Renewable Energy Legal Defense Initiative

Achieving lower carbon emissions in the United States will require developing wind, solar, and other renewable energy facilities, as well as associated storage, distribution, and transmission, at an unprecedented scale and pace.  Although many people are enthusiastic about renewable energy facilities’ economic and environmental benefits, local opposition often impedes such development. For this reason, Columbia Law School’s Sabin Center for Climate Change Law and the law firm of Arnold & Porter have launched the Renewable Energy Legal Defense Initiative (RELDI).  Its purpose is to provide pro bono legal representation to community groups and local residents who support renewable energy development in their communities, but are facing opposition.  Some people may not like the sight of wind turbines or solar arrays in their communities, or have other objections to renewable energy, but we will never adequately address the climate crisis if there are too many obstacles to bringing these facilities online.  RELDI aims to provide a voice to local organizations and individuals that want to participate in the scaling-up of renewable energy.

Please contact Hillary Aidun at Hwa2108@Columbia.edu if you are an attorney interested in working on a matter with RELDI, or if you are an individual aware of any controversies related to the siting of renewable energy projects (in any region) that might benefit from legal counsel.

Recent press coverage here discusses more about RELDI’s vision, as well as the first lawsuit that was filed as part of the initiative on behalf of the Friends of Flint Mine Solar.  


 

Community Resources and Legal Guides to Siting Renewable Energy Technology

The compilation of resources was initially prepared by Andrew Bin CLS '22.

Article 10: An Overview

1. Title: Article 10 Law 
Source: http://www3.dps.ny.gov/W/PSCWeb.nsf/W/PSCWeb.nsf/All/D12E078BF7A746FF85257A70004EF402?OpenDocument
Author: New York Department of Public Service (DPS), Board on Electric Generation Siting and the Environment
Publication Date: N/A
Description: State government website providing the text of Article 10 of the Public Service Law. 

2. Title: Understanding Article X of the Power NY Act of 2011
Source: https://cardi.cals.cornell.edu/sites/cardi.cals.cornell.edu/files/shared/documents/Community-Energy/Understanding-Article-X.pdf
Author: Adam Blair, Community and Regional Development Institute, Cornell University 
Publication Date: September 2011
Description: Article introducing the requirements and decision-making timeline for siting of major electric generating facilities under Article 10.  

3. Title: Article 10 and the Siting of Major Electric Generating Facilities in New York State Author: Paul Agresta; Government, Law, and Policy Journal, New York State Bar Association (NYSBA)
Publication Date: Summer 2013
Description: Article explaining Article 10’s historical background, application procedure, and decision process. The author is an Administrative Law Judge at the New York State Department of Public Service. As an advisor to the New York State Board on Electric Generation Siting and the Environment, he was the primary author of the regulations promulgated to implement the new Article 10 law.

Article 10: State Board on Electric Generation Siting and the Environment 

4. Title: Siting Renewable and Other Electric Generation Under Article 10 of the New York Public Service Law
Source: http://www.readlaniado.com/pdfs/SittingRenewable.pdf
Author: Sam Laniado; The New York Environmental Lawyer, NYSBA
Publication Date: Spring 2016
Description: Article exploring the New York State Board on Electric Generation Siting’s role in the Article 10 process and explaining important logistics for acquiring real property. 

5. Title: Siting Board Members
Source: http://www3.dps.ny.gov/W/PSCWeb.nsf/All/12B735036AC1324A85257E200054A993?OpenDocument
Author: New York Department of Public Service (DPS), Board on Electric Generation Siting and the Environment
Publication Date: N/A
Description: Website explaining the Siting Board’s 7-member composition and providing contact information for the Board’s five permanent members.

Article 10: Public Involvement Programs

6. Title: DPS Staff Guidance on Preparing a Public Involvement Plan
Source: https://www3.dps.ny.gov/W/PSCWeb.nsf/96f0fec0b45a3c6485257688006a701a/6fd11ce8db088a2785257e200054a99b/$FILE/PIP%20Guidance%20Document%202.8.13.pdf
Author: NY DPS
Publication Date: N/A
Description: Guidance document explaining the requirements for submitting a Public Involvement Program (PIP), providing recommendations on a PIP’s various logistics, and supplying an example of a PIP component for outreach to a host town. 

