2018-04-12 / Editorial

Town, RITBA should talk joint solar plan

While some may be rejoicing at the word the Rhode Island Turnpike and Bridge Authority has abandoned its solar array plan at Taylor Point, this is not the time to dance upon graves.

The 267-kilowatt farm would have supplied 50 percent of the power for the Newport Pell Bridge and the agency’s East Shore Road headquarters.

While we may not have thought the proposal was ideal, as staunch advocates of solar power, we hope this isn’t the last time RITBA decides to eye such a project. Our concerns were with the site and the fact there was no direct benefit to the town in regards to the power that would have been generated.

It also seems likely there was more to the decision than just maintaining a good relationship with the town, but be that as it may, an opportunity now presents itself.

We hope both sides can take a step back and see this as a chance to reboot the relationship in regard to this subject. Revisiting the Dutra farm site that residents proposed during the ongoing talks seemed to have possibilities and, perhaps, would appeal to a different corporate partner.

A partnership between the two sides would demonstrate there is no ill will on either side and cement the relationship both sides say is so important to them. It also would allow for a solar array whose power generation benefited the town, which has made several recent proposals to boost its own solar footprint across the island.

Such a joint venture would provide the authority an opportunity to get its electricity for its headquarters and the Pell Bridge while being seen in a more positive light by the town’s residents. The same residents who objected to the Taylor Point plan have embraced the Dutra farm location.

Hopefully both sides can get past any previous hurt feelings and work together to raise the Dutra farm proposal from the dead.

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