Our View: A step toward renewable energy




Two seemingly unrelated events in the Golden Triangle this week should call attention to a topic that is far more controversial than it should be.


Firsts, heavy rains flooded parts of Columbus for the second time in a year, including the Terry Brown Amphitheater, which at the time of its conception was considered flood-safe for all but what is termed a 100-year flood.


With the floodwaters still washing over the amphitheater stage on Wednesday, a group of landowners in the west part of Lowndes County met at the Golden Triangle Regional Airport where a contract agreement between solar energy company Origis Energy and the Tennessee Valley Authority for a 200 megawatt solar energy facility to be build west of the airport was announced.



What we see in the first incident is a reminder of how climate change may affect our community. What we see with the latter is how society can respond.


While it is impossible to make a direct correlation between climate change and the arrival of two 100-year floods with a 12-month period, the frequency is consistent with what climate scientists have been saying for some time: Without a major effort to reduce carbon emissions, weather events will be both more severe and more frequent. Unfortunately, efforts to combat climate change has become a politically-charged issue, especially in the United States.


Yet even those who persistently deny climate change, man's responsibility for it and man's ability to alter it, there is little down-side for each of us to do what we can to move to more renewable energy sources.


TVA's agreement with Origis will allow the company to build a 200-megawatt solar power facility, producing enough energy to power to 42,920 homes. The project represents a significant milestone for TVA. With the construction of this new project, businesses and individuals wanting to (or needing to) use renewable energy generation will now be able to do so.


In recent years, industry has limited its carbon emissions partially through the use of renewable energy. Now, TVA's residential customers will have the same opportunity.


Although the site will not begin producing solar power until October 2022, Wednesday's announcement represents a major opportunity for citizens to do something meaningful in an effort to combat a problem that has been too long ignored.




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