Article 10: Intervenor Funding

7. Title: The Fund for Municipal and Local Parties: A Guide to Intervenor Funding Pursuant to Article 10 of the Public Service Law
Source: https://www3.dps.ny.gov/W/PSCWeb.nsf/96f0fec0b45a3c6485257688006a701a/6fd11ce8db088a2785257e200054a99b/$FILE/Guide%20to%20Intervenor%20Funding%201-30-18.pdf 
Author: NY DPS
Publication Date: N/A
Description:Guidance document on acquiring intervenor funding as an Article 10 applicant, with appendices providing the relevant text from Article 10 and related regulations.


Article 10: Miscellaneous Resources

8. Title: Technical Assistance and Workshops
Source: https://www.nyserda.ny.gov/All-Programs/Programs/Clean-Energy-Siting/Technical-Assistance-and-workshops
Author: New York State Energy Research & Development Authority (NYSERDA)
Publication Date: N/A
Description: State government website offering free workshops on renewable technology siting for local governments (e.g., “Understanding Solar PV Permitting and Inspecting in New York State”).


Siting Solar in New York

Siting Solar in NY: Guides

1. Title: New York Solar Guidebook for Local Governments 
Source: https://www.nyserda.ny.gov/All-Programs/Programs/Clean-Energy-Siting/Solar-Guidebook
Author: NYSERDA
Publication Date: January 2019
Description: Comprehensive guidance document providing an overview of solar energy technology and installation for New York communities. The Guidebook’s chapters cover a variety of topics including the permitting process, property taxes, and decommissioning options.

2. Title: Resource List: 2018 Municipal Solar Tour Workshop – Navigating Large-Scale Solar Development in Your Community 
Source: http://hudsonvalleyregionalcouncil.org/wp-content/uploads/2018/11/11-SolarTourResourcesList.pdf
Author: Hudson Valley Regional Council, NYSERDA
Publication Date: 2018
Description: Resource list by the Hudson Valley Regional Council providing both region-specific resources and more general, large-scale solar resources on topics including siting, zoning, and financing. 

3. Title: Customer Guide to Solar in NY: NY-SUN Incentive Program
Source: https://www.nyserda.ny.gov/-/media/NYSun/files/customer-solar-guide.pdf
Author: NYSERDA

Publication Date: March 2015         
Description: White paper providing residents and small businesses with basic information on coordinating with contractors for small-scale solar. 

Siting Solar in NY: Model Laws 

4. Title: Model Small-Scale Solar Siting Ordinance
Source: http://columbiaclimatelaw.com/resources/model-laws-and-protocols/model-municipal-ordinances/model-small-scale-solar-siting-ordinance/  
Author: Danielle Sugarman, Sabin Center for Climate Change Law
Publication Date: 2012
Description: Document providing guidance on the structure and context for a small-scale solar siting law that includes provisions regarding permits, appeals, safety, and zoning. 

5. Title: Model Solar Energy Local Law 
Source: https://www.nyserda.ny.gov/-/media/NYSun/files/Model-Solar-Energy-Law-Guidance-Document.pdf
Author: NYSERDA
Publication Date: January 2019
Description: Excerpt from the New York Solar Guidebook for Local Governments addressing questions on solar panel safety and providing a model solar energy local law. 

Siting Solar in NY: Land Use

6. Title: State Authority to Preempt Local Laws Regulating Renewable Energy Projects
Source: http://columbiaclimatelaw.com/files/2018/05/070051815-Arnold.pdf
Author: Michael B. Gerrard, Edward McTiernan, New York Law Journal
Publication Date: May 2018
Description: Article discussing Article 10’s revision history, its preemption of “unreasonably restrictive” local laws, and case law concerning the Siting Board’s power to supersede local laws.

7. Title: Land Use Planning for Solar Energy: Resource Guide
Source: https://digitalcommons.pace.edu/cgi/viewcontent.cgi?article=1003&context=environmental
Author: Jessica Bacher, John Nolon, Tiffany Zezula; Land Use Law Center at Pace Law School

Publication Date: 2015
Description: Instructional guide by the Land Use Law Center at Pace Law School through its work under the NY-Sun PV Trainers Network. The guide helps NY localities determine local governments’ role in land use planning, draft official policy statements, enact training programs, and engage the entire community to ensure support. The guide presents local planning best practices that communities can incorporate into their own plans. 

8. Title: Using Special Use Permits and Site Plan Regulations to Allow Large-Scale Solar Installations While Protecting Farmland
Source: https://www.nyserda.ny.gov/-/media/NYSun/files/special-use-permits-site-plan-regulations.pdf
Author: NY-Sun, NYSERDA
Publication Date: January 2019
Description: Chapter excerpt from the New York Solar Guidebook providing step-by-step instructions for municipalities to use special use permits and site plan regulations to support solar energy development while ensuring that their valuable and productive farmland remains in operation.

