BEAUFORT, S.C. – January 28, 2020 – In a first of its kind deal for South Carolina, Beaufort County Open Land Trust announced the closing of a conservation easement on land owned by an affiliate of Adger Solar LLC, on which the Seabrook solar energy generation facility in Beaufort County resides. The 72-megawatt facility, owned by Dominion Energy, is sited on a rural 628-acre property and is the first designated solar energy facility in South Carolina to be on land protected permanently by a conservation easement. The project is expected to be in service in 2020 and will provide enough energy to power 9,000 homes for the next 25 years.
“Our landscape in Beaufort County is changing and how we think about land use is changing too. What was once a tomato farm will now help support the growing clean energy industry,” commented Kristin Williams, executive director, Beaufort County Open Land Trust. “Our goal is to ensure that over the long-term, these sites vulnerable to residential, commercial and industrial development, are permanently protected.”
The conservation easement protects the conservation values of the property and allows for the site to be converted back to agricultural, timber production, or other rural uses should the current use for solar generation end. Additionally, a vegetative buffer along US Highway 21 will maintain the natural scenic viewshed of the well-traveled road.
“Dominion Energy continues to be a national leader in the development of renewable generation,” said Keller Kissam, president – Electric Operations at Dominion Energy South Carolina. “With the ACE Basin serving as a geographic corridor for our service to Beaufort County, which is home to both the Marine Corps Recruit Depot at Parris Island and the Marine Corps Air Station, we are proud to partner in conservation efforts with the ACE Basin Task Force while serving our heroes in uniform with the redundancy and resiliency that is required to defend a nation.”
Adger Solar worked closely with the ACE Basin Task Force, a group consisting of private landowners, governmental entities, and conservation interests to understand local perspectives and address concerns. William Moore from Adger Solar noted, “Our development team always tries to be sensitive to local land use and environmental concerns, and we were fortunate to have a local partner such as the ACE Basin Task Force to help us achieve this victory.”
Charles Lane, chairman, ACE Basin Task Force commented, “Over the last two years, we have worked closely with Adger Solar to understand each other’s goals. This project provides a model for the business and conservation communities to work together and achieve mutually beneficial goals. For us, some of these goals included extensive vegetative buffering and permanent protection through a conservation easement. We couldn’t be more pleased to see this property not only providing the region clean energy, but also to know that it is also protected forever through a conservation easement. We’re grateful to them and Dominion Energy for their commitment to do the right thing.”