To the editor:

To the citizens of Highland County,

Renewable energy gets me excited for the future, and that is why I keep up on such topics. So let me share some concerns I have regarding the proposed solar farms in Highland County.

First let’s look at the term “solar farm.” Please do not allow that moniker to invoke a pastoral image – 5,871 acres of metal and glass surrounded by razor-topped chain link fencing is less than bucolic. So, let’s call these what they are: industrial electric utilities.

Innergex, the company responsible for the Palomino project, is not American owned, and profits will go north of our border. The impetus of this project is to provide green energy credits to mega-corporations. Highland County residents will not directly benefit from the energy produced here. (See https://sustainability.aboutamazon.com/environment/sustainable-operations/renewable-energy?energyType=true.)

They’re not making any more farmland. The pile-driven, gravel-filled post-hole-poxed fields will remain non-tillable even if the panels are removed. Let’s assume Innergex remains a viable company for 30 more years and continues to hold the contracts without indulging in the common practice of selling out to another company, the decommissioning fund still will not restore what we once had. Our precious farmland is being lured away with slick marketing and high-dollar lawyers. Once it’s out of the hands of the productive farming practices, there will be no return. You can’t eat electricity.

I fully acknowledge and support the right of a land owner to do with his/her land as they chose. And the contracts reputedly being offered would be difficult to pass up. That is why my appeal is to those land owners and others in support of the industrial foreign-owned utility facilities, to ask your solar representative these questions:

• What is company's success rate of their established facilities?

• Does the surrounding 5-10 degree temperature increase contribute to global warming?

• Does their fencing disrupt wildlife migration or cause pollinator disruption?

• Why in a real estate boom, are your neighbors reporting property devaluation?

• Are your contract payments profit dependent? https://www.technologyreview.com/2021/07/14/1028461/solar-value-deflation-california-climate-change/

• Are the panels ethically sourced and constructed? https://www.washingtonpost.com/business/2021/08/27/customs-detains-chinese-solar-panels/

• At the pace of advancements, will their technology be outdated by completion?

• Decommissioning specifics, including recycling of panels.

And to the Highland County commissioners, your greed will be our legacy.

Sincerely,
Kim Stroop