Solar is the future, welcome it

Letter

To the Editor:

I read with great concern that some folks in Page County oppose  the Cape solar project. After you wade through the blatant lies and misinformation that are being spread, it seems to come down to basically one issue — some people don’t like the way it looks, and they have extrapolated (falsely) that therefore no one likes [solar farms] and they will somehow negatively damage our community. 

No one owns their property view. Once the county starts telling farmers and landowners they can no longer sell or develop their property because it “changes the view,” they are engaging in a kind of “taking”. If the county restricts  a property owner’s right to sell or develop their land because it “messes up the view,”  that means no more new subdivisions, or chicken houses, no Amazon distribution centers, no new anything… because someone will object and claim it’s incongruent with our community and disturbs their view.

We are also going against the new Virginia administration’s (Governor Youngkin’s) drive to bring new industry and development to the state. If we can’t have solar (or anything) because some people don’t like the way it looks, we are taking away the rights of all property owners, and stymying progress in our county.

Solar energy generated here doesn’t stay solely in Page County in the same way chickens and Wrangler jeans produced here don’t stay here.

Stop letting blatant short-sighted nimbyism [not in my backyard] dictate what farmers can do with their land. It’s hard enough to hold onto these small farms these days without this interference. 

Susan Corbett ~ Stanley, Va.

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10 Comments

  1. Good article. I always enjoy how solar opponents cast the argument as if we’re losing something and giving it to somebody who doesn’t deserve it. They’re projecting their own short sighted selfishness onto others, instead of projecting solar power into a grid to make every participant stronger.
    We get our power from the North Anna nuclear power station, which is susceptible to seismic activity, whereas solar farms are not. North Anna was shut down temporarily in 2011 due to an earthquake.

    • Not to mention the mountain of high level deadly radioactive nuclear waste piling up there with no place to go…… and some people are worried about a few solar panels…

  2. Susan Corbett writes of a landowners right to develop his land as he wishes. This concept has been stricken from zoning policy for over 75 years. We are obligated to consider the concerns of our neighbors and reach a meeting of the minds.
    Photovoltaic solar energy has been produced for over 30 years and after millions and millions of solar panels they are approaching one and one-half percent of our total energy. This dismal failure of solar to solve our renewable energy needs is avoided by our solar friends. Billions and billions and so little to show for it.

    • We do not own our view. No one considered my hospitality business view when they built a huge poultry bedding producing facility across the river from me with 24 hr trucks going in and out. Yes there is zoning, but that’s not the issue here. As for the small amounts of solar in this country I suggest you look to the monopoly power companies and their stranglehold on energy production. They are solely responsible for the lack of solar development in the country, NOT the efficiency or availability of solar.

  3. Susan; Zoning is the issue here. The lack of adequate zoning in Page County is a real and ever present problem as Tracy Clatterbuck, our zoning administrator, will attest.

    There is a great deal of solar in this country, the problem there is very little solar power produced by grossly inefficient solar-voltaic panels. Power companies, which are not monopolistic, have energized the most prosperous economy the world has even seen.

  4. “Sources of Virginia utility-scale electricity generation:
    full-year 2019

    Coal (3.5%)
    Natural Gas (59.2%)
    Hydroelectric (1.5%)
    Nuclear (30.1%)
    Biomass (3.8%)
    Solar (1.0%)
    Petroleum (0.3%)
    Non-biogenic Waste (0.6%)
    The Virginia Clean Economy Act of 2020 directs the construction of 16,100 MW of solar power and onshore wind and up to 5,200 MW of offshore wind by 2035, bringing the state’s utility-delivered power to 100% renewable energy by 2045.[3] It will close all but two coal-fired plants by 2024, with the Virginia City and Clover plants allowed to operate until 2045, though economic conditions may close them earlier.” (Wikipedia)
    So four coal fired power stations must close by 2024. But while natural gas produces about half the carbon dioxide as does coal, there is way more CO going into the atmosphere from natural gas fired power plants than coal ever did.
    The democrats passed this law, so the impetus to build solar power stations comes from them, not greedy corporate interests trying to steal your view.

  5. Fortunately, the 33 speakers, more than 100 people who sent in email or letter comments (only one, the author of this piece, sent anything in favor of the project), and the more than 180 signers of a petition felt otherwise. No one is opposed to responsibly sized, appropriaely sited solar. The company that wants to put this in, Urban Grid, is not a good partner. They showed illustrations of how they would mitigate impact on the views. However, an attendee took photos of one of their industrial plants–a few scraggly half dead trees. And since when does a solar company own a NASCAR team? This one does. The entire site is karst, a fragile geology that should never be graded. Sinkholes and caves often open up–they’ve swallowed up barns and livestock. Mess with this land and you can disrupt the underground flow of water and people’s wells. A NYS solar company, AES, documented one site with potential karst and wrote, in their report,that karst land should NOt BE USED FOR SOLAR. This is from an industrial solar company, A Spanish study looked at the many solar plants in Valencia (same latitude as us) and concluded that land should not slope more than 5% (this slopes 10-15%) and that plants should never be built on karst. To approve this specific plant is to play Russian roulette with our economy, our agriculture, and our water. Gov Youngkin is about to sign legislation that requires an indepth evaluation of solar plants on prime farmland, applicable here as well. Responsible solar is great. Irresponsible solar is no better than coal or oil. This proposed solar is irresponsible solar at its worst.

    • Catherine Herbert, what will replace the power stations that use fossil fuels (natural gas, oil) that the Virginia Clean Economy Act will put out of business by 2045?
      We await your answer

      • No obe is against solar. I have just been reviewing the State of Virginia online geological maps. There are at least 5 sinkhole formations under or next to 340 N where the proposed plant would go. Heavy surface activity will very likely cause one or more of these to become active abd take out parts of 340 N. This is not a safe site for solar. There are much larger appropriately sited olants going up in Fredericksburg, Remington, and other locales. Fibe to out solar where it works. This isn’t one of those places.

        • The AES mitigation plan you hang your hat on (avoidance of the area), identifies ways to repair sinkholes. But these procedures go against your opposition to solar in Page County. You need to think in totality, not deviously.
          The land would be better than it was, before solar is built there, when the sinkholes are repaired.
          BTW, you haven’t answered the question.
          What will replace the power stations that use fossil fuels (natural gas, oil) that the Virginia Clean Economy Act will put out of business by 2045?

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