by Donna Martinez
Former Senior Writer and Editor, John Locke Foundation
You’ve heard of GenX, but did you know this? Carolina Journal’s Dan Way reports:
The state Utility Commission will weigh whether the GenX compound that has polluted the Cape Fear River Basin could contaminate the Wilkinson Solar Plant in the Terra Ceia community of Beaufort County.
Opponents of the 74-megawatt, industrial-scale solar generating plant have spent the past year raising concerns during N.C. Utility Commission hearings. It may be the first time GenX has been introduced into a solar regulatory proceeding in North Carolina.
Lawmakers and the governor are discussing the best ways to study and clean up GenX releases from Chemours’ Fayetteville manufacturing plant, which contaminated the Wilmington-area water supply. House and Senate Republicans introduced legislation May 17 authorizing Gov. Roy Cooper to close the plant if it doesn’t stop releasing the chemical.
But the possible presence of GenX and similar compounds in solar panels has added a new wrinkle to the debate. Environmental and conservation groups have pushed lawmakers to cut and clean up GenX emissions from chemical plants. Yet materials like GenX are used to increase strength and light transmission in film sheets that coat solar panels, and environmentalists want more solar facilities.