Why do so many of us in the Cambridge community oppose the proposed Koshkonong Solar Energy Center? Don't we see the need for renewable energy? Yes, we do. But a utility-scale solar farm on prime farmland and at the entrance to our village is not a responsible plan.
The 10th such solar project considered by Wisconsin regulators, the project highlights the tensions brewing as Wisconsin utilities seek to replace coal-fired power with clean energy.
Lifelong farmers worry that agricultural land will never return to production after the solar farm leases expire. The village sees its only area for growth consumed by solar panels. The school district worries about loss of revenue and having one of the largest battery storage facilities in the country near the elementary school.
Our state is not swapping coal for solar. It is swapping Wisconsin's dairy land for utility districts. What happened to the Farmland Preservation Program?
Try building a home in rural Dane County and see how many hoops you'll have to jump through. Why does big energy get a pass on local zoning?
These issues pit neighbor against neighbor. The real culprits are greedy private energy companies, asleep-at-the-wheel state legislators who have not enacted appropriate regulatory legislation for utility-scale solar, and our Public Service Commission which appears to rubber stamp each mega- project.
Sometimes green energy has a rotten underbelly.
Mary M. Gjermo, Cambridge