Utility Scale Solar Kills Jobs
To The Reader’s Forum:
Does it matter that utility scale solar has a negative effect on the environment – destroying farmland, forests, wetland, recreational land? Does it matter that property values are driven down? Does it matter that the mining of cobalt, lithium, rare earths and copper to build solar panels and battery energy storage systems is done by slave labor in the Congo and China? (Wall Street Journal, “Cobalt Red: How the Blood of the Congo Powers Our Lives” which documents the degradation of men, women, and children who mine solar materials). “The scale of destruction is enormous, and the magnitude of suffering is incalculable. Congo is the new Heart of Darkness”.
Do the moral, ethical, environmental issues matter?
Do solar projects benefit host communities? There are temporary payouts via Payments in Lieu of Taxes (PILOT) which are a fraction of the amount that would be paid at full property tax valuation of each project.
But utility scale solar creates no permanent local jobs. In fact, utility scale solar kills jobs. It kills recreational jobs. It kills jobs in tourism. Solar kills jobs in agriculture. It kills jobs in forestry. When the land is destroyed and not available to these rural occupations, people will leave. The Chautauqua County Farm Bureau states that 84% of land targeted for solar is agricultural. Another example of the environmental destruction is the 3000 acre Ripley Solar project where 528 additional acres of mature forest will be clear-cut in addition to the hundreds of acres already cut by those who have leased their land to solar which allowed developers to avoid environmental regulations.
Do solar projects make electricity? NYSERDA states 14% of what the solar grifters claim – is the amount of power created by solar projects in this region. Does 14% justify the harm and waste? Does it matter that China makes 97% of the quartz ingots used in all solar? (“Beijing Threatens to Disrupt US Solar” Feb 2, 2023 WSJ describes the control China has of the solar industry – 97%.)
If 97% of solar ingots come from China, they may contain toxic PFAS/PFOS “forever chemicals” that contaminate soil, ground water, streams, and lakes. Panels must be made in the US to prevent the use of “forever chemicals”.
One option is not to give local subsidies. Towns can decide not to give Payment in Lieu of Taxes (PILOT) subsidies by not requesting a PILOT from the Industrial Development Agency (IDA). As reported in the Post Journal, February 21 and March 4, 2023, the decision is up to the towns. Solar developers say they will not build if they don’t get PILOT’s. Most of their profit is based on subsidies and carbon credits sold on Wall Street – but have nothing to do with making and selling electricity – because so little electricity is actually produced here by solar.
Towns can deny local subsidies that hit taxpayers through increased taxes, utility rates, and the destruction of jobs. With no subsidies, solar grifters leave town, and the problem is solved. Our beautiful rural countryside and quality of life is preserved, and residents will respect local officials for doing the right thing.