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Fossil fuels, Wind energy, Wind siting regulation

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Sturm College of Law


On December 12, 2015, 195 governments around the world agreed to the COP21 commitments to combat climate change. Pivotal to the success of these goals is a shift from fossil-fuel energy generation to renewable resources. Wind power is one of the largest renewable energy generation sources in the United States and has the greatest potential for future development. While wind energy generation has enjoyed some of the most impressive gains in development of new capacity, reaching future goals will face more challenges. In addition to resource potential, wind development is also confined to locations that meet the sweet spot of being located near transmission lines and consumer load. As the number of favorable locations diminishes, the regulatory regimes for wind become increasingly important. This article is the result of NSF research to carefully catalog and categorize wind siting regulation across the United States. It goes beyond previous efforts in this regard because it further examines the effectiveness of various regulatory regimes in the context of litigation that has resulted from one method in contrast to another. Based on this review, a statewide siting regime for wind appears to be the best solution for counteracting NIMBY reactions to wind development and avoiding a NOPE result that could seriously thwart the COP 21 goals.

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