Pat Hynes: Do not let state’s solar energy goals go by the wayside



Last modified: Wednesday, September 02, 2015

To the editor:

The Aug. 21 edition of The Gazette carried four disparate articles that, intentionally or not, reinforced the momentum of climate change, the folly of fossil fuels and the political obstacles in the race for renewables and efficiency as our energy future in Massachusetts.

In what is a large margin for weather records, July was “the planet’s warmest month on record,” according to data released by the National Oceanographic and Atmospheric Administration. Another news article reports on the deaths of three U.S. Forest Service elite firefighters and the injury of four others in Meadow River Valley, Washington, fighting a series of blazes encompassing 140 square miles.

Since the mid-1980s, wildfires in the western United States have been occurring nearly four times more often, burning more than six times the land area, and lasting almost five times as long, according to the Union for Concerned Scientists. A companion piece carried news of a British Petroleum announcement of a $687 million settlement with hundreds of Gulf Coast local government for damages in tourism and other economic losses because of the company’s 2010 oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico.

The spill has and will cause long-term severe ecologic damage to marine life throughout the Gulf, according to biologists. Finally, a front-page article, “Push on solar,” illustrates the political obstacles on new large solar projects that have hamstrung Northampton’s municipal solar projects and approximately 170 other communities’ projects in Massachusetts.

Our state goal for 22 percent electricity from renewable resources by 2025 is in jeopardy. Now, we get 9.1 percent from renewables, only a third of which is from solar and wind. We need to jumpstart the solar program, which has had wings, until recently.

Pat Hynes

Montague


 


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