Post by: citizensscience on August 12, 2017, 02:22:23 PM

A unanimous vote has set the county on the path for a moratorium on solar farm construction.

At Monday night’s meeting, Beaufort County commissioners instructed county staff to begin moving forward on a moratorium, a process that could take several months to enact, and would not affect any solar farm project currently under construction, only new ones moving forward, according to county attorney David Francisco.

The Board’s order stems from the plan for a 600-acre solar farm adjacent to Terra Ceia Christian School, to which there has been widespread objection, as well as a growing realization that the county’s existing solar farm ordinance may require revision. But the proposed two-year moratorium would allow time to delve into, and resolve, issues governed by higher offices that affect how counties across the state are impacted by solar development.