Solar and wind companies are coming to rural Texas. These residents are trying to keep them out.

In Franklin County, a group of locals are concerned about potential environmental harm from renewable energy facilities and support a bill that would impose more regulations on solar and wind. The industry says it’s being unfairly singled out.

By Emily Foxhall, Texas TribuneApril 25, 2023 10:34 am, ,

From the Texas Tribune:

Evan L'Roy / The Texas Tribune

A community meeting attendee reacts to “before” and “after” photos of land purchased for solar projects.

Evan L'Roy / The Texas Tribune

Transmission lines run to the Thorn Tree switching station over farm and ranch land in Mount Vernon. In this pastoral county of about 11,000 residents, people have become alarmed by the number of solar companies interested in their abundant open land — and, more importantly, their access to crucial electricity transmission lines.

Evan L'Roy / The Texas Tribune

A homemade info sheet with a map locating the various solar projects near Franklin County at a Mount Vernon community meeting.

A statewide fight

Annie Mulligan for The Texas Tribune

Cricia Ryan sees wind and solar development as a threat to the agricultural way of life that her family depends on to make a living. Ryan’s dad is a crop duster; her mom helps run the business.

Evan L'Roy / The Texas Tribune

Gary Boren points to an aerial photo of a battery energy storage system as he and his wife express their concerns regarding solar project expansions in their county. These types of systems enable energy from renewables to be stored and later released.

“What can we do?”

Evan L'Roy / The Texas Tribune

Rows of pipes where solar panels will be installed at the Stampede Solar Project by Enel Green Power near Mount Vernon.