One of the many great things about living in Virginia to me has always been the right to do what I want with my own property. Although I am not what you would call an activist environmentalist of the so-called Green Deal type by any stretch, I appreciate the progress we are making as a society with things like solar energy and electric cars, and I appreciate those who choose to utilize both. (I even have an electric golf cart, yet I admittedly didn’t buy it to save the planet; I bought it because I think it is cool on the beach).
While environmentalism-as-religion is not for me, I am all for my neighbors utilizing their own property to produce renewable energy and to make our environment better if that is what they choose to do. Especially if they can make some money at it.
It is supposed to be a sacrosanct, core freedom that the government leave you alone to do as you please with your own property. Bizarrely, that freedom seems under attack in my Virginia right now. In developing Spotsylvania County, a number of companies have contracted with a clean energy outfit to produce renewable energy, using U.S. manufactured solar panels, on a swath of private land. Some anti-renewable energy national groups have made this project into a proxy fight on the aforementioned Green New Deal, even though this project has nothing to do with the agenda of that green liberal blueprint for government propping up of renewables. The Virginia deal is a private land deal between consenting companies to produce renewable energy with no government money. I’m all for that concept. Have at it.
A local paper, the Free Lance-Star in Fredericksburg posted an Op Ed by Charlie Payne, a counsel to the company sPower where he described the state of play. Payne wrote the “County’s Board of Supervisors will soon decide on sPower’s proposed Solar Energy Center. This project is consistent with both Virginia’s 2018 energy policy and the county’s comprehensive plan, both of which encourage the development of renewable solar resources. Last year, Microsoft, in connection with its data center in Mecklenburg, announced its intention to acquire 315 megawatts of power from the solar project, which represents the largest corporate acquisition of renewable power in the entire U.S.” Payne pointed out that “67 percent of voters supporting the project” and “initial construction will generate $110 million in economic output and another $164 million over the life of the project.” This project has local support and will help the local economy. Again, I’m all for that concept. Why wouldn’t I be?
A local government stopping this private plan is the essence of big government intervention and interfering with how people use their own stuff. A local activist recently wrote at Fox News, “The state of Virginia is pushing to enact its own Green New Deal which, if it goes forward, would not only be the largest solar energy project on the east coast, but one of the largest in the world. If the energy company sPower has its way it will take over 6,350 acres in Spotsylvania County for a massive 500-Megawatt solar project which will use 1.8 million solar panels on 3,500 of the acres.”
Rather than “Virginia’s Green New Deal,” this particular project heralds the principle of private property rights. If conservatives can be fooled into denigrating a core conservative value – the private ownership of property and the right to do as you please with it, then conservatism has fallen far and hard.
So rest assured, as far as I can tell at least, this plan does not resemble the dopey Green New Deal in any way. The idea behind the Green New Deal is to use government money and power to force renewable fuels and much more on the American people. This Virginia venture is a private company contracting with other private companies with private money to MAKE MORE private money on private property. Lights on, baby.