Thursday, July 18, 2024

There’s a lot to love concerning the Somerset Solar Project | Opinion


It was unlucky to listen to the feedback made on the ORES public remark assembly on June 11 opposing the Somerset Solar Project. Although I’m not a resident of Somerset, I’m a grandmother who worries about the way forward for my grandchildren and those that will come after them, and my religion compels me to be steward of the land. I totally consider in shared duty, and that everybody ought to play an element in fixing the worldwide local weather disaster, even these of us who haven’t been affected as a lot as different areas of the world.

I perceive the issues and worries of residents about photo voltaic vitality. The fossil gasoline business has spent trillions defending their monopolies by lies, denial, and political lobbying efforts to protect their income on the expense of each residing creature on earth.

I wish to take this chance to clear up a few of the misinformation and confusion that has been mentioned and written concerning the Somerset Solar Project.

Use of land from the previous energy plant

AES works with the house owners and maximizes the realm at this level. The solely different potential space in that location was used to construct a knowledge middle.

Regarding the landfill space and unused parking tons, AES is already discussing the potential transformation of that space to assist the enlargement of Rails to Trails. This is a good profit to residents, and likewise a possible profit to the native financial system as folks utilizing the path system typically cease in cities alongside the best way, visiting native retailers and companies.

The landfill web site would require in depth remediation to construct on and the soil is extraordinarily unstable.

Farm conservation

We can all agree that supporting native farms is critical now and sooner or later. This can’t be ensured by doing enterprise as standard. Farming is a troublesome and unreliable livelihood. Farmers in our space have already skilled the impression of local weather change on their livelihood. The present warmth wave will trigger stress to vegetation and animals. These occasions will solely proceed to emphasise a risky business. We must ensure that farmers can proceed to supply the meals we depend on every single day.

AES doesn’t purchase land, it leases land. Annual rental funds present a gradual, dependable revenue to landowners, to allow them to keep on their land.

Co-locating photo voltaic farms with conventional farming practices ensures steady manufacturing of meals and vitality on the similar time. Studies present that on the finish of the lease time period, the well being of the soil really improves.

Studies additionally present that vegetation really develop higher when planted underneath panels. The panels present shade throughout the hottest a part of the day and defend the vegetation from heavy rain and soil erosion.

The use of livestock, reminiscent of sheep, to graze the mission space prevents the vegetation from taking up, eliminating the necessity for fossil-powered tools and chemical compounds. They additionally profit the well being of the soil as they transfer by the realm. The hooves vibrate and switch the soil, and their droppings present quite a lot of pure fertilizer to the soil.

Of the almost 1,800 hectares of mission parcels, solely 700 hectares are actively farmed, and of that solely 372 are thought of major farms. This land is now used to develop corn. I do not know whether it is for ethanol manufacturing, feedstock or human consumption. If it’s used for ethanol manufacturing, it’s a poor use of land for vitality manufacturing. One hectare of Solar PV produces 50% to 200% cleaner vitality than one hectare of corn ethanol manufacturing, with out using pesticides.

Quick reality: Corn grown at present to make ethanol covers almost 250,000 acres of farmland in New York state. Imagine how a lot vitality may very well be produced by changing corn for ethanol with co-located conventional farming and photo voltaic PV!

AES works with landowners to enhance different agricultural land utilized by farmers, to enhance manufacturing and scale back the farm’s impression on the neighborhood.


Decommissioning on the finish of the lease is the duty of the developer. Concerns about leaving the infrastructure are pointless. The developer will present a bond to cowl the price of decommissioning that might be held by town, making certain that if AES doesn’t deal with the decommissioning, town may have the funds to pay for it by one other entity. This bond might be raised to fulfill any price will increase all through the lease time period.

What’s in it for the city and residents of Somerset?

— Good-paying jobs: roughly 200 momentary development jobs and 4 everlasting jobs. Local residents may have precedence in filling these positions. Construction employees will patronize native companies, boosting financial exercise in Somerset.

— Millions of {dollars}: Annual funds might be made to town, faculty and hearth district, offering a chance to enhance neighborhood companies, profit youngsters’s training and peace of thoughts figuring out that companies to reply to the emergency have all of the instruments wanted. to maintain them protected.

— For the primary 10 years, each utility buyer in Somerset will obtain annual utility invoice credit of roughly $55 per family.

— AES is dedicated to being a supportive participant within the Somerset neighborhood. It has donated greater than $140,000 to this point to assist native entities together with Barker Central School, Albion Elementary School, Genesee Community College, Somerset Union Museum, Niagara Falls National Heritage Area, Barre Betterment Community, and the Niagara County joint apprenticeship and coaching committee.

— Proud to know that they’re actively taking part in a livable future for future generations.

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