Five reasons board should vote against sPower proposal

I listened with great concern at the Planning Commissioner’s meeting recently where commissioners reviewed sPower’s applications to build a massive solar industrial complex in populated western Spotsylvania.

I was impressed by the knowledge, judgment, instincts and courage of the commissioners as they “tightened the screws” on many of the countless “conditions” in play, and I was pleased that they reached consensus in four key areas: No work on Sundays, no burning, capping the existing sPower’s wells and eliminating the use of groundwater in total.

That said, it is not enough. My recommendation is to vote no on this irresponsible project. Here are five reasons why:

1. Spotsylvania does not have a solar energy policy providing “teeth” and specific enforcement guidance regarding size, scope, zoning, setbacks, traffic, environmental protections (land, water, air), law enforcement, fire prevention, and public safety.

2. Even without a solar policy, the applications still fail to satisfy the vague intentions of the county’s comprehensive plan, which puts citizens, wildlife and the environment at risk and peril for generations to come.

3. The applications’ technical analysis and expert testimony is full of holes—and so is the county’s—when compared to scientific evidence and facts researched by citizens.

4. The applications’ financials and cost analysis are at best inadequate and at worst flat wrong, shifting the financial burden and risk to the county and its citizens, again for generations.

5. It’s inconceivable that Spotsylvania would wittingly locate a 6,350-acre industrial complex in an area literally adjoining communities and homes. Simply irresponsible.

Richard Schwartzman


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