By Linda Kaidan
Local energy security is key to community survival in times of uncertainty, yet
Herkimer County has the lowest level of local solar energy production in NY state.
Solar energy is priced competitively, dependable and environmentally friendly. Solar farms can produce excellent income for farmers and provide secure local energy.
Recently we’ve seen how easily supply chains can be disrupted by international catastrophe.
Before Covid-19 appeared in March 2020, it seemed that our favorite foods, cleaning products and cheap manufactured goods made in other countries like China would be endlessly accessible. Now when we go shopping we are reminded that this is no longer the case. Think about what would happen with a local energy shortage or outage. No heat in our homes. No light. Health care facility malfunction.
Products like energy often have vulnerable supply chains too.
That is why New York has an aggressive program supporting green energy throughout the state. Local green energy produced by wind, water and sun protects the environment. It also ensures that should there be a disruption in availability caused by epidemic, civil unrest or even war we will have the power we need. We will continue to be capable of manufacturing our own products and also have energy for utilities and transportation.
A NYS solar farm map published in 2019 shows solar production by county.
The light counties have the lowest level of solar farm production. Let’s not count on luck to provide Herkimer with energy. Lets build new solar farms in our county that are wildlife friendly, farm friendly and neighbor friendly.
Plans for a local solar farm on approximately 140 acres adjacent to Herkimer College are currently being reviewed by county officials.
This land has significant forest and includes some wetlands. It is located about 1 mile NW of Herkimer Community College’s baseball field parking lot at 188 Sokol Road. Provided wetlands are protected and consideration is given to wildlife passing through the area, a new solar farm can greatly benefit our county. While losing forest is not desirable, well designed solar farms can accommodate meadow growth favorable to pollinators and can be farm friendly and aesthetically pleasing.