Develop a Comprehensive Plan for Renewable Energy in Chesapeake
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The development of wind and solar energy promises supplemental electricity from natural resources. The benefits of the clean energy will be felt for generations to come. However, as with any new technology, several concerns have arisen that must be addressed prior to the full implementation into our city. Within the last 12 months, at least four solar energy production sites have been proposed in Chesapeake, totaling near 1000 acres.
With Chesapeake clearly being a prime target for solar companies, it is increasingly important for our city leaders to develop a comprehensive plan that mitigates any potentially negative impacts. The citizens of Chesapeake deserve the peace of mind that comes from knowing that all reasonable scenarios have been plotted and all negative impacts have been considered. There is no doubt that Chesapeake planners have evaluated these sites from a zoning perspective, and that is fully appreciated. However, many aspects remain to be considered, including but not limited to:
-Solar and wind energy sites are exempted from Real and Personal Property taxes per Virginia House Bill 1305. How much revenue is Chesapeake willing to lose for these types of sites?
-What total acreage should be consumed by solar sites?
-Will the sites be treated with herbicides that are detrimental to the long-term viability of the land?
-Solar Energy is a very expensive form of energy production and results in increased utility rates. How will Chesapeake combat this side-effect?
-Solar companies rely on federal subsidies to remain viable businesses. How will future policies from the new Trump administration impact these subsidies? Is there a risk of these sites being left abandoned due to cancelled subsidies?
-Solar technology is growing quickly. If several sites are constructed immediately, does that leave room for future implementation of new and better solar panels? What rate should these sites be brought into Virginia?
-Could roof-top solar panels be implemented rather than 150-300 acre sites?
-What impact will the multiplication of these sites have on local farms and related businesses?
-What is the ideal contract duration that minimizes risk to the city?
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