Gloria Kegeles: Vote ‘yes’ on large-scale solar, battery storage moratoriums in Northfield

EVG Photos/StockSnap

Published: 05-07-2024 1:58 PM

I live in Wendell. The 105-megawatt battery storage plan proposed in Wendell doesn’t seem to have much support in town, and now we are trying to get safety measures in place. I am happy to see that Northfield will be voting to have a moratorium (a temporary halt) on large-scale stand-alone batteries, as well as for large-scale solar.

As in Wendell, solar and battery developers go into small towns, find a “host” for the project, and then hope the citizens lack the resources to fend them off, even if most residents don’t want these installations. The state is pushing really hard to bypass the will of the people.

We are witnessing the age-old exploitation of our rural areas while in effect sparing more wealthier and larger communities of sometimes dangerous, in the case of lithium ion batteries, and unwanted, in cases of clear-cutting forests and destroying productive farmland, “green energy” projects.

In Wendell, the battery project would be built in an area forested in all directions, under the power lines, on top of our best aquifer, and if it catches on fire, there is no good way to put the fire out. We have no municipal water supply to stop it from spreading.

They call it green energy even though the power from the power lines could be sourced from oil, gas, and nuclear. And in Northfield, is it really green energy to plaster prime farmland with solar panels when we all know we need it to grow food? Is this what we want for any of our rural towns?

Northfield needs better ways to protect its resources. Only your town can do it. Not our governor. Not our state agencies. And certainly not multinational corporations that get tens of millions of dollars of our ratepayer money.

But no matter how you feel about any of this, getting clear bylaws in all of our towns needs to happen.

Please vote “yes” at Town Meeting on Monday, May 6 at 7 p.m. at the Pioneer Valley Regional School auditorium. You have to be there in person to vote. A copy of the moratorium is at Northfield Town Hall and online.

Gloria Kegeles