The Christian County Zoning Board of Appeals met last night at 6:00 p.m. at the Christian County Courthouse. All board members were in attendance. A motion to approve minutes from the October 24th meeting was approved unanimously.
The first motion on the agenda concerned zoning for a special use application from Sangchris Energy Center, LLC. The approval of construction of the standalone energy storage is slated to be located at County Road 1400 North and County Road 150 East in South Fork Township. The battery energy storage was explained to be a potential essential part of the power grid and would store power that would be readily available in times of emergency. The storage is used to boost the power grid to prevent blackouts and to provide up to 4 hours of power during times of rare total blackouts.
One public comment inquired if there were any other examples of storage sites throughout the state or if Illinois was the first to house the battery-stored energy.
Will Frost, Project Developer with East Point Energy and speaking for Sangchris Energy Center, spoke on the timeline of the project, stating that the project would start in 2027-2028 and the application is for 45 acres while the developers plan to only use 30 acres. The question of how many storage facilities have been constructed was that there are many lithium battery storages across the U.S. There was a concern of fire safety concerning the lithium aspect of the batteries which was followed by safety precautions and a fire safety plan created by Sangchris Energy.
The motion for Sangchris Energy was approved with conditions for the board to receive drainage and geotechnical reports before construction within a year or Sangchris Energy would need to reapply. The motion will move to the Christian County Board for further approval.
The second motion also concerned zoning for a special use application from North Pana Solar, LLC. William Shay, an Attorney from Peoria spoke for the project. The concerns for this project were that neighboring landowners had not been notified of the construction and the extent of the solar project. Christian County requires notification to surrounding property owners which had not been done by North Pana Solar. The ZBA board members also had worries that developers from North Solar Pana were not at the meeting to answer questions.
The motion was tabled until a representative was present to make the development processes more clear.