We join the writer of a letter recently published in the Merced Sun-Star in welcoming a genuine "Fortune 250" energy corporation, NGR, to Merced County. We couldn't imagine anything as exciting short of news that Occidental Petroleum was opening a local office to manage it fracking wells. We are particularly joyful to see that this authentic renewable energy corporation calls its plantations of solar panels "gardens" instead of the clunckier "parks." used by a German-based transnational solar corporation to describe its plan to put 1,400 acres under glass on the west side.
In light of the national addiction to energy, however, we suggest these solar installations should be called "patches."
But, we would be remiss in our public duty, not to mention what state and federal resource agencies are failing to mention (due to political pressure and its doleful affects on bureaucratic careers): (1) that fields of glass look like water to migrating birds; (2) that these birds are protected by international treaty since the early 20th century; and (3), solar panels -- if fairly financed (a big if) -- belong on the roofs of peoples' homes, offices, warehouses and barns, not on farmland (any more than half-built, bankrupt subdivisions) in one of the nation's premier agribusiness counties. Merced County contains major corporations in poultry, dairy, dairy products, wine and nuts. The letter writer's memory is defective when it comes to the visitations of corporations to the "dance" of Merced's pillaged economy. Spurred on by the "boondoggle land deal" of UC Merced, major regional and national finance, insurance and real estate corporations found Merced to be a real coquette. They came, she gave them the keys, they set up shop, created their bubble, took their profits, and left behind devastated neighborhoods, profitable only to vulture speculators and our local property managers collecting their fees.
One effect the arrival of mega-corporate solar to Merced may have is that some of the subdivisions sketched out and abandoned on the outskirts of our cities by Ranchwood Homes and other corporations could be replaced by publicly subsidized attractive nuisances for migratory waterfowl. -- blj
Efrain Rojas: At least one major industry recognizes value of Merced County
Like a wallflower at a school dance, Merced County is used to being overlooked by marquee companies. With NRG, a Fortune 250 company, locating a home solar office here, Merced County is no longer an plain Jane to corporate America. The economics of solar are undeniable and there is no better place for solar than Merced County.
EFRAIN ROJAS, LOS BANOS