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Industrial solar power plant

EDITOR:

Escanaba Township Board members must be applauded for recently rejecting the changes to the township’s land ordinance proposed by Orion Corp., the potential builder of the Chandler Industrial Solar Power Plant in the Flatrock area.

Locating a 125 mega-watt solar power plant amongst residential properties would degrade the entire landscape of the area and the potential for degradation or destruction of the area’s ground water resources is very real.

At the Sept.16 joint township board and planning commission meeting, UPPCO and Orion touted the reduction in electric rates that would result from construction of the power plant. But, let’s consider some facts on how “green energy programs” in Ontario have impacted their electricity rates:

The following is from the publication “The Hill” dated July 12, 2019:

“In 2005 Ontario’s provincial government started a process to phase-out its coal fired plants, one of the province’s least expensive and most flexible sources of generating electricity. Ontario shuttered tis last coal plant in 2014 and made it illegal to build more. In addition the province launched its Green Energy Act in 2009, which mandated expanded production of renewable energy (wind and solar).

The result? Ontario now has the fastest growing electricity costs in Canada and among the highest in North America. Subsequent research showed that the shutdown of coal plants raised electricity rates but provided few environmental benefits. Bottom line, Ontario’s decision to close reliable, affordable generation options forced residents to pay for higher prices in exchange for minimal environmental benefits.”

I have visited Ontario often in recent years and everyone, from homeowners to small businesses owners, are frustrated and distraught because of the huge increases in their electricity cost.

Additionally, Michigan geography ensures it has some of the lowest levels of solar irradiance in the United States. But according to UPPCO and Orion, Delta County and the Flatrock area have the best solar locations in Michigan. Guess that makes us “the Best of the Worst”.

Ontario is 10 years ahead of us with their “green energy plans”. If the U.P. follows such a plan the only truly “green” thing about it will be the increased dollars flowing out of consumer’s pockets to pay for in inefficient (in Michigan) means of electrical power production.

The Escanaba Township Board members took a laudable step in rejecting the latest Orion proposal. It is now up to the planning commission to totally reevaluate the entire industrial solar proposal.

Hopefully, the facts provided by concerned residents regarding the many negatives associated with the project and its location will result in a subsequent Township Board rejection of future proposals that would permit the construction of an industrial solar power plant in the Flatrock area.

Wayne Seibert

Gladstone