I support moving Michigan’s energy grid onto renewable sources: wind, solar and hydro especially. I could turn the argument on township governments having control of permitting solar farms around and ask, what business do township boards have telling farmers and ranchers they can’t use their land to produce electricity? The rent they receive would help keep the farms and ranches solvent and maybe keep that family farm going. The land is not destroyed by solar installations. Basically T posts are set in the ground that support the solar panels. During the time it is used for energy production cover crops or pollinator supporting crops can be grown replenishing the soil while the solar farm is producing electricity. Solar and wind are not the only ways that farm land is used in energy production. Wikipedia says 45% of the US corn crop is used for producing ethanol, which takes tremendous inputs of fertilizers, herbicides, pesticides, fungicides and does not require township permission. In regards to Senator Daley’s objection that solar and wind are unreliable and unproven approaches, wind and solar kept the grid in Texas from collapsing under the weight of the unrelenting heat there this past summer with 55 days at 100 or more and the temperature reaching as high as 119. It was widely reported that Texas’ massive investment in wind and solar kept the grid functional. In the objections I am reading from my state representatives in this paper, there is not one word acknowledging the need to reduce carbon emissions and mitigate the cascading climate crisis. Our denialism has gone on too long. I would love to see solar panels on rooftops and on brownfields in cities as well as in the countryside. It is not an either/or issue, rather, “yes, and-“. Farming is greatly impacted by the chaotic environment of an unstable climate. It’s a big thing, but we can act in ways to have a sustainable future. Let’s not hold to a false nostalgia around farming practices that keeps us tied to fossil fuels, coming from the dinosaur age, (and look what happened to them when conditions changed), but move toward sustainable practices that demonstrate our ability to take on the challenges of producing energy in ways that protect this amazingly generous planet that needs our decisive action now.
— Miriam Marcus