County leaders are interested in using land for both solar energy and agriculture, but some worry about technical challenges | News, Sports, Jobs
picture by: Austin Hornbostel/Journal-Earth
Douglas County leaders indicated Wednesday that they’d like to continue to take into consideration how land in the county could be utilized for photo voltaic electric power era and agriculture simultaneously, but they had some problems about the technical problems that could crop up in this kind of a method.
At a analyze session on Wednesday, the Douglas County Commission heard from a panel of guests who discussed how that thought, known as agrivoltaics, could be carried out in the space with proposed solar farm regulations that the commissioners will take into account at a potential meeting. Agrivoltaics can contain land utilizes like increasing crops, grazing livestock or planting pollinator plants.
Between people who spoke ended up Jacqueline Smith, the founder of Central Grazing Firm, which raises lambs and Amber Lehrman, the government director of the Agrarian Long term Alliance. Smith spoke about how sheep grazing could be practical in agrivoltaic tasks, and Lehrman talked about how her corporation trains farmers to just take advantage of agrivoltaics. Both of those explained the strategy could enable mitigate difficulties like boundaries to land accessibility for starting farmers or farmers from underrepresented teams.
However, commissioners had a great deal of thoughts about the topic — especially relating to the specialized challenges of multi-use land and how it could complicate leases and organization preparations amid non-public land house owners, photo voltaic corporations and agriculture organizations like grazers or planters. Commissioner Shannon Portillo said it was superior to listen to some extra detailed examples of these types of land use, but that from a regulatory standpoint it appeared like agrivoltaics could finally result in a much more intricate course of action.
Commissioner Shannon Reid claimed that nevertheless the complex worries may be clear, she was still on board with discovering how agrivoltaics could operate on a opportunity photo voltaic farm in the county.
“I’m really fascinated in figuring out how we shift this forward, and energized about the concept that we have an prospect listed here, with all the gamers we have at this desk, with all the experience …” Reid claimed. “I consider that we have acquired to preserve the foot on the gasoline.”
The county’s interim sustainability director, Kim Criner Ritchie, was one of the panelists for the analyze session, and she stated it was significant to steer clear of approving any laws meant for just a person use. As a substitute, Criner Ritchie stated, the county should really be aiming to diversify land use in additional than one particular sustainable way when doable.
That was echoed by a further speaker — Byron Kominek, the operator of Jack’s Solar Backyard in Boulder County, Colorado. Kominek reported his solar farm is principally an strength provider, but the area less than the solar array residences a fruit and vegetable backyard garden and pollinator plants. It also serves as a finding out software and a space for activities.
Kominek said he assumed that if he could coordinate all of the technological factors of all those utilizes on his personal, the concerns of complex difficulties from county leaders right here had been surmountable.
Allen Anderson, an legal professional representing Florida-based power company NextEra, was also at the conference and addressed some issues from commissioners. NextEra has expressed curiosity in developing a solar farm that would partially be situated in Douglas County. Anderson claimed NextEra was fascinated in exploring and later on utilizing agrivoltaics, but that the business was anxious for the reason that the thought did not exist at a much larger scale yet.
Since the dialogue was at a review session, county leaders didn’t just take any action on the proposed photo voltaic restrictions, but they could choose to include them to an agenda for thought at a long term assembly or immediate county staff to glance into agrivoltaics in higher depth.
In other small business, the commission:
* Accredited a one particular-year short-term business enterprise use permit for Dan C. King to make it possible for the burning of trees, brush and other discarded vegetation hauled onto his assets located at 1289 East 1750 Highway. King will have to call dispatchers with space firefighting companies any time everything is burned on the property, and he will have to observe burn bans and stay away from any burning whilst winds are directed at Kansas State Freeway 10, which is in close proximity to the house.