(Update, 12th August 2021)
Of course, if solar photovoltaic arrays were proposed here instead, residents and abutters would come out to oppose them, including untruthfully claiming that photovoltaics leak Cadmium and other materials into soils.
“Cutting down trees is detrimental to the environment.”
Other wooded recreational areas available about Walpole.
Official Commonwealth of Massachusetts designated areas of core forest and habitat.
Note the Fisher Street forest and the North Street locations proposed for solar arrays are not included.
While Massachusetts communities like the Town of Walpole and Norfolk County dither about whether or not to build utility scale PV arrays on the order of 5 MW, the State of New York is proposing projects of 240 MW with 20 MW of accompanying storage. I submitted testimony recently to the Town of Walpole, whose building department has decided that they don’t need to review the 5 MW North Street Solar Project because, despite the County Commissioners deciding to move forward to build it, they think that building such a solar project “is no proper function of government.” (I’m serious.) This was recently reviewed by the Walpole Zoning Board of Appeals. I do not yet know their decision. That testimony read in part:
But, climate mitigation or not, it is important Norfolk County prepare to have inﬂuence in the massive transformation of our nation’s and Commonwealth’s energy system which will inevitably come [omitted references]. It would be good if the County and the Town of Walpole were positioned to take advantage of this energy transformation. If they are not, the County and all its towns, including Westwood, will be at a tremendous economic and social disadvantage. No business, no resident will want to live or locate in Norfolk when they can get electricity ten times cheaper elsewhere. Such transformations take time and require many changes by residents, businesses, administrators who have gotten used to things working in a certain way. The North Street Solar Project is the ﬁrst sizeable change of many to come …
Does anyone seriously think Massachusetts and Norfolk County is going to be able to compete economically with states and regions which wholeheartedly commit to solar energy if Massachusetts ﬁnds its counties are reluctant to build them? This is not a small difference. In 2030, it’s expected that the cost to build solar energy will be one-sixth the cost to operation grid transmission lines [footnote]. Yes, Texas has more sunshine than Massachusetts, but not that much: Only 15% less. Yes, Texas has more open spaces than Massachusetts, but land use in Texas is carefully regulated [footnote]. Yes, Texas has a lower population density, but not that much: Half of Massachusetts has a population density lower than the Texas average [footnote]. In short, a choice against large scale PV siting in Massachusetts is a choice for economic failure in Massachusetts and in Norfolk County, beginning in 2030.
In addition, I fear denying the project will expose both Town and Norfolk County to reputational harm, and so cause additional economic depression. Many talented and wealthy professional people with young families often see climate disruption as an existential risk. They often will choose a company for which to work or a place to live based upon how well these align with their values. I met many such people in Cambridge before I retired. I interviewed some of them. Some had refused jobs at companies because of these reasons.— J. Galkowski, letter to John Lee, Chairman, Zoning Board of Appeals, Walpole, Massachusetts eb8d59a2 [Friday 30th July,2021]