Letter to the Editor: Support solar energy initiatives for change

Published 12:00 pm Wednesday, April 10, 2024

Getting your Trinity Audio player ready...

I read with sadness about the loss of the Old Ridge Road Solar Project without even an opportunity to have the proposed question and answer session with New Leaf Energy addressed in a public forum. 

With the cataclysmic problems we’re all facing with global climate change and the ongoing misinformation we have heard over the past ten years both from those on the right and the fossil fuel industry about how this crisis is a hoax, we have lost a real local opportunity to make a change and show how local initiatives can make a real difference. 

If I understand correctly, New Leaf Energy was planning to pursue a special use permit to purchase 104.1 acres near the intersection of US 460 to construct a 24.3- acre solar facility. The approximate 75-acre tract would establish a buffer zone between the facility and local housing. Not only would the facility generate $360,000 much needed tax revenue over a 40- year period for Prince Edward County, but it would have also provided area customers with an opportunity to use solar energy locally to reduce our carbon footprint. In addition, it would have put us on the map as a solar community. Not only would this have helped the environment but would provide a model for other communities to follow. 

Email newsletter signup

I also read with interest the opinion piece by The Farmville Herald’s editor, Brian Carlton, who essentially argues that the “not in my backyard” mentality of a few residents who wrote letters opposing the project before it could really be thoroughly discussed was a good justification why it should not go forward. He writes, “At some point we need to take the residents into consideration, not just saying it. After all, they only live nearby and most will still be there long after this project, and those that come later, are long gone.” Well, to me this seems like a very weak argument for why such a project should be scrapped before it ever gets off the ground. 

For a democracy to work, we have to have all voices heard, all points of view considered. Otherwise, we will not be able to grow and change and create a real, vibrant community. As Albert Einstein is reputed to have said, “Doing the same thing over and over again and expecting a different result in the definition of insanity.” If we don’t plan for the future, our children and grandchildren will suffer from our inaction, and they will be the ones who will be here when the rest of us are “long gone.” 

Chapman Hood Frazier