Marshall calls for hearing on land annexation
Proposed site for solar project would benefit MMU customers
MARSHALL — It’s a cornfield right now, but later this month, the Marshall City Council will be considering whether to annex the roughly 80.5-acre parcel of land into the city limits.
The land is the proposed site for a new solar installation that would generate electricity to be used in Marshall, representatives from Missouri River Energy Services said Tuesday. MRES supplies electricity for Marshall Municipal Utilities.
Council members set a public hearing on the matter for July 26.
The farmland being considered for annexation is located east of North Seventh Street and south of Lyon County Road 33 in Marshall. It’s owned by Western Minnesota Municipal Power, a corporation that finances construction for electric generation and transmission projects for MRES.
“We’ve received a petition asking that that property be annexed into the city of Marshall,” Marshall City Attorney Dennis Simpson said Tuesday. “There’s a 1982 agreement between the city of Marshall and Fairview Township allowing that to come in as an orderly annexation.”
In order to proceed with annexation, both the city of Marshall and Fairview Township have to hold public hearings, Simpson said. If the annexation is approved by both the city and the township, the two local governments would need to sign a joint resolution. That resolution would then need to be submitted to the state’s Boundary Adjustment board, Simpson said.
Marshall City Council members unanimously voted to hold a hearing on the annexation request at their next regular meeting.
The Independent spoke with representatives of MRES on Tuesday to find out more about the planned solar installation. Marshall is one of the larger communities MRES serves, and the organization saw a chance to help meet local electrical needs through the solar project, said Terry Wolf, vice president of power supply and operations at MRES.
Wolf said MRES is looking at building a 10-megawatt solar installation. The electricity generated by the solar panels would be distributed locally, through the North Seventh Street substation in Marshall, he said.
“We are also, as part of that, evaluating battery storage,” Wolf said. The battery system would allow for about 20 megawatt-hours of electricity, he said.
Features like battery storage are important for making renewable energy sources like solar more reliable, said MMU General Manager David Schelkoph. A battery system would allow some of the electricity the solar panels generate to be used at times when the sun isn’t shining.
“We have to have an overall strategy that creates security,” Schelkoph said.
Wolf said MRES is currently evaluating responses to a request for proposals on the Marshall solar project.
MRES representatives said they supported the annexation request.