March 8, 2021:
As a reminder, the project’s state permit application was approved by the PSC back in January. The next step for Wood County Solar Project is to begin tree harvesting on the project site. We expect to file the permits this week in order to begin work in late March or early April and should wrap up by late summer.
Wood County Solar Project, LLC is working in partnership with Alliant Energy, the Town of Saratoga, and the Wood County community to ensure the tree harvesting process meets community standards, is completed as sustainably as possible, and in alignment with the overall project objectives and timelines.
Plans for Harvested Trees:
Wood County Solar Project is talking with local mills where the harvested wood can be used to produce beneficial products. Although the trees are not fully mature, much of the wood is expected to meet the mills’ 4-inch thickness requirements. Wood and stumps that don’t meet the mills’ requirements or cannot be accepted on a timeline that meets the project’s requirements will be chipped. The chipped wood is expected to be used in three ways: sent to a local bio-mass plant, used on-site, and some will be made available free for use by community residents.
What to Expect at the Project Site:
During the tree harvesting phase, the project area will be closed to ensure the safety of the public and all workers. We anticipate there will be increased traffic in the area but no road closures. Our employees will be working within the hours designated. We will do all we can to limit the impact of construction, and we’re committed to preserving the roads on which our equipment travels.
The development of the solar energy generating facility means the land will be withdrawn as managed forest land. The effects on the community regarding recreation at the project site will be communicated in future updates. Snowmobilers, ATV, and UTV routes will remain open along the right-of-way. Other access through the property will likely be closed. As harvesting continues, we’ll be working closely with community officials to make land available for recreation – that assures the safety of our employees and the public.