Wind turbines

Climate Change & Conservation eNews

Renewables

Cows
Pixabay

Kilby Farm protected by a conservation easement proactively addresses climate change

Yes, agricultural easements can help farmers/ranchers deal with climate change and agricultural viability.

As a conservation organization, Cecil Land Trust takes the threats, challenges, and opportunities presented by climate change seriously. Educating the community about climate change means a better response more quickly for our community.

​The Kilby Farm methane digester converts greenhouse gas methane, produced from cow waste and organic products, to green energy to run the farm…

Read More »
Pitched Roof Solar
Mendocino Land Trust

Moving forward, going solar

Check out this post from a while back; it's as relevant as ever. Partnerships or local collaborations can be a great way to inspire folks to take action. Can you think of partnerships like this in your community?

If this is the year you finally want to go solar, give Mendocino Solar Service a call. Not only will they be happy to answer all of your questions and set up a free on site consultation, but if you mention the Mendocino Land Trust, Mendocino Solar will make a $500 donation to MLT upon the completed installation of your 3 kW or larger solar photovoltaic system! What could be better?…

Read More »
Climate Tip Solar
Peconic Land Trust

Climate tip: solar

How is your land trust demonstrating that reducing energy use, and moving away from fossil fuels, is possible and strategic?

[Recently, the Peconic Land Trust] celebrated National Cut Your Energy Cost Day with a look at our own energy costs. The Peconic Land Trust has been working to cut its energy costs through the use of solar panels—which is both economically and environmentally friendly. The net cost of solar is significantly lower than the current cost of utility power on Long Island, $0.09/ kWH to $0.21/ kWh respectively.

During the renovation of the Southampton office building in 2017, 32 solar panels were installed on the roof by GreenLogic. Since then, the panels have produced over 45,000 kWh of energy at a savings of more than $10,000! Power on Long Island comes from a combination of sources including coal and natural gas…

Read More »
How To Solar Now
Scenic Hudson

How to Solar Now

Even if you aren't located in the Hudson Valley region of New York, this tool might be something to replicate where you live. Check it out and see what you think.

Land trusts are realizing that they must support renewable energy if we are going to have a chance at saving the plants, animals, and communities from the worst of climate change.

This web-based interactive tool combines mapped information with education and guidance to help your community proactively plan for smart solar energy development. Using Geographic Information System (GIS) mapping layers, the tool identifies communities’ natural resources—such as forests, agricultural lands, and wetlands—and overlays them with important characteristics for solar development, such as gentle slopes and distance to transmission lines. It enables communities considering planning and zoning for future solar development, evaluating proposals by developers or identifying preferred sites for solar to make smart decisions that bring clean energy to residents while minimizing impacts to natural and community assets…

Read More »
Solar Farm Screenshot
video screenshot

Solar installation—Matsuda Farm

Local land trust's projects and creative solutions to climate change speak volumes about how they see their role in the climate crisis.

Does your land trust have an opportunity to install solar on its lands as part of an overall project, and education strategy?

The Vashon-Maury Island Land Trust is passionate about conserving land to protect the natural ecosystems and rural character of their islands amidst today’s rampant development. They created a video to talk about a solar installation on a farm they own and how it relates to their conservation goals.

Read More »
Solar And Ranchers
Dennis Schroeder/NREL

Beneath solar panels, the seeds of opportunity sprout

“On a humid, overcast day in central Minnesota, a dozen researchers crouch in the grass between rows of photovoltaic (PV) solar panels. Only their bright yellow hard hats are clearly visible above the tall, nearly overgrown prarie grasses—which are growing exactly as expected.

Bent over white, square frames, some of the researchers catalog the number and type of native plants growing on a square foot of land. Others press double-forked meters into the ground, measuring the soil moisture below the solar panels and in open ground. Nearby, beekeepers check on the health of local hives.

Their research is part of an ongoing study to quantify the benefits of a new approach to solar installations: low-impact solar development…”

Read More »
Many Solar Panels
Creative Commons

Panel discussion: Integrated Energy Research on Agriculture & Water Challenges

Check out these slides from this detailed panel hosted by the Joint Institute for Strategic Energy Analysis just a few weeks ago…

Read More »
Solar Farmer And Kale
DENNIS SCHROEDER/NREL

Can farmland fix solar power’s real estate problem?

“The farmers we work with are facing the reality of not wanting to sell their farms, but they have a developer knocking on the door...There’s an opportunity to leverage [agrivoltaics] so we can do [elevated] ground-mounted solar without taking any farmland off the table..."

Rooftop panels are great, but there just isn’t enough viable rooftop space for solar to take a meaningful bite out of carbon emissions in the US. For that, the country needs utility-scale solar farms, which can take up a lot of space—they could occupy an area the size of Connecticut by 2030, according to the National Renewable Energy Laboratory.

There needn’t be a trade-off between crops and electrons, [Chad] Higgins said; they can grow in tandem. Elevated solar panels installed above crops (so-called “agrivoltaics”) can provide an extra income stream for farmers if they lease the space for them to solar companies. And they can yield benefits for the farm itself: the shade can actually boost the yield of vegetables, decrease water consumption, and preserve the ability of soil to absorb CO2 from the atmosphere, according to an ongoing National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL) study. The study’s pilot sites have also found ways to combine solar with cattle and goat grazing, as well as apiaries for bees…

Read More »
Land
Brad Kreps

Conservation group plots solar potential for retired Appalachian coal mine land

Land trusts are recognizing that energy production, and transitioning off fossil fuels, is a key aspect of de-carbonizing our energy needs; which, in turn, is central to ensuring that the lands and waters we conserve survive for generations to come. That often means new, innovative partnerships.

In 2016, Wells [the regional director of community and economic development for Appalachian Voices] spearheaded the formation of the Solar Workgroup of Southwest Virginia to figure out how to incorporate renewable energy into an economic transition in the state’s seven coalfield counties.

It’s a coalition of nonprofits, community action agencies, colleges, state agencies, and planning district commissions. Workgroup members are in the midst of jump-starting more than a dozen rooftop solar projects stalled by a number of obstacles.

“The notion of solar farms being part of a reclamation plan has been flirted with for years and years,” said Wells, a Wise County native…

Read More »
Solar And Flowers
Center for Pollinators in Energy

Purdue entomologist, green groups laud solar farm for native ground cover plan

Local efforts can make or break compatible renewable projects: Riverstart Solar Park, first announced in 2018, would include 670,000 photovoltaic solar panels on 1,400 acres in southwest Randolph County and produce enough energy to power about 37,000 households—the largest such project in the state. The company was waiting for the ordinance to be enacted before starting construction.

Julie Borgmann, director of Muncie-based Red-tail Land Conservancy, spoke in favor of the pollinator-friendly provisions at several meetings of county government and also collaborated with the other supporters, including the Hoosier Environmental Council.

In an interview, she noted that, while it’s taken her land trust two decades to protect 2,700 acres of land in East Central Indiana, “this single solar farm” can “really have a huge impact on habitat for bugs, birds…and it goes on down the (ecosystem) line.”

Brock Harpur, an assistant professor of entomology at Purdue, called the new ordinance “a massive step forward for pollinator conservation in this state”…

Read More »