Monday, July 15, 2024

My Phrase | Extra emphasis ought to be made on solar energy – Times-Standard


It’s exhausting to know the place to start unpacking John Schaefer’s snide and deceptive June 30 Times-Standard editorial, through which he accused his so-called “eco-NIMBY mates” of scrapping sensible plans for of wind energy, particularly Terra-Gen’s disruptive proposition. for wind farms at Monument and Bear River Ridge.

Our group, Siskiyou Land Conservancy, opposes the Terra-Gen undertaking for excellent causes. The proposed wind farm is “clear.” For starters, one motive taxpayers shelled out $480 million for the Headwaters Forest is to guard vital habitat for the endangered marbled murrelet. The predominant flyway from the ocean to the Headwaters Forest is throughout the Bear River and Monument Ridge. The Terra-Gen generators — which would be the first and solely wind farms inbuilt murrelet habitat in southern Washington — might destroy all vital populations.

Therefore, it’s not shocking that Stantec, Terra-Gen’s environmental consulting firm, invented its personal flawed protocols for the safety of marble murrels, as an alternative of following the extra sensible protocols established by for the Pacific Seabird Group’s wind power tasks. The PSG states, “The potential for wind power growth to negatively impression fowl and bat populations on account of direct collisions with rotor blades and turbine towers is nicely documented. … (T)reats … together with, amongst others, potential collisions and habitat loss from onshore and offshore wind power tasks.”

Among different threats to the murrelets’ survival, Terra-Gen’s environmental workforce has proposed conducting murrelet research for one yr, relatively than the usual two years (apparently to permit Terra-Gen to take benefit the tax credit are set to run out after one yr.); the protocols are tailored from these used for timber commerce, not for onshore wind services; the research didn’t present inhabitants estimates for the murrelet cohort flying over Bear-Monument Ridge; and there’s no consideration of ongoing impacts on murrels from different sources together with local weather change, ocean degradation, and continued logging.

There are a dozen or so compelling causes to scrap the monstrous Terra-Gen wind farm proposal – the industrialization of considered one of Humboldt’s most iconic and exquisite ridge methods, huge new energy strains distribution of the grid by means of tinder-dry forest, potential impression on the well being of residents of Scotia and Rio Dell – however the promised elimination of marble murrels was sufficient to trigger the undertaking to be refused permission. If humanity cannot do what it takes to save lots of from extinction a uncommon and elusive seabird that solely nests in outdated bushes, if we have already paid half a billion {dollars} to guard murrels, then clearly that we failed. as a species.

Through his essay, Schaefer downplays the effectiveness of broadly distributed solar energy (WDS) in Humboldt County – right here within the land that pioneered the expertise! However, it’s unattainable to argue towards the apparent advantages of masking each roof and car parking zone with photo voltaic panels and connecting them to the grid – and, extra successfully, to microgrids like these on the airport and Blue Lake Casino. Yes, solar energy era decreases in winter, but it surely produces and will increase soiled energy. At different occasions photo voltaic can (and does) totally energy particular person houses, and electrical automobiles, which are actually widely known as wonderful sources of emergency battery storage. Solar is simpler when houses are concurrently reused for effectivity.

Why individuals like Schaefer, and businesses like RCEA, do not emphasize WDS as a primary line of home protection towards carbon emissions is a thriller – except we take into account what as an auto-response fealty of native officers to giant, centralized energy manufacturing, and subsequently to centralized income. Widely distributed photo voltaic places energy and financial savings within the palms of individuals, the place they all the time belong, and saves our fragile marine and terrestrial ecosystems from the various impacts of large-scale energy vegetation. industrial power.

Greg King is the manager director of the Siskiyou Land Conservancy in Arcata.

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