Ted Benn Quoted in Law360 on Clean Energy Land-Use Fights

“States’ Green Goals May Fuel Clean Energy Land-Use Fights”

Local restrictions on large-scale projects are already a primary obstacle to getting more solar panel arrays, wind turbines and transmission lines in the ground, yet a push by states to adopt increasingly aggressive clean energy requirements means land-use issues will only grow thornier.

Experts say land-use obstacles will necessitate states import some power to meet their green requirements. Pairing renewable and energy storage could also be key to limiting overall infrastructure footprints. And going offshore is an option for densely populated coastal states like New York and Massachusetts, which have embraced offshore wind as a way to add large amounts of renewables without stirring up major local land-use fights — though Vineyard Wind’s recent setback shows that offshore wind is far from immune to local opposition.

“As you start to move these things toward population centers, you just have more people to object to unsightliness of [projects] and you have greater land-use controls,” said Thompson & Knight LLP partner Ted Benn, who works on nationwide development of wind and solar projects.