Commission hears update on Berkshire Hathaway Energy project – WV News

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Updated: December 9, 2022 @ 9:29 am
Mark Whitley shows the commission Phase I of the project.

Mark Whitley shows the commission Phase I of the project.
RIPLEY, W.Va. (WV News) — Mark Whitley, Executive Director of the Jackson County Developmental Authority (JCDA) updated commissioners Dick Waybright, Mitch Morrison and Mike Randolph on Phase I of the Berkshire Hathaway Energy (BHE) project.
Whitley showed the commissioners on a map where the Phase I facility would be located.
“They plan to start the groundbreaking in the first part of January,” he said.
Whitley said equipment is already moving in.
“We are looking at a brand-new Jackson County,” he said.
In order to get the ball rolling on the BHE project, funding is needed for Phase I art 2A.
Melissa O’Brien, Executive Director for the Mid-Ohio Valley Regional Council and Clay Riley, Vice President of Strategic Growth for the Thrasher Group were on hand to discuss parts 2A and 2B.
Part 2A will involve infrastructure needs regarding sewer and water for the facility which must be in place for production to start in June 2024.
O’Brien discussed the $20 million project that would include a pump station and the need to have $2 million for Thrasher to begin the work. Sewer would be coming from Ravenswood and water from Cottageville. The $2 million would be broken down between the town of Ravenswood and the Jackson County Commission (JCC).
Due to the urgency of the situation, Thrasher has already begun the mapping and prework.
“Phase 2A is how we make sure Berkshire Hathaway is successful so they make additional investments in Jackson County,” Riley said.
Phase 2B will be a $26.5 million project that will provide better sewer capacity for the entire area. It would include a new treatment plant with a two-million gallon per day capacity and the removal of the lagoons in Ravenswood.
The project was discussed in the Tuesday evening meeting of the Ravenswood City Council. At that time, council unanimously voted to use the $1 million previously allocated to the city by the JCC through the American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA) for the city’s portion of the $2 million needed.
Commissioners, although understanding of the need, were concerned about the source of the additional $1 million.
“I guess the big question is where do we get $1 million,” Waybright said. “I really don’t know.”
Randolph stated that the commission recognizes the importance and the benefits that Jackson County will eventually receive; however, he feels initially, the most benefit will be to the manufacturer.
Waybright said they would consider the request.
The next meeting of the commission will be Wednesday, December 14 at 9:30 a.m. at the Jackson County Courthouse.

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