OAQDA approves funds for Cargill project


COLUMBUS – Three projects were approved by the Ohio Air Quality Development Authority (OAQDA) during its board meeting Tuesday.

The Authority approved the projects under the Clean Air Improvement Program (CAIP), which included, for the first time, a utility-scale solar project in Van Wert County.

In addition, the Authority approved financing to support a large recycling and air quality project for Cargill Incorporated as part of their facility expansion along with an energy efficiency hotel retrofit for The Hospitality Group. OAQDA supports clean air improvements statewide by providing financial support through its bond financing and related tax benefits.

“These are significant projects for the state of Ohio and represent the diversity in the types of air-quality improvements benefiting from our support as we worked diligently over the past year to increase accountability and make our programs more accessible,” said Christina O’Keeffe, the executive director of OAQDA. “The Authority remains committed to helping businesses in Ohio achieve their corporate sustainability goals while supporting healthier communities, cleaner air and job growth, which demonstrates the mutually-inclusive benefits to the environment and the economy.”

Details of the approved March projects are below:

Cargill Incorporated (Shelby County) – The Authority approved up to $75 million in bond financing to process and recycle soybean waste as part of Cargill’s expansion project in Sidney to increase its soybean production. Cargill is an international provider of food, agricultural, financial and industrial products, operating in 70 countries worldwide. The company is investing $235 million into the plant expansion, which is estimated to create 12 new jobs and retain nearly 300 existing positions. The financing will support the facilities and equipment needed to process soybeans as well as the development of a solid waste disposal facility to turn waste byproducts into cattle feed, which would otherwise be sent to a landfill. The solid waste reduction is estimated at 1.6 million tons per year. The project also will reduce air emissions, including volatile organic compounds and soybean particles that will be recycled through the feed process. Cargill has received local support from the city of Sidney, Shelby County and Sidney Local Schools.

Aurora Solar LLC (Van Wert County) – The Authority approved up to $70 million in bond financing to assist Aurora Solar, LLC, a subsidiary of Avangrid Renewables LLC, with the installation of a large solar electric system in Union Township. The 46 MW renewable solar energy generation facility will be developed on 400 acres of leased agricultural land. The project consists of 146,300 solar modules and is estimated to produce 103,526,064 kWh of power per year. The project will promote the reduction of emissions of air contaminants through the generation of clean, solar energy and will provide local revenue to communities. Aurora Solar has received support from Van Wert County, Union Township and the Crestview Local School District.

The Hospitality Group, Worthington Portfolio (Franklin County) – The Authority approved up to $1.9 million to The Hospitality Group, a full-service hotel management company, for the renovation of the Courtyard by Marriott Hotel at 7411 Vantage Drive in Worthington. The project includes updates to the roof including a membrane and reflective shingles, as well as building envelope improvements. In addition, the company will replace several HVAC units, install an HVAC control system, replace outdated laundry equipment, upgrade lighting fixtures and other electronics. The project will reduce air emissions and support significant energy savings of more than 25 percent annually.