Around New England

Old Environmentalism vs. New Environmentalism:  Vernal Pool Defeating Solar Panels

August 8, 2019

The discovery of a vernal pool on a piece of land where school officials want to build solar panels is stymieing the project.

Vernal pools, also known as spring pools, are shallow depressions in the ground that typically have water for only a portion of the year. They can be a breeding ground for salamanders and frogs, and if the breeding ground is deemed significant than it can prevent construction.

School officials haven’t given up hope for the solar project, which is planned for a 14-acre parcel next to Camden Hills Regional High School in Camden, Maine, according to the Bangor Daily News. But they aren’t sure how to proceed. The vernal pool may take up too much of the 14 acres to make the project worthwhile, they say.

If the proposed 1-megawatt-to-1.5-megawatt solar project goes forward, government subsidies connected to solar panels would make it possible for the school district to purchase electricity for 3 cents per kilowatt hour less than what it is paying now. School officials also see it as educational for their students, on the assumption that so-called renewable sources of energy like solar power will become more important in the future, according to the Bangor Daily News.

Camden is a town of about 4,800 in Knox County, on the midcoast of Maine. It’s about 70 miles northeast of Portland.

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