Bacon Bits: People’s Republic Update

How’s this for irony?

The only thing saving the City Council of the People’s Republic of Charlottesville from increasing dysfunction in the future is dysfunctional governance today. City Council wants to draft an ordinance that would outline collective bargaining rights for employees, enabling them to negotiate for higher salaries and changes to working conditions — creating new spending pressures, new labor tensions and new areas for conflict. In August Council directed the city manager to research how much money would be needed to support the human resources department in such an endeavor. Trouble is, Charlottesville can’t hire a city manager. The announced interim city manager just resigned. And it turns out that City Hall has no human resources director either. So reports the Daily Progress.

The cultural cleansing shall continue. City Council has approved the sale of Charlottesville’s Robert E. Lee statue to a group that will melt it down and turn it into new artwork. After the city took down the statue of the Confederate hero over the summer, it received six proposals from arts groups, historical societies and individuals” with offers up to $50,000 for the bronze sculpture, reports The Washington Post. City Council chose instead to give the statue to the Jefferson School African American Heritage Center to advance a project to “allow Charlottesville to contend with its racist past.” I’ve only got one question: If the Jefferson School African American Heritage Center is so distraught about the racism embodied in statues and memorials, why is it still named the Jefferson School?

The no-solar solar capital. No part of Virginia outdoes the People’s Republic when it comes to enthusiasm for renewable energy, at least in the abstract. Charlottesville and Albemarle County are home to numerous renewable energy companies — Sun Tribe, Hexagon Energy and Apex Energy among them, not to mention the Clean Virginia pro-renewables advocacy group. Charlottesville/ Albemarle is an ideal location for solar projects in at least one way: proximity to high-capacity electric transmission lines. But the Department of Environmental Quality’s “environmental data mapper” shows only two utility-scale solar projects in Albemarle — and neither are producing.

Location of solar projects in and near Albemarle County. (Click on map to see county lines.)

Back when I contacted her in July, Albemarle spokesperson Emily Kilroy confirmed that the county was aware of only three utility-scale solar projects: two approved and one under review. The 136-acre Midway Solar project would have 8-megawatts solar capacity plus 4-megawatt battery storage. The DEQ project database also mentions a 150-acre, 12.5-megawatt Rivanna Solar project.

Oh, did I mention that, according to the DEQ database, neither project is yet  producing electricity?

For purposes of comparison, the Virginia Clean Economy Act (VCEA) calls for 16,100 megawatts of solar or onshore wind in Dominion Energy’s service territory by 2035.

The City of Charlottesville has no space for utility-scale solar, but Albemarle County does. What’s the problem in the People’s Republic? One possibility is that solar, which requires southern-facing sites in Albemarle’s hilly terrain, competes with the winery industry, which also places a premium on southern-facing hillsides. Another possibility: zoning and NIMBYs. Albemarle County’s comprehensive plan is geared to protecting agricultural uses, and landowners don’t like anything that spoils their views. In other words: Solar power for thee, but not for me.

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8 responses to “Bacon Bits: People’s Republic Update”

  1. LarrytheG Avatar

    speaking of solar…

    ” Cities are turning spare space at their airports into solar farms.”

    As the country considers its carbon footprint and alternative energy sources, the nation’s airports are turning their unused land, roofs and parking garages into solar farms. Twenty percent of public airports have adopted solar power in the last decade, according to a study last year at the University of Colorado.

    Community solar programs, which allow some utility customers to buy solar power instead of using traditional fossil fuel, are in place at airports in Tallahassee; Tampa, Fla.; and Austin, Texas, among others.

    At Kennedy International Airport, a planned solar array is expected to be the largest in New York State when it is completed next year.

    Despite the interest, challenges still remain: Adoption is limited and varies by location, and officials can encounter environmental and bureaucratic hurdles.

    Experts say the decreasing price of solar modules and the Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act allocating $25 billion to airports may lead to more projects, Amy Zipkin reports for The New York Times..”

  2. Paul Sweet Avatar
    Paul Sweet

    Solar arrays at airports would have to be carefully sited so they couldn’t reflect the sun into a pilots eyes during takeoff and landing.

    1. LarrytheG Avatar

      I was thinking the same… but the idea that there are no places for solar because they mess up the view is bogus also. Many of the sites are surrounded by trees and vegetative/buffers – just like quarries and land-fills are… plenty of places were no one will see them from ground level at all.

  3. tmtfairfax Avatar

    Who gives a rat’s &^^ if Charlottesville melts down the statute?

    Solar farms are OK in someone else’s backyard. Still remember all the signs that opposed windmills while driving around the east side of Oahu.

    Airports would seem to be a good place for solar arrays. I cannot imagine they would interfere with radio navigation.

  4. dave schutz Avatar
    dave schutz

    As an Arlington resident, I resent and resist your giving the coveted ‘People’s Republic’ designation to Charlottesville! We have historical priority up here in Paradise on the Potomac!

  5. Nancy Naive Avatar
    Nancy Naive

    Those ninny woke professors and their commie city are gonna get their comeuppance…

    1. LarrytheG Avatar

      well, they’re liberal scum,right? what should they expect?

  6. Merchantseamen Avatar

    “If the Jefferson School African American Heritage Center is so
    distraught about the racism embodied in statues and memorials, why is it
    still named the Jefferson School?” Baahahahhahhaaa. Now that is funny.

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