Tuesday, July 23, 2024

Outdoors in Maine: The photo voltaic farm paradox


Unlike Maine, Western Colorado enjoys greater than 300 sunny days per 12 months. Because of this, in response to the Rocky Mountain Elk Foundation, “photo voltaic farms are beginning to spring up in northwest Colorado, turning the sagebrush right into a glowing sea of ​​photovoltaic energy panels surrounded by 8-foot fences – a complete lack of elk, deer, sage grouse and pronghorns in most winters within the Rocky Mountain West.”

V. Paul Reynolds, Outdoor Columnist

In brief, renewable power, be it wind generators or photo voltaic farms, doesn’t have a significant disadvantage. Colorado wildlife managers view all of those renewable power initiatives as a right away menace to wildlife as a result of corresponding lack of wildlife habitat.

Maine is on the identical monitor. There are at the moment a reported 3,185 photo voltaic panel farms in our state, with extra on the best way. According to a latest report from Maine Public Radio, Penobscot County alone is anticipating a “flood of requests” for brand spanking new photo voltaic installations.

For deliberate photo voltaic installations bigger than three hectares, DEP approval is required. Applicants should decide to a plan for funding the decommissioning of spent photo voltaic panels. Hanging over these photo voltaic farms like a darkish cloud is the query: “What will we do with these photovoltaic albatrosses when the panels are spent 20-25 years down the highway?”

A brand new regulation, spearheaded by the Sportsman’s Alliance of Maine, remains to be being drafted however would require new photo voltaic builders to supply “compensatory land” equal to the scale of the developed photo voltaic discipline. or contribute cash to the state compensation fund. for habitat preservation.

Should taxpayers underwrite the price of particular photo voltaic panel landfills, or are spent photo voltaic farms merely left to rust like so many junk automobiles on the aspect of the highway?

Concerned with this query, the cities of Ellsworth and Dixmont have imposed at the very least a brief ban on these photo voltaic farms. Undoubtedly, as landscapes develop into populated with photo voltaic panels and storm fences, many Maine cities will declare a photo voltaic farm hiatus till there are extra passable solutions to the query of passing.

Leaving apart the problems of visible air pollution and decommissioning of spent photo voltaic panels, there’s one other ancillary photo voltaic farm problem that appears to have obtained little consideration on the municipal and state degree, aside from the Rocky Mountain Elk Foundation: wildlife habitat loss and degradation.

I’ve heard many Maners muttering beneath their breath in regards to the unsavory presence of both wind generators or these photo voltaic farms alongside the highways and byways of our as soon as lovely state, all whereas they, even hate, the necessity for clear renewable power.

It appears to me that these photo voltaic installations should not solely rising but in addition increasing. Once the 8-foot cyclone fence is constructed on three acres or 30 acres, it’s now not accessible to wildlife for nesting or foraging.

The rush to photo voltaic farms and renewable power poses a paradox as we destroy habitat and wildlife in our determined efforts to handle our carbon footprint. This debate is much from over.

V. Paul Reynolds is the editor of the Northwoods Sporting Journal, an writer, a Maine information and host of a weekly radio program, “Maine Outdoors,” heard at 7 pm Sunday on The Voice of Maine News- Talk Network. Contact him at [email protected].

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