Solar that may not be so green

A recent article in the Seattle PI states that a proposed solar power plant near Cle Elum in eastern Washington is suffering some significant setbacks.

There is anger from the local community that the plant, the construction of which will require countless acres of trees to be logged, hurts the environment more than it benefits it. The power plant claims it chose its location because of the numerous sunny days in the area. That, according the article, is a bit odd. Nearby Cle Elum receives slightly less sunny days than the national average, and there are far more sunny locations further east.

That isn't the only shady thing about the proposed power plant, though. There is a planned housing development in that same area, and the company responsible for that development has close ties with the solar company. Despite denials from both companies that there is a connection, they share a similar board of directors, mailing addresses, and obvious benefits from the proposal.

Developing and expanding solar technology is vital for reducing not only our carbon footprints, but our dependence on fossil fuel. That said, it shouldn't be used as a veil for shady business schemes, and it shouldn't be used as an excuse to cut down trees and build new housing developments. This gives solar development a bad name, and sets its progress back. Furthermore, at considering our current level of solar technology, every plant should be built where it can maximize sun usage best.

What do you think? Do you think it's a shady business deal? Do you think it is good people are finding a way to profit off of solar technology? Is it worth it to cut down all those trees and build commercial developments just to build a solar plant? Share your thoughts below.

UPDATE (2/23): It looks like the construction may be moving forward after the recent delivery of a supplemental Conditional Use Permit application to Kittitas County, Washington. The application is now pending approval from the county.

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