By Catherine Morehouse, Associate Editor, Utility Dive
Michigan Democratic Gov. Gretchen Whitmer on Monday announced an executive decision that frees up 3.3 million acres of farmland protected under the state’s Farmland and Open Space Program to solar development. Previously, the land was allowed to host wind turbines and oil and gas exploration, but solar was historically restricted because it was considered to have a larger footprint, Tom Zimnicki, agriculture policy director at the Michigan Environmental Council, told Utility Dive. But innovations in solar siting are making those installations more compatible with agricultural land, and under Whitmer’s decision, solar projects on protected farmland will be required to meet Michigan’s pollinator-friendly guidelines. Continue reading here.
Additional Recommended Reading
- Michigan Pollinator Habitat Planning Scorecard for Solar Sites (PDF)
- In bid to help bees, Xcel to require vegetation disclosure in solar RFPs
- Pollinator habitats: The bees’ knees of rural solar development
About Catherine Morehouse
Before joining Industry Dive, Catherine was at Creighton University in Omaha, Nebraska where she worked as News Editor and then Editor-in-Chief of The Creightonian. She has a B.A. in Journalism and Political Science from Creighton.
About Rob Davis
Rob Davis directs the Center for Pollinators in Energy and also leads the Media & Innovation Lab at Fresh Energy in Minnesota. Top photo by Davis.
Kearney’s Solar Farm is a nationally-recognized pollinator-friendly site, benefiting local food producers.
- Entire 53-acre site in northeast Kearney seeded with plants for pollinators, Kearney Hub
- Celebrating solar power while protecting pollinators and birds, Nebraska TV
- Nebraska’s Largest Solar Array is Surrounded by Bird-Friendly Plants, Audubon
- Introducing the Center for Pollinators in Energy, Fresh Energy