Solar farm would change community
I’m writing in regards to the industrial solar project being proposed for Escanaba Township. The idea of a “solar farm” is idyllic, but the proposed project is a “utility-scale commercial facility” (as stated in the ordinance) in a residential and agricultural area.
What began initially as a 300 acre project and a request for a “special use” exemption has grown to nearly 2,500 acres with no limit on further expansion. You can fit 40 semi trucks on an acre of land and a semi-truck is 12 feet high. The proposed panels are 16 feet high. This project is the equivalent of parking at least 100,000 semis in the township with savings to UPPCO customers a maximum of $13 per year. The proposed project will be a permanent loss of prime agricultural land and a fundamental change to the nature of the community.
The details of the decommissioning of the project, at some point in the future, remain unknown. There are smaller scale solar alternatives that could benefit all of the township without fundamentally altering our community. This could include a solar cooperative with the financial rewards benefiting the people of the township. We call on our representatives from the township to the state level to help the community develop an alternative proposal and implement the regulations necessary to make that happen.