Author: Robert Creenan
Recently, an announcement was made that land on the former Bethlehem Steel site in Lackawanna would be the home to a “Steel Sun” solar energy farm made up of 13,000 solar panels. The close proximity to the “Steel Winds” turbines will help Lackawanna in its attempts to reverse its long history of pollution with the steel mills.
Bill Nowak, a member of the Niagara chapter of the Sierra Club, has been championing the clean energy cause since the 90’s. “The more people’s livelihood is tied into clean energy, the more important it’ll be,” said Nowak, as the panels are expected to provide power to 10% of Lackawanna homes, as well as providing power to New York State’s power grid. Part of the attractiveness of locating the solar panels on brownfield land is that they sit on the surface, making for an easier environmental case for clean energy.
The Sierra club has been working towards getting their message out through articles published in The Buffalo News and the Bee newspapers, as well as working with the Clean Air Coalition of WNY to show environmentalist movies at the Brighton Place Library in Tonawanda*. “We picked our three movies based on how each film focuses in how climate change effects people and their jobs,” said Rebecca Newberry, the event organizer. The next film, Everything’s Cool, will be shown on Tuesday, August 19, 2014 at 6pm.
The Steel Sun solar farm will be managed by BQ Energy (a partner in Lackawanna’s Steel Winds) and helps to elevate the green movement that we are seeing along our waterfront, which includes SolarCity, the solar panel manufacturing plant that is to be built along the Buffalo River at RiverBend.
*The Brighton Place Library | 999 Brighton Road | Tonawanda, NY 14150
Clean Air Coalition – Facebook
Sierra Club Niagara Group – See website
Lead image: Example of a solar farm – BQ Energy