The following Letter to the Editor was published in the Argus-Press on January 14, 2019
Shiawassee Solar Project is Biggest & Best
The proposed solar electricity generation project in northeast Shiawassee County will put the county on the map with Michigan’s largest solar array, bringing tremendous benefits to the community and Michigan. The Michigan Conservative Energy Forum (MICEF) promotes energy policy from a conservative perspective and we believe this project is a winner for several reasons.
With the price of solar panels dropping some 80% in the past decade, solar energy is more affordable energy. In addition, solar panels make the most electricity when demand and prices are highest – those hot summer days when air conditioning puts huge demands on the electric grid. By taking the edge off generation requirements during this peak demand time, solar energy provides a cost benefit to all electricity users. Energy that is cheaper and benefits everyone is the best energy.
But lower prices and peak demand savings are just the beginning. This solar generation will also diversify our electricity portfolio, helping stabilize the grid making it more resilient. Solar energy is 100% emission free. That is no small benefit; clean energy is the best energy.
Solar installations in agricultural areas preserve the land for future agricultural use at the end of the panels’ useful life. While the solar array is operational, the land beneath and around the panels can be specially managed to create habitat for pollinators (bees, butterflies, etc.) that are endangered these days and critical to our agricultural economy. This means farm land can be both “productive” with energy and habitat while technically being “fallow” at the same time.
Finally, a solar installation will bring in jobs, economic opportunity and more local tax revenues for police and fire protection, schools and roads, without raising additional taxes. As a politically conservative organization, we certainly prefer holding the line on tax rates.
MICEF stands behind Shiawassee County as you “go big” with this project. More affordable clean energy that helps the grid, makes smart use of agricultural land, grows local jobs and brings in public revenues without raising taxes is winner for all.
Michigan Conservative Energy Forum