Brattleboro Agricultural Advisory Committee To Discuss Prime Agricultural Soils at Solar Farm Location

The Agricultural Advisory Committee will be meeting at 7:00 PM on Monday, July 1, 2013 in the Hanna Cosman Room of the Muncipal Center.

The agenda is attached.

Julia Perks
Planning Services Clerk
230 Main Street, Ste 202
Brattleboro, VT 05301

Town of Brattleboro
Agricultural Advisory Committee
Monday, July 1, 2013
7:00 PM
 Hanna Cosman Room, Brattleboro Municipal Center

Call to Order


New Business
2. Discussion: WE90 Technology Drive LLC

Discussion: WE90 Technology Drive LLC
The Town recently received notification of intent to file a Petition for a Certificate of Public Good with the Vermont Public Service Board to build and operate a 2.0 MW solar electric generation facility at 90 Technology Drive. This site has prime agricultural soils.
Next Meeting


Comments | 8

  • Who will benefit from this

    Who will benefit from this power source the most and would these designated agriculture lands actually ever be utilized for that sole purpose?, seems like that strip of land currently serves as a catch all for airborn road litter and is not scenically outstanding. I think it would make a bold statement as visitors enter Vermont putting the emphasis we stand behind alternative energy development and are proactive in doing so. Don’t you basically look at the back side of strip development on Putney road anyway as you drive by on 91 on that stretch?

    I would think of it as solar farming and must have less of an impact than bat/bird slice-a-matic wind turbine generators or attempting to use that land could possibly make sense or contribute a significant amount to the future biofuel market having to be planted each year so close to interstate (road salts). Solar panels would be planted once and generate energy throughout the year. But my fear is, 5 years down the road alternatives will be discovered in the emerging technological field seeking out new sustainable energy sources and will surpass the necessity requiring such vast tracks of land to produce energy (hopefully) and in this case just render certain solar panels models obsolete.

    However down the road, the situation could be more like hanging onto your older vehicle for a while longer that still drives you from point a to point b, but is not always most efficient or environmentally sound choice either with inferior gas mileage and foul emissions making you feel responsible and conscientious enough to upgrade and make the transition to one with less of an negative impact. These solar panels may well prove their worth and investment as we need the energy now and could always be replaced in time.

  • Prime Agricultural Soils?

    The plot is currently producing a world class crop of weeds. It’s agriculturally untenable. It would be difficult to get farm machinery into there. If it was useful, someone would already be using it. Cattle might be able to graze, but no one’s gonna wanna truck them every few days. (Besides, who’s got cattle anymore?). Goats might work, but it would take a 12 foot fence to contain them.
    Who will benefit from this power source the most? I haven’t verified this, but I believe the Town is involved. According to cgrotke, this is the array that the Town will buy power from as part of a recent agreement to purchase solar power and save money.
    BTW, does anybody know how many acres are involved?

    • Yup, good soil.

      “It’s agriculturally untenable.”

      That’s not actually true. It’s classified as prime agricultural land, and that’s why the Ag Committee is taking a look at it.

      This is the project that will supply solar power to Brattleboro, and the Selectboard plans to take comments at their next meeting, too.

      Seems to me that with a minor bit of planning this could work out. If it is designed to be removable (i.e., not paved and cemented into place), and a visual barrier could be grown along 91 to hide it a bit, it could work out for all.

      It will be interesting to hear what the Ag committee’s opinion is.

      Not sure about acres involved, but a 4.5 foot fence in good repair is the requirement for grazing animals. : )

      • soils

        It would be nice to put in a stipulation this plot could return to Ag if the project did not pan out, but would there be any kind of pollution to existing soils from installation? Thanks for the fence spec. info we can count on for accuracy coming from an official town fence watcher. How about alternating crops, a row of veggies, then a row of solar panels?

      • Ag soils?

        I do remember someone striping the field of it’s top soil many years ago. Still,it has a value due to it being level and well drained. I dont think I would eat any thing grown next to an interstate though. Heavy metals.toxins and microscopic rubber compounds galore! From all the diesel and car traffic. Im fine with a solar farm,it is total silence compared to wind turbines….

      • agriculturally untenable.

        I stick with my opinion because it’s not accessible to farm implements of the mechanized kind. A mower? fine!, A cultivator? I doubt it. As I said, if it was any good, it’d be growing something other than weeds.It isn’t even growing hay. If it was ever prime agricultural land, it isn’t anymore.
        I think it’s perfect for a solar farm and I hope it happens.
        Well how about the ugly transmission line?
        Well, there’s good news here. The corner of the field is about 200 meters (2 football fields) from an EXISTING 46 KV transmission line and less than a mile from the substation, with existing poles on the way.
        How about the view from I-91?
        If you like looking at the back of a warehouse, I guess you lose. Otherwise, it’s an improvement.

        • Ag Committee Decision

          You should go to the meeting and explain your theory to the farmers on the committee… : )

          There is also public comment scheduled for this Tuesday’s Selectboard meeting. They’d like input and direction, since this is the first of what might be many of these projects around town.

          • first of many projects

            ” this is the first of what might be many of these projects around town.”

            Locally produced, carbon-free, distributed power is the way of the future.
            Among other things, Yankee will close because Entergy is simply losing too much money.

            Distributed alternative power will bring jobs.

            For an optimistic view of the future, see:
            “Victory at Hand for the Climate Movement”

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