Tuesday, November 29, 2022

As demand for green energy rises, solar farms face resistance from local communities

As demand for green energy rises, solar farms face resistance from local communities

“Our town is small and we all know each other, and our efforts are not directed against our neighbors,” said Will Mayer, executive director of the opposition group Clark’s Coalition. He added that the project could overshadow the agricultural use of the region, which has already lost cropland due to other types of development.

One of the projects is backed by Swift Current, which offers a 1,200 acre solar farm here. The company is working with residents to address their concerns, Mr Birchby said, adding that the project will have “minimal” impact on their appearance.

“We want to make sure that any project we develop can become our long-term neighbor and community member,” he said.

Another project in Clark County is being developed by Geenex Solar and EDF Renewables. Both companies declined to disclose details, but Kara W. Price, Senior Vice President of Permits and Development at Geenex, said in an email that when the two companies “are ready to present our potential project to Clark County officials and the community, it will be public and will provide many opportunities for discussion and suggestions. “

Due to public concerns, the local government refused permission for both projects at the end of the summer until a comprehensive plan was drawn up, according to Robert Jeffreys, director of community planning and development for Winchester, Kentucky, the largest municipality in Clark County with jurisdiction. on land use.

To address the concerns of residents, some developers are adding screens so as not to interfere with viewing, and help the community to be good neighbors. Others are trying to create habitat for pollinators in and around the panels, and some are creating suitable grazing areas for livestock.

Another solution for developers is the agro-power plant, a technology that allows the land to be used for both agriculture and solar energy. Agrivoltaica is already in limited use in Europe, including in some French vineyards, is being tested in the United States by developers such as BlueWave Solar, a Boston-based startup that has delivered its raised panels for use in Grafton, Massachusetts, and is about to “start a pilot Maine blueberry program, ”said John DeVillars, co-founder and chairman of BlueWave.

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