Yesterday I posted an article, “Benicia Planning Commission to consider permitting commercial facility in Benicia Open Space Reserve,” in which my friend and colleague Don Dean urged opposition to a project to build a solar panel field in Benicia’s beautiful open space hills.
Later, I heard from several Benicia environmental advocates who favor the project. The Planning Commission will have to weigh the pros and cons of this one carefully.
Check out the Planning Commission agenda for details on how to submit comments by email and how to participate in the live videoconference.
Here’s my friend Kathy Kerridge’s reasoning:
May 27, 2020
Re: Agenda item 11B, Lake Herman Road Solar Project
Dear Planning Commissioners,
I am writing to voice my support for the Solar Project proposed for Lake Herman Road.
We are in the midst of a climate crises. Scientists have said we need to act within the next 10 years to substantially reduce our greenhouse gas emissions. We are starting to see the world change around us, with increasing fires, droughts, stronger storms, floods, sea level rise and even plagues of locus. The ocean is increasingly becoming acidic. The coral reefs are dying. We cannot wait to act. We must act now to reduce emissions. This project can be part of the solution.
This project will sell power to Marin Clean Energy, our local power provider. A company that is run by the communities it serves. It will add to their renewal energy portfolio. It will provide local jobs. It is located in open space that is near a nice recreation area, Lake Herman, but I don’t believe it will be visible from the trail around the lake. Even if it is the benefits out weight the costs. The Lake Herman area is within a stone’s throw of a major oil refinery. We are not talking here about a pristine wildness area being developed, but are putting a solar facility pretty much across the street from an industrial park. If not here where? Of course the ideal location for solar would be on rooftops, over parking lots and over roads, but I don’t believe this is an either or decision. Ultimately we will need solar in both places.
If local projects like this do not get approval we will never make progress in fighting the climate catastrophe that we are facing. Delay is also not an option. We need to start acting now on the transformation of our society. No project is ever perfect. But we cannot let the perfect be the enemy of the good. This is power that will be used by our local power company. If we say no to projects like this I don’t know how we will ever make progress in reducing our emissions. Please approve this project for the sake of our future.
35 year Benicia resident