Project Developer Providence Energy , Rhode Island
Many states have adopted aggressive targets for sustainable energy, prompting a wave of utility-scale solar arrays across New England. When sited where land is cheapest, in rural woods and farmland, the clear-cutting of virgin forests and buildover of productive farmland has been the surprisingly common price paid for renewable energy. In a short time, this issue has generated controversy and competing claims: can forests absorb more greenhouse gases than that produced by electricity generation? As with wind turbines in previous years, strong local opposition has emerged in many communities, imperiling the broader goals of the sustainable-energy movement. Can designers, planners, municipalities and institutions combat global climate change without sacrificing the local environment? The presenters have decades of experience shaping local land-use ordinances to accommodate growth while protecting natural resources and community character, and implementing successful solar developments on landfills and brownfields.
Connect changes in New England's landscape to the recent boom in solar array installations.
Determine how renewable-power goals can affect local and regional renewable-energy siting.
Determine the relative environmental impact of solar-energy installations in different contexts.
Make recommendations for renewable power-sourcing goals and purchasing, weighing total environmental impact.