Letter to the editor: County, world need more solar energy

Published 9:40 am Thursday, February 3, 2022

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This letter was also sent to Davie County Manager David Bone and to Davie County Commissioners.
To the editor:
I commend the endeavor of the commissioners to review and create regulations to regulate the use of solar energy so it is installed properly with quality of life issues in mind; however, I am alarmed at the attitude portrayed in the Davie County Enterprise that “the overall feel from the planning board is that they did not see a real need for any further solar development in the county.” Please read Larry Finks (Blackrock) letter to CEOs advising them of the need to be on board to work towards zero net emissions.
I hope when reviewing county ordinances for solar energy the board takes into account the need to install solar energy on top of existing structures. I’m told the construction on top of structures is an excellent use of land. Solar energy is needed not only for environmental reasons including the goal to achieve net zero emmissions, but also from the standpoint of economics, the cost of energy for Davie residents. Heating costs are skyrocketing this winter.
Davie County needs to be innovative re providing clean energy at lower costs. Look at the county facilities for example. What would be the cost benefit of installing solar energy on the government buildings, or in parking lots? What about advice/regulation on new construction to include solar energy for residential and commercial? What about encouraging Duke Energy to move towards clean affordable energy? Where is your future-sightedness for the need of clean renewable energy for generation to come in Davie County?
It’s been two years since I wrote that climate risk is investment risk. And in that short period, we have seen a tectonic shift of capital. Sustainable investments have now reached $4 trillion.Actions and ambitions towards decarbonization have increased. This is just the beginning – the tectonic shift towards sustainable investing is still accelerating. Whether it is capital being deployed into new ventures focused on energy innovation, or capital transferring from traditional indexes into more customized portfolios and products, we will see more money in motion.
Every company and every industry will be transformed by the transition to a net zero world. The question is, will you lead, or will you be led?
In a few short years, we have all watched innovators reimagine the auto industry. And today, every car manufacturer is racing toward an electric future. The auto industry, however, is merely on the leading edge – every sector will be transformed by new, sustainable technology.
Engineers and scientists are working around the clock on how to decarbonize cement, steel, and plastics; shipping, trucking, and aviation; agriculture, energy, and construction. I believe the decarbonizing of the global economy is going to create the greatest investment opportunity of our lifetime. It will also leave behind the companies that don’t adapt, regardless of what industry they are in. And just as some companies risk being left behind, so do cities and countries that don’t plan for the future. They risk losing jobs, even as other places gain them. The decarbonization of the economy will be accompanied by enormous job creation for those that engage in the necessary long-term planning.
The next 1,000 unicorns won’t be search engines or social media companies, they’ll be sustainable, scalable innovators – startups that help the world decarbonize and make the energy transition affordable for all consumers. We need to be honest about the fact that green products often come at a higher cost today. Bringing down this green premium will be essential for an orderly and just transition. With the unprecedented amount of capital looking for new ideas, incumbents need to be clear about their pathway succeeding in a net zero economy. And it’s not just startups that can and will disrupt industries. Bold incumbents can and must do it too. Indeed, many incumbents have an advantage in capital, market knowledge, and technical expertise on the global scale required for the disruption ahead.
Our question to these companies is: what are you doing to disrupt your business? How are you preparing for and participating in the net zero transition? As your industry gets transformed by the energy transition, will you go the way of the dodo, or will you be a phoenix?
Deborah Strube