[This piece was sent to the Kokomo Tribune. Not known if it will be published]
Are you paying attention?
In the name of clean energy, tax revenue, and landowner income; we are on the verge of losing 1,800 acres of prime farmland in eastern Howard County. If the Board of Zoning Appeals approves the project next Tuesday, a French energy company, ENGIE, will cover those acres with sterile solar panels for electricity. The area will be designated the “Emerald Green Solar Project”.
The catch is this is not for the short term. It will be for the next 30 or more years! That land will not be able to produce soy beans or corn or anything else for that matter for decades. Those are beans and corn that did go into the food supply directly or indirectly or into ethanol fuel for our vehicles. No more.
Could you guess where the solar panels are manufactured? You would be right if you guessed Communist China. The IAE (International Energy Agency) reports Communist China is the source of 75% of all solar modules, 85% of solar cells, 97% of solar wafers, and 79% of polysilicon used. Other countries than Communist China, like Viet Nam in the case of ENGIE, may do some of the assembly; but not make or supply the primary components.
And the kicker is there is yet another solar energy project coming right behind ENGIE/Emerald. This one is for 1,700 more Howard County farm acres. It is called “Locomotive Solar” by Ranger Power. It is being alleged that company is offering to pay $1,000 to people to support this project which does not yet have Board of Zoning Appeals approval either.
What is the point? All over the country massive solar field projects are popping up. The goal is to use solar panels to capture sun energy and convert it to electric power for electric utilities. The problem is these solar companies have tunnel vision. They want to gobble up massive acreages of flat, fertile farmland and take it out of production for agriculture for decades when the world is facing food shortages and hunger.
For example, due to war, Ukraine, called the “Bread Basket of the World”, will likely not harvest anything this growing season and for years to come. Europe and Africa depended heavily upon Ukraine crops for food. The United States will be called upon more and more for food supplies; not less.
This madness cannot continue. Technology moves fast. Today’s solar panel technology will be outdated very quickly. The frenzy to cover the world with today’s panels will cease. Then what? And if today’s panels are useful, put them on brownfields or on building roof tops, or on non-tillable lands; not on some of the richest, most fertile farmland in the world.