Elisa Campbell: We need large-scale solar now

Published: 08-02-2023 6:55 PM

The climate crisis has come to our region with a big wallop. Many of us have done something to reduce our own contribution, but that is not enough. The reality is that releases of carbon dioxide and methane have been increasing, not declining.

Our state has set goals for decarbonization, but we’re not actually doing much. Most of our electricity is generated by burning natural gas. We depend on energy generated in other places, thus exporting our environmental footprint. A major part of our state decarbonization plan depends on getting “green” power from huge dams in Quebec on high tension wires/corridors through Maine, which Maine residents are resisting.

Almost every proposed solar or wind project is opposed locally. People prefer solar on roofs and over parking lots, ignoring the fact that large-scale projects will be needed to generate enough carbon-free electricity for our current uses plus the addition of far more demand with e-vehicles, and converting heating and industrial processes from fossil fuels.

We should do more to put solar over parking lots, but new policies and subsidies will not happen quickly. We can’t wait for perfect solutions. This summer should convince all of us that we need to reduce carbon emissions as quickly as possible. Trees do absorb carbon dioxide, but they don’t absorb as much carbon as ground-mounted solar panels offset.

Meanwhile, the forests are directly threatened by the climate changes. We live in a beautiful area and would like to keep it that way. But the world is changing rapidly and nothing will remain the same. Most of us here have benefited tremendously from the use of energy generated by fossil fuels without directly suffering much of the costs of that generation in terms of pollution or ugliness.

It’s time for us to do our share to protect our overall environment, our neighbors, and ourselves.

Elisa Campbell

Amherst

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