As most of you are probably aware, Alameda County has been working to create a county wide solar policy for rural areas of the county.  This policy has far reaching implications for the County’s agricultural and open space lands and my organization has been following this process closely in the hopes that any policy adopted by the county represents a well thought out plan that has considered the long term impacts and precedents it may create.  You can view our previous blog post on this topic HERE.

In order to ensure our voice is heard in the planning process, EBCNPS has joined forces with the Friends of Livermore, the Friends of the Vineyards, the Citizens for Open Space in Alameda County aka the Measure D Committee, The Alameda Creek Alliance, and the Ohlone Audubon Society to organize the SOLAR (Save our Open-space Lands and Agricultural Resources) Coalition whose uniting list of principles can be found here: SOLAR Statement of Principles.

The strength of this coalition has allready been proven.  At the October 3rd Alameda County Board of Supervisors’ Transportation/Planning Committee meeting, the supervisors (Haggerty and Miley) decided to postpone recommendation of the planning department’s solar policy until the impacts of this policy are more closely considered.  In response to our coalition’s statement of principles (which I read during my public comment time) Haggerty told the planners that these concerns were the reasons he did not feel comfortable bringing the policy before the full board yet.  Later in the meeting Haggerty noted, “We [the County] need to do this right and discuss this with every stake holder before we continue to plow forward.”

The Planning Department’s response was that they will keep working on this (the policy) and bring it back to the Transportation/Planning Committee next month in “much greater detail.”

EBCNPS views this development as a great step toward a more complete and thorough plan for solar facility review, and I believe that our coalition played a large part in making our voices heard during this part of the process.  We will continue to keep you updated with any new information as it becomes available.