BAKERSFIELD, Calif. (KGET) — Kern County Supervisors voted Tuesday to delay a vote for a proposed solar site in Rosamond.
Supporters said the 271 Megawatt, 1,250 acre Solar Facility in Southwest Rosamond could provide power to more than 130,000 homes and businesses per year.
During Tuesday’s Board meeting, a representative with the AES corporation in charge of the proposed project urged the board to approve it, noting the project could create up to 200 jobs to east Kern.
“The project will improve state-wide grid reliability with clean energy storage, lessening our dependence on fossil fuels,” the representative said.
It all comes as the battle over energy intensifies between Kern County leaders and Governor Gavin Newsom. Earlier this month, the Newsom Administration denied 21 new permits for hydraulic fracturing operations in Kern oilfields. Following Newsom’s decision, State Senator Shannon Grove (R-Bakersfield) answered with her own proposal, sending supervisors a letter strongly urging them to consider a moratorium on any new large-scale solar power projects in Kern County.
Kern County, per Grove, is responsible for more half of the state’s renewable energy, yet the county has lost more than $100 million in tax revenue due to state property tax breaks given to large-scale solar projects, While there was no official mention of Grove’s letter during Tuesday’s board meeting, supervisors appeared to agree with at least part of her argument.
“A loss of over $19 million per year is what we’re experiencing in Kern County because of that solar property tax exclusion” said 2nd District Supervisor Zack Scrivner. “Do the benefits of this project outweigh the environmental impacts that take up so much land and contributes to the decline in our communities from the lack of property tax revenue that pays for sheriff, fire, parks, life etc.?”
In the end, supervisors unanimously voted to table the item to a later date, giving them more time to review the proposal. They are expected to take take up the item again on Aug. 24.