Utility-scale solar energy can be a tool for conservation, economic development
To put it plainly, these proposed projects will not destroy the natural environment nor negatively impact the watershed if they are approved and built in line with Linn County’s existing ordinance for solar energy projects. In fact, with a diverse mix of native grasses and wildflowers cultivated on-site, these proposed projects can significantly improve water quality, reduce soil erosion, and provide habitat for wildlife and pollinators, going a long way to restore Iowa’s landscape.
Furthermore, by using wildlife-style fencing instead of traditional chain link fencing, these sites can be a home for upland nesting birds such as ring-necked pheasants, quail, and other grassland birds like the dickcissel…
New recycling techniques set to make electric vehicles greener
Researchers in Britain and the United States have found ways to recycle electric vehicle batteries that can drastically cut costs and carbon emissions, shoring up sustainable supplies for an expected surge in demand.
The techniques, which involve retrieving parts of the battery so they can be reused, would help the auto industry tackle criticism that even though EVs reduce emissions over their lifetime, they start out with a heavy carbon footprint of mined materials…
AFT welcomes solar and conservation specialist
American Farmland Trust welcomes Ethan Winter as the Northeast Solar Specialist. In this role, Winter will work across regional and national programs to help set and implement AFTs strategy for solar energy generation and farmland conservation. Winter joins AFT with an extensive background in solar development throughout the Northeast.
Restoration and solar team up
For over a year now, much of the SunCommon team has been working remotely, and all-staff gatherings have been suspended. But graced with good weather and increased access to vaccines amongst [their] staff, [they] paused operations for a day to give each other the opportunity to reconnect after a year apart, provide service to our community, and expand [their] mission impact by planting carbon-sequestering trees.
Check out the projects and organizations they worked with…
How solar energy can coincide with crop and animal agriculture
We’ve devoted millions of acres of land to growing crops and allowing farm animals to graze. Now, that land used for agriculture can have a dual purpose — to harness the sun’s rays and provide energy.
The future of solar relies on synergies between renewables development and the environment
As corporations and utilities continue to look to renewable energy to help them reach sustainability and renewable portfolio standard (RPS) commitments, solar development has flourished. According to the U.S. National Renewable Energy Laboratory, it’s predicted that utility-scale solar sites are on track to occupy nearly 2 million acres in the United States by 2030.
Solar grazing: A new income stream for livestock producers
Utility-scale solar arrays may cover 3 million acres across the U.S. by 2030, according to the National Renewable Energy Lab (NREL). This is causing tension with farmers and farmland advocates, as the panels are often sited on good agricultural land, displacing current production.
One solution is to restrict solar developments from being installed on farmland. But there are other solutions worth pursuing, too. Most large-scale solar arrays are located in rural areas where economies are hurting and farmer numbers are dwindling…
Greens: Divided on ‘clean’ energy? Or closer than they appear?
Solar, wind, and geothermal sources currently account for just 11% of U.S. electricity, with another 7% from hydroelectric dams, 20% from nuclear, 19% from coal, and 40% from gas. A host of energy modeling studies have concluded that renewable energy could be scaled up to supply 80-90% of U.S. electricity demand, but meeting the final 10-20% is exceedingly challenging.
The 2035 report by the UC Berkeley Goldman School of Public Policy estimated that the U.S. could achieve 90% emissions-free electricity by 2035, including 70% from wind and solar with batteries, 20% from nuclear, and 10% from gas…
How to have your solar farm and keep your regular farm, too
You may appreciate this short news clip from NPR
Clean, abundant solar power comes with a price. It requires lots of land, and in some places that’s provoking opposition from people who want to preserve farmland.
In southern New Jersey, for instance, a company called Dakota Power Partners wants to build an 800-acre solar power station, and the Pilesgrove Township planning board is hearing from local citizens who don’t like it one bit…
Crystal Spring Farm Community Solar Project
For the [over] 25 years BTLT has owned and managed Crystal Spring Farm, a 331-acre property dynamic in its agricultural impact, community programs, recreational opportunities, and ecological value. As BTLT staff and resources have grown, so has our capacity to manage the many aspects of this incredible property…
Capacity: 78.65 Kilowatts (KW), 286 photovoltaic solar panels, 275 watts/panel
Host: Crystal Spring Farm, with concurrence of the Brunswick-Topsham Land Trust (landowner).
Participants: Crystal Spring Farm plus seven other Brunswick families without access to solar electricity where they live.