County leaders are interested in using land for both solar energy and agriculture, but some worry about technical challenges | News, Sports, Jobs
photograph by: Austin Hornbostel/Journal-Earth
Douglas County leaders indicated Wednesday that they’d like to proceed to contemplate how land in the county could be used for photo voltaic electric power generation and agriculture at the same time, but they had some issues about the complex challenges that could arise in this sort of a program.
At a examine session on Wednesday, the Douglas County Fee read from a panel of attendees who spelled out how that strategy, identified as agrivoltaics, could be carried out in the place with proposed solar farm laws that the commissioners will look at at a foreseeable future meeting. Agrivoltaics can include things like land works by using like increasing crops, grazing livestock or planting pollinator vegetation.
Between these who spoke were being Jacqueline Smith, the founder of Central Grazing Enterprise, which raises lambs and Amber Lehrman, the executive director of the Agrarian Long term Alliance. Smith spoke about how sheep grazing could be practical in agrivoltaic projects, and Lehrman talked about how her corporation trains farmers to choose advantage of agrivoltaics. Both stated the notion could assistance mitigate problems like barriers to land access for beginning farmers or farmers from underrepresented teams.
Even so, commissioners experienced a great deal of thoughts about the topic — especially pertaining to the technological challenges of multi-use land and how it could complicate leases and business enterprise arrangements among the private land house owners, solar organizations and agriculture corporations like grazers or planters. Commissioner Shannon Portillo reported it was great to listen to some much more detailed illustrations of these types of land use, but that from a regulatory perspective it seemed like agrivoltaics could in the end result in a extra complicated procedure.
Commissioner Shannon Reid stated that while the specialized issues may be noticeable, she was continue to on board with discovering how agrivoltaics could perform on a probable photo voltaic farm in the county.
“I’m truly interested in figuring out how we move this forward, and energized about the concept that we have an possibility listed here, with all the gamers we have at this desk, with all the knowledge …” Reid explained. “I consider that we’ve bought to hold the foot on the gas.”
The county’s interim sustainability director, Kim Criner Ritchie, was one particular of the panelists for the examine session, and she explained it was crucial to steer clear of approving any polices intended for just a person use. Rather, Criner Ritchie claimed, the county must be aiming to diversify land use in more than one particular sustainable way anytime feasible.
That was echoed by a different speaker — Byron Kominek, the proprietor of Jack’s Solar Yard in Boulder County, Colorado. Kominek said his solar farm is principally an power supplier, but the area underneath the photo voltaic array residences a fruit and vegetable backyard and pollinator plants. It also serves as a learning device and a room for situations.
Kominek claimed he believed that if he could coordinate all of the technological aspects of people utilizes on his have, the worries of complex troubles from county leaders below had been surmountable.
Allen Anderson, an attorney symbolizing Florida-based strength agency NextEra, was also at the meeting and resolved some concerns from commissioners. NextEra has expressed desire in acquiring a photo voltaic farm that would partly be found in Douglas County. Anderson explained NextEra was fascinated in checking out and later implementing agrivoltaics, but that the agency was anxious mainly because the notion did not exist at a greater scale still.
Since the dialogue was at a study session, county leaders did not get any action on the proposed photo voltaic polices, but they could choose to include them to an agenda for consideration at a potential conference or immediate county workers to seem into agrivoltaics in bigger depth.
In other small business, the commission:
* Permitted a just one-yr short term enterprise use permit for Dan C. King to let the burning of trees, brush and other discarded vegetation hauled on to his residence situated at 1289 East 1750 Highway. King will have to simply call dispatchers with spot firefighting companies each time anything at all is burned on the residence, and he should observe melt away bans and stay clear of any burning though winds are directed at Kansas State Freeway 10, which is near the residence.
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