Solar Energy + Economic Development + Environmental Stewardship
Solar Energy + Economic Development + Environmental Stewardship
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Re-watch these illuminating discussions from the pandemic edition of another solar energy + land use event, the 2021 Virginia Solar Summit.
A Quick Glance at Pulaski County’s Green Government Vision and Our Experiences with Utility Scale Solar" featuring Pulaski County Administrator, Jonathan Sweet, who expertly gives the 'what', 'why', and 'how' from inside one of the largest solar energy projects East of the Mississippi, overcoming many obstacles on its development path from conception to completion... myth busting not least of which. Mr. Sweet makes a compelling business case for solar energy projects as sound economic development that delivers a brighter competitive edge.
Enjoy the sweeping VSS21 Day 1 keynote remarks featuring Emil Avram, Vice President of Business Development at Dominion Energy. "The data really is abundantly clear that in recent human history industrial progress has led to the greater emissions of greenhouse gases such as co2 and will result in global climate change if we don't do something about it. This doesn't mean that we have to stop human progress, but it does mean that we should recognize and acknowledge the causes and effects of our actions and continue to be ever more innovative to solve these challenges before it becomes something much larger that we cannot reverse we should do this for our future generations if not for ourselves."
Exciting RFP update from American Electric Power Senior Counsel Noelle Coates, who shares the hard work AEP is undertaking to position itself for the future production via an ongoing series of RFPs for renewable energy projects. "It's a balance between encouraging development and meeting these goals with not doing so you know to place too much of a burden on anyone in the service territory. So, that's something that we keep in mind as a public utility: our duty is the server customers as cost efficiently and reliably as possible. It's an exciting time for sure."
Constructing a ground-mounted solar energy array on a brownfield or other previously developed real property comes with its own considerations, concerns and construction best practice. Compared to greenfield development, a solar power re-development project starts with a completely different mindset from the very beginning and requires specific expertise to guide it from simple conception to successful completion. Notwithstanding the higher degree of difficulty, the right team of experts can make a solar redevelopment as viable as any greenfield development, or more so.
The Solar Workgroup of Southwest Virginia is a diverse collaboration of numerous organization and professionals diligently working towards a common vision with a goal to grow 'Southwest Virginia (into) a solar leader in the Commonwealth and Central Appalachia, building on the region's proud history as an energy leader, working to realize the economic, environmental, and resiliency benefits of solar energy markets for all SWVA community members.'
Listen in to 2 luminaries in legacy land (re)use discuss the programs, funding and technical assistance offered at the state and federal levels to redevelop previously developed real estate into new uses, including renewable energy projects, and specifically solar power. Featured in this prime Day 1 session from the 2021 Virginia Solar Summit are, first, Meade Anderson, the VRP & Brownfields Program Manager at the Virginia Department of Environmental Quality (DEQ); and, Patricia Overmeyer, the Deputy Directory of the Office of Brownfield and Land Revitalization at the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA).
How can solar farms combine with sustainable agriculture to host herds of sheep and improve soil health? What are agricultural, economic, and environmental impacts of co-locating agricultural enterprises such as commercial beekeeping and sheep grazing on photovoltaic sites? Gain insights to these questions with powerful data, analysis and expert commentary from some of brightest minds in the agrivoltaics space.
Virginia's Pollinator-Smart innovative program is designed to provide incentives and tools for the solar industry to adopt a native plant strategy to meet soil and water control regulations, community needs, and the needs of the environment. See why Virginia is leaning into pollinator-friendly habitat policy and learn the criteria necessary to meet Virginia’s Pollinator-Smart certification program.
Virginia is using solar power development to lead the way towards greater land recycling to not only save greenspace from being developed, but to repurpose previously developed land and give it new, productive life generating renewable clean energy. To achieve this, the Commonwealth of Virginia is building a multi-agency effort with programs and professionals tasked, able and ready to assist in the expansion of solar energy onto land fills and other previously impacted lands.
Virginia has a keen interest in the revitalization of coal country and all its historic energy and mineral producing properties, many of which now lay in various states of non-productivity. Thanks to the tireless efforts of professionals in the private and public sector, particularly those in the newly renamed Virginia Energy agency, the Commonwealth is continuing to support an economic transition in this once coal dominated state. The agency has a long foundation of success in repurposing land that was once mined and its catalytic work is reaching new level of possibility as a result of support from policymakers in the way of the Clean Energy Act, and a newly formed grant program Virginia Energy will manage to promote revitalization of legacy real estate sites throughout the Commonwealth.
Hear how mixes of native plants can enable a solar farm to evolve into a multipurpose, high-functioning ecosystem that can support pollinator species, birds, and other wildlife, while enhancing facility economic efficiencies and physical performance of the power system itself (by keeping panels from overheating).
Robin Ernst, President of Monarch Vegetation Services, President of Meadville Land Service, and Partner of Ernst Seed delivers powerful remarks on the environmental challenge and opportunity of ground-mounted solar projects on farmland and brownfield alike. The practical realities of building beneficial habitats for bees and butterflies is serious work, and in these clarion remarks Ms. Ernst goes beyond identifying the project bottleneck emerging in Virginia... and slowing down projects... but she also makes a clear, bold call to action for every professional in the field(s), whether greenfield, brownfield or brightfield, for higher and better forms of solar farm harnessing Mother Nature's true potential.