sunflowers used 6789ef447adf6da4Renewal Energy Systems Americas Inc. of Broomfield, Colorado is a major industrial energy company with solar, transmission, wind and energy storage projects across the US and the world from Australia to Turkey, from Finland to Chile. 

And across the globe many if not most of those projects are powered not by the gusts of wind, the bright sun or new efficient technology but by taxpayers subsidizing their projects and utility customers forced by governments to pay above market rates for the power they produce.

RES is a private company, so private indeed that, they wouldn’t respond to Connecticut’s largest newspaper about how they were replacing hundreds of acres of scarce and valuable Connecticut farmland with solar panels.

Let’s be clear this isn’t about the “marketplace”, none of these projects would be possible without Connecticut’s high solar production subsidies and above market power purchases forced on consumers.

We might add because we know you will, the cost of electricity in Connecticut is roughly double that of Florida or North Carolina in part because of these costs.

Steve Reviczky Connecticut’s Agriculture Commissioner was reachable and he told the Hartford Courant of replacing farm land with solar panels “it’s the greatest threat to agriculture and the land available for farming today.”

Connecticut and cities and towns and even private citizens have spent millions to protect open space and farmland in the past two decades.  Now so called environmentalists want to clear hill tops and farmland for boutique “alternative energy” projects with virtually no real positive impact on carbon dioxide or the environment. What the projects do offer at the expense of local communities is plenty of impact on the bottom line of a handful of highly placed development companies and investors – that reap benefits from government handouts and regulations. 

Unfortunately it’s not only major industrial companies that see a bright future in fouling the natural environment in the pursuit of “saving” it through subsidies and for green headlines. 

The Connecticut Municipal Electric Energy Cooperative partnered up with Elon Musk’s Solar City to replace farmland in use for more than two hundred years with solar panels that will likely be technically obsolete in a five years  and in the process helping to undo a decades long policy to save Connecticut farmland. 

Of course there are sensible and intelligent options to replacing farmland and open space with wrongheaded projects promoted by energy lobbyists, naïve, even fraudulent environmentalists.

In Woodbridge at the Jewish Community Center hundreds of solar panels do double duty protecting visitors on rainy days as they form a solar carport sitting high atop the parking lot. 

The nation’s largest retailer Walmart set a goal of nearly 7 billion kilowatts of renewable energy much of it generated from solar panels on the massive flat roofs of their stores. 

Working with the solar development company Greenskies based in Middletown, Target [stores] has set a goal to build 500 solar sites on their rooftops.

Solar projects on parking lots, rooftops – good, replacing farmland – bad.

It should be that simple, last time we looked there were a hell of a lot of huge parking lots, and flat roofs in Connecticut.

In fact it was Connecticut’s large inventory of flat roofs [and subsidies] not its six hours of good sunshine a day that was the initial draw of solar developers.

More to the point among the most powerful new consumer and environmental trends today, one driven not but by subsidy but by the marketplace is expanding local food production and consumption.

Interest for locally grown and produced foods from consumers is driving a revolution in Connecticut and across the country. 

The economic opportunity in local food production, packaging and processing in Connecticut is growing with each season. This new trend offers an avenue for thousands of agriculture and food manufacturing jobs that don’t require advanced education. For once Connecticut’s access to the Boston and New York markets actually matters and is a true strategic advantage.

Governor Dannell Malloy’s administration should be rightly proud of their efforts to support Connecticut agriculture and food production and it is paying off with quality food, more jobs  and economically stronger suburban and rural communities – and the overall national trend is just beginning.

For more than two decades this publishing company has supported sensible programs to protect the environment in Connecticut.  But environmental stewardship starts with common sense and above all else a commitment to the natural environment.

We understand farmers want control of their own land and industrial energy companies that cite “alternate energy” projects don’t have a requirement to be good environmental stewards that said  – then take your hands out
of our pockets.

There are many good alternatives for the placing of solar panels in Connecticut – subsidizing the destruction of farmland and open space must be stopped immediately.   BNH