Surry planners get it right

Published 5:28 pm Tuesday, October 12, 2021

Editor, The Smithfield Times:

I’m for nuclear and renewable energy, and I side with the Surry Planning Commission on rejecting Loblolly Solar and tabling the Align RNG projects.

Renewables are overdue, but renewable technology appeal is jeopardized by large corporate owners not giving respect in aesthetics, posted ownership and community.

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In Isle of Wight, Dominion’s Woodland Facility aesthetics are terrible but were suspiciously addressed when Cavalier Solar was going before the IW Board of Supervisors. The IW planner properly addressed the Cavalier aesthetics.

Dominion Energy traditional generating facilities are tops in aesthetics, ownership and community. Unlike the traditional facilities, the renewable fuel is free, so why don’t renewables offer aesthetic appeal. I ask, “If it is nasty from the road to the fence, then what is going on inside the fence?”

I live in IW and I am recently concerned about what is becoming irresponsible “renewable encroachment.” So, I quietly sat in the Surry Planning Commission’s Sept. 27 public meeting.

Hexagon did a good job representing Loblolly. Still, I was lost at 90-%plus approve of solar. Is this in Surry?

No control over the panels being made overseas, when there are panels made in America and a part of the condition should be to use “Made in the USA” panels and use county labor during construction.

The Align (Dominion and Smithfield Foods) presentation was not good and lacked key empirical data. Despite there being a similar facility in Utah, and a difference in what the Utah pigs eat, there was no comparative or scalable Utah data presented on generation, by-product amount, line maintenance cleaning and compressor noise. Align, get out to Utah and measure the “Loaded” Compressor noise at set distances and get baseline data at the proposed site.

The Surry Planning Commission is good with pointed questions with its citizens in mind. I don’t think they yield to distant renewable public sentiment and buy-in.


David Tucker, PE