Winter isn’t over – please stay informed about the issues with over-oversalting.
Winter isn’t over – please stay informed about the issues with over-oversalting.
The Tri-County Access Project is a comprehensive regional study that was created to identify potential environmentally and fiscally responsible solutions to regional traffic congestion in Lake, northern Cook and eastern McHenry counties.
COUNTY BOARD – COMMITTEE OF THE WHOLE – SEPTEMBER 13 9:00AM
PUBLIC COMMENTS AT BEGINNING OF MEETING
COUNTY BOARD MEETING – SEPTEMBER 18 5:00PM
PUBLIC COMMENTS TAKEN AFTER CO. BOARD VOTE
ZONING BOARD OF APPEALS AGENDA ● SEPTEMBER 19, 2018 1:30PM
1. #2018-033 – OneEnergy/Franks – Riley Twp – A1-A1CV Conditional Use Permit for a Solar Farm, as well as a Variation from the screening requirement of having a solid fence or wall along the interior side and rear lot lines, to allow an open fence along the interior side and rear lot lines.
ZONING BOARD OF APPEALS AGENDA SEPTEMBER 20, 2018 1:30PM (rescheduled from Aug. 23)
1. #2018-031 – OneEnergy Development, LLC/Dahm Trust – Greenwood Twp – A1-A1CV Conditional Use Permit to allow for a Solar Farm and a Variation from the screening requirement of having a solid fence or wall along the interior side and rear lot lines, to allow an open fence along the interior side and rear lot lines.
Position on Community Solar Farms
Environmental Defenders of McHenry County
110 S. Johnson Street, Suite 106, Woodstock IL 60098
The Environmental Defenders of McHenry County recognize the need for society to embrace clean forms of energy and move away from energy that produces pollution, contaminates water, and degrades the planet’s environmental health. To this end, we welcome the opportunity for McHenry County to support community solar farms and hope to play a role in helping the projects provide the greatest environmental benefits. Just as agricultural crops convert energy from the sun into energy we consume as food, solar farms convert the sun’s energy into a clean form of electrical energy we use to power our daily lives. Local community solar farms provide opportunities for residents and businesses to access clean renewable energy without having to install solar power infrastructure on their own.
Having spent the past year researching the subject and meeting with industry professionals, the Environmental Defenders strongly believe that community solar farms can include native plants and other practices that would provide positive environmental, social, and economic benefits for the county. To ensure that community solar farms provide the greatest benefits over their lifespan, we ask that county and municipal governments include the following requirements for future projects:
If these minimum standards are implemented, we believe community solar farms will provide the following benefits:
Support local economies: Community solar farms will provide higher contributions to the local tax base than agricultural land use without raising population levels, increasing traffic, requiring new streets, or adding costs to schools and other public services.
Provide healthy restorative habitat: Native plants support local pollinators and have deep root systems that help to reduce stormwater runoff, prevent erosion, promote groundwater recharge, and restore soil health. When planted and maintained with appropriate low profile native plant species, community solar farms can provide healthy habitat, without the use of chemical inputs, that supports clean water and pollinators while rewarding the landowner with a positive revenue stream. Also, according to a multistate economic analysis on solar projects conducted by the National Renewable Energy Lab, increased yields for 10 major crops were reported as a result of nearby pollinator habitat.
Reduce pollution: The conventional energy we currently rely on produces a variety of contaminants including sulfur dioxide, airborne particulates, coal ash and slurry, greenhouse gasses and nuclear waste that will burden generations for 1000’s of years. The mining and transport of the raw materials or waste products also come with extreme costs to the public health and the environment. Solar power harvests the sun’s radiation that is naturally abundant without depleting resources or passing cleanup costs on to future generations.
Serve as clean, quiet neighbors: For the duration of the lease, community solar farms do not create dust, noise, or pollution. When stabilized and maintained with native plants, solar farms will also provide habitat for birds, small mammals, and pollinator species.
Produce electricity locally: Community solar produces clean local energy and empowers residents to meet their electricity needs within a more balanced energy budget, while reducing their carbon footprint.
Reduce electrical bills: Community solar subscribers save approximately 5% – 15% on their electricity bills without having to pay the upfront costs of installing solar panels on their own homes or businesses.
Provide temporary land use on agricultural properties: Community solar farms are typically sited on land that is predominantly flat and therefore does not require grading or land modification. Such projects cause minimal land disturbance and maintain the land and soils in a healthy condition throughout the life of the solar farm. In fact, the soil’s health will likely be improved during the lifetime of the solar farm, especially when native plants are properly established and maintained. At the end of the lease, the solar arrays can be removed, and the land can easily be converted back to an agricultural use if desired or retained as wildlife habitat.
Help preserve our farming heritage: Community solar farms placed on farmer-owned land generate a steady income for the landowner. Income from the solar farm, in the form of a lease, can provide a reliable and stable source of income to buffer against the uncertainties of agricultural markets. Solar farms can help farming continue to thrive in McHenry County.
Increase McHenry County’s energy sustainability: By producing clean, renewable energy here, residents are less dependent on energy that is subject to market price fluctuations or power plant disruptions. As a county we can be proud that through these community solar farms we are moving toward a more sustainable energy future.
In summary, properly designed community solar farms in McHenry County will provide a stackable set of benefits to our community. These include a local, clean energy source, habitat for declining pollinators and other wildlife, the rebuilding of our soil, infiltration areas to recharge our vital groundwater reserves, reductions in runoff from plowed fields, and improvements in downstream water quality. Prairie solar farms will also be peaceful, quiet, odorless neighbors.
Community Solar Farms in McHenry County
Environmental Defenders Create Our Version of The Beatles’ “Abbey Road” album cover! (L-R: Carina Vowels, Barb Day, Lindsey DiCello, Cynthia Kanner) Thanks to Ashley Plaza for taking the photo!
The 2017 Environmental Defenders’ Annual Report is available now! Read all about the activities and accomplishments of our seven volunteer committees during 2017.
Environmental Defenders and The Human Race
|The Environmental Defenders is joining The McHenry County Human Race! When you register to run, half of your registration is donated to us when you pick Environmental Defenders as your charity! And, if you make additional donations or create your very own fundraising page, 100% of those donations go to The Environmental Defenders! And, you can run on your own, join a team or create your own team. So, GET YOUR HERO ON and run for YOUR ENVIRONMENT! (Do you have friends or family who live far away? They can participate, too, as a virtual runner!)To register, please go to www.mchumanrace.org.
Theme: GET YOUR HERO ON –
Cash Prizes – Volunteer Center provides a total of $2,400 in cash prizes to participating charities Invite others to the race – help win charities these prizes:
The race will be held at:
McHenry County College
The Environmental Defenders’ office will be closed on Christmas Day, December 27 and 29. The Green Spot Reused Book will follow its regular operating hours.