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Editorial, May 5, 2018

If We Want Solar Energy,
Let’s Get Serious About It

If we care about solar energy, it’s time to get serious about it, don’cha think?

Happily, Otsego 2000 may be doing just that, having taken a leadership role among local environmental groups on this matter. On Feb. 24, its board adopted a resolution that reads, in part:
“Climate change, driven in large party by fossil-fuel use, is a significant threat to our region and way of life.

“We call for and support energy conservation and efficiency to reduce reliance on fossil fuels and the necessity or expanded fossil-fuel infrastructure and delivery systems.
“In addition, we call for and support smart development for renewable energy sources to meet the goals adopted by New York State for greenhouse-gas reductions.”
Caveat (conservation first), then support.
The resolution continues in the same vein. It supports rooftop solar panels. And solar farms, but again with caveats: Put them on “previously disturbed areas,” protect farmland, “protect historic, cultural and scenic resources,” maintain conserved lands. This is fine, and clearly in synch with Otsego 2000’s overarching mission – to protect, not develop.

But if, in fact, we want solar energy around here, a more affirmative strategy is necessary.
The most significant solar project proposed so far in Otsego County – thousands of panels on 50 acres north of Morris – is on hold, according to Chet Feldman, spokesman for Distributed Solar, Washington D.C. As he explained it, a PSC ruling last year on economical proximity to power lines, and federal tariffs made the project “not conducive,” at least for the time being.
Promisingly, Feldman said “We’re always looking forward to doing business in New York.” So it, or another project, may still happen.
So far though, solar power locally is limited to boutique uses: People who can afford it equipping their homes with panels. Otherwise, the Solar City installation near Laurens, by county government for county government, is the only functioning solar farm in the county. (Thank you, county Rep. Jim Powers, R-Butternuts, now retired, for pioneering it.)
If Otsego 2000, Sustainable Otsego, OCCA and other environmentally focused entities – goodness, even the Clark Foundation – really wants solar power widely used here, they need to say so and go after it, without the caveats.

Ed Lentz, Butternuts Valley Alliance chair (now New Lisbon town supervisor), surveys the 50 acres where Distributed Solar planned a solar farm. It is off the table for now.

If it chose to be, muscular Otsego 2000 certainly has the clout to get it done.
Meanwhile, Otsego 2000’s executive director, the able Ellen Pope, has taken the new policy seriously, attending a forum March 27 organized by Scenic Hudson, and – she reports – well attended by municipal officials from around the state.
It’s complicated. Large installations – 25 megawatts and up – fall under state Article 10 regulations for siting electric-generating facilities, signed into law by Governor Cuomo in 2011. Below that, a good town plan can guide where things happen, or don’t.
Attendees were advised, “plan for the town you want.” Of course, we all know that means: Keep everything the way it is. If we really care about global warming, about renewables, about humankind’s survival, that probably won’t fill the bill.
The Otsego 2000 policy dwells on what needs to be protected. But let’s turn it around. Let’s identify appropriate sites – sure, brownfields (Shur-Katch in Richfield Springs, maybe), former landfills, acreage shielded from public view – those black panels are ugly – and so on.
It might make sense to rule solar farms out, period, in the extra-protected Otsego Lake watershed. It makes sense to extra-protect a national environmental icon. But that leaves plenty of space elsewhere in Otsego County.
The Morris installation, tucked in the beauteous Butternut Creek Valley, would have been an eyesore, and perhaps polluted the creek, too. The county’s Solar City site is in a former gravel pit – ideal.
If Otsego 2000 could identify ideal spots for solar farms – a half dozen, a dozen, even more – and put the regulations in place to enable them, it would be doing our 60,094 neighbors (as of last July 1, and dropping) a favor. When a solar developer shows up, no problemo, with enhanced tax base and jobs to follow.
Plus, an itty bit, we might even help save Planet Earth.


1 Comment

  1. Before undertaking a solar initiative for Otsego county, or for any area in similar geophysical latitude, the false information regarding fossil fuels contribution to climate change and the false narrative of “man-made global warming” must be honestly and thoroughly stated. First, not one of the many catastrophic predictions of global collapse has been scientifically validated by independent review. In fact, when attempting to retrofit such algorithms to known historic weather patterns, they fail – as do similar forward-looking predictions fail when independently reviewed. The universal failure root cause has consistently been a deliberate biasing of historic weather data and timelines. Second; when raw, unaltered temperature data is applied, global temperatures have been decreasing since 1996. Assertions that recent years “are the hottest in known history” are knowingly false; once again based upon faulty and deliberated abridged temperature data application. Third, solar power (and wind) is in no manner economically viable without substantial taxpayer or rate payer subsidization and does not displace fossil generation capacity given its inherent unreliability. While there are certainly honest environmentalists with legitimate intentions, the drivers behind renewables are fundamentally financial entrepreneurs seeking profit not air quality.

    Lastly, the greatest lie regarding fossil fuels, atmospheric CO2 (a miniscule contributor to life-saving greenhouse gases – the world would not exist as we know it without this temperature abating layer) concentration is currently at historic norms based upon real ice core samples, has essentially no impact upon global temperatures. Critically, based upon the same ice sample CO2 concentration profiles, CO2 atmospheric concentrations follow – not lead – global temperature trends.

    Why the false narrative of global warming? Why the vehement attacks upon anyone who challenges the premise? Why the global indoctrination?

    Climate change has been occurring for four billion years. The earth has been slowly warming since the last ice age which ended some 18000 years ago. The overall warming trend, with intermittent, multi-generation periods of heating and cooling intermixed, will continue with an inevitable significant cooling several thousand years in the future. The false hysteria of climate change, man made global warming, cataclysmic global collapse, et al uses “the environment” as a tool to legitimize the creation of an unelected global agency that eventually controls all fossil fuel supplies and utilization – displacing all sovereign nations in the process. Since fossil fuels provide the great majority of global energy and will continue to do so, control fossil fuel supplies and you control the world economies – as well as generating vast wealth for the few that are steadily acquiring global fossil reserves. Meanwhile, taking full advantage and with the taxpayer and ratepayer footing the multi-million dollar bill, projects that would never pass a financial review are being proposed and unfortunately built nation-wide.

    The ruse of using environmental quality as a path to a global government started almost immediately after legitimate environmental issues began to be aggressively addressed in earnest in the late 1960s. By the early 1990s, using the United Nations as its pawn, globalist had created a tidal wave using misinformation and data manipulation to create the false narrative of man-made climate change that continues today. Sadly, the tremendous resources that have been and continue to be wasted upon this non-existent threat could have been used for resolution of real environmental issues – water quality, regional air quality, ocean pollution – the list is long.

    If individuals want to install a solar facility at their preference, expense, effort, and without detriment to the general well-being, then they are free do so. However, seeking to fulfill personal political or social preferences at the expense and potential detriment of the general public – particularly when using a false technical basis – is a mechanism that that has been sorely abused and needs to end.

    Otsego County, and upstate New York is general, needs real economic and social stimulus. There are real regional and global environmental concerns that should be addressed within the process. Using scarce resources on frivolous projects in not the answer.

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