Business Cycle: Solar project proposed on Bent Mountain; Blacksburg’s ESS to expand – Roanoke Times

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A Massachusetts renewable energy company has proposed placing solar panels on Bent Mountain.

New Leaf Energy Inc. proposed construction of an energy facility at 9150 Reed Road that would begin generating electricity in 2027. The site is a former apple orchard — now mostly cleared for pasture — that belongs to Glenn Reed.

The facility, which is described as small, will generate 3 megawatts or 4 megawatts of energy, the proposal said.

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Glenn Reeds owns the former apple orchard in Roanoke County where New Leaf Energy Inc. is proposing to build a solar facility.

Jeff Sturgeon

Reed said Wednesday it’s the lease payments for use of his land that he’s interested in. “Clean energy, too,” Reed said.

New Leaf acting on Reed’s authorization applied for a special-use permit March 8. Roanoke County scheduled its planning commission to consider the project June 4. The commission typically makes a recommendation for or against a proposal and sends it on to the county board of supervisors. That board has the final say and will consider it June 25.

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The site at 9150 Reed Road in the Bent Mountain community of Roanoke County is where New Leaf Energy Inc. is proposing to build a solar energy facility.

Jeff Sturgeon

County officials posted to their planning website a 422-page information package, which depicts conceptual plans for the site about 1,500 feet west of Bent Mountain Road. The panels could be visible from nearby homes and the road, but “enhanced” landscaping to “mitigate the visual impact to the viewshed” is planned, the proposal said.

The project will be made up of 12,400 panels, according to the proposal.

A New Leaf representative, who is based in Lowell, Massachusetts, wrote that “the project will keep this property rural and income producing while not constructing permanent buildings, public utilities and public roads.”

New Leaf said the possible presence of threatened or endangered species may require action specified by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service.

The Mountain Valley Pipeline has been installed in the same general area of Bent Mountain over the objection of some landowners.

Blacksburg packaging equipment company to expand

ESS Technologies of Blacksburg plans to expand as it moves to Christiansburg, the company said Wednesday.

ESS started in Blacksburg 31 years ago and provides product packaging-line design and machinery. It plans to spend $1.6 million and hire 27 people in connection with the move. It could not be immediately learned how many people already work at ESS.

Operations in Pembroke and Blacksburg will be consolidated at a leased site on Scattergood Drive, according to CEO Michael Odom of Pacteon Group, which owns ESS. 

ESS employs 55 people.

Jeff Sturgeon (540) 981-3251

[email protected] 

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