9. Title: Landowner Considerations for Solar Land Leases
Source: https://www.nyserda.ny.gov/-/media/NYSun/files/landowner-considerations-for-solar-leases.pdf
Author: NY-Sun, NYSERDA
Publication Date: Summer 2016
Description: White paper by NYSERDA exploring concerns landowners may take into account in making a long-term land lease for siting solar arrays. 

10. Title:Getting More Granular: How Value of Location and Time May Change Compensation for Distributed Energy Resources 
Source:https://www.seia.org/sites/default/files/2018-01/SEIA-GridMod-Series-4_2018-Jan-Final_0.pdf

Author: Dave Gahl et al.; Solar Energy Industries Association

Publication Date: January 2018

Description:White paper exploring the importance of proper siting consideration of wind and solar energy technology and examining experiences in California and New York.

11. Title: Breaking Down the Barriers to Siting Renewable Energy in New York State 
Source: https://nylcvef.org/wp-content/uploads/2019/02/renewable-siting-whitepaper.pdf
Author: Cullen Howe, New York League of Conservation Voters Education Fund 
Publication Date: N/A
Description: Detailed report explaining the Article 10 process and exploring challenges to siting including the absence of standard comprehensive plan elements or zoning requirements, limited access to transmission grids, and the prioritization of farmlands and fisheries. 


 

 


 


Siting Wind in NY: Guides

1. Title: New York State Wind Energy Guide
Source: https://www.nyserda.ny.gov/All-Programs/Programs/Clean-Energy-Siting/Wind-Guidebook  
Author: NYSERDA
Publication Date: N/A
Description:Comprehensive guidance document for wind energy technology and installation in New York communities. The chapters cover a wide range of topics including site selection, wildlife safety, and construction impacts on local communities. 

2. Title: New York State’s Process for Considering Sites for Wind Farms
Source: https://www.nyserda.ny.gov/-/media/Files/EERP/Renewables/Wind-Siting-Fact-Sheet.pdf
Author: NY DPS
Publication Date: N/A
Description: Fact sheet explaining the Article 10 process for siting utility-scale wind energy technology.

Siting Wind in NY: Model Laws

3. Title: Model Wind Siting Ordinance
Source: http://columbiaclimatelaw.com/resources/model-laws-and-protocols/model-municipal-ordinances/model-wind-siting-ordinance/  
Author: Jason James, Danielle Sugarman, and Marne Sussman; Sabin Center for Climate Change Law
Publication Date: 2012
Description: Guidance document providing structure and context for a municipality wind siting law. The ordinance includes provisions concerning permits, approvals, operation, and oversight of wind energy conversion systems, and allows for flexibility in adoption within each municipality by including a number of optional add-ons. 

4. Title: State Authority to Preempt Local Laws Regulating Renewable Energy Projects Source: http://columbiaclimatelaw.com/files/2018/05/070051815-Arnold.pdf
Author: Michael B. Gerrard, Edward McTiernan
Publication Date: May 2018
Description: Article discussing Article 10’s revision history, its ability to preempt of “unreasonably restrictive” local laws, and case law concerning the Siting Board’s power to supersede local laws.

5. Title: Getting More Granular: How Value of Location and Time May Change Compensation for Distributed Energy Resources

Source: https://www.seia.org/sites/default/files/2018-01/SEIA-GridMod-Series-4_2018-Jan-Final_0.pdf
Author: Dave Gahl et al.; Solar Energy Industries Association

Publication Date: January 2018

Description: White paper exploring the importance of proper siting consideration of wind and solar energy technology and examining experiences in California and New York.

6. Title: Breaking Down the Barriers to Siting Renewable Energy in New York State
Source: https://nylcvef.org/wp-content/uploads/2019/02/renewable-siting-whitepaper.pdf
Author: Cullen Howe, New York League of Conservation Voters Education Fund
Publication Date: N/A
Description: Detailed report explaining the Article 10 process and exploring challenges to siting including the absence of standard comprehensive plan elements or zoning requirements, limited access to transmission grids, and the prioritization of farmlands and fisheries.

Siting Wind in NY: Noise

7. Title: Wind Turbine-Related Noise: Current Knowledge and Research Needs
Source: https://www.nyserda.ny.gov/-/media/Files/Publications/Research/Environmental/Wind-Turbine-Related-Noise.pdf
Author: Meghan Krug (intern), New York State Energy Research and Development Authority

Publication Date: June 2013
Description: Report prepared by an NYSERDA intern analyzing over 40 documents from studies on the effects of sound and noise on humans. While the research was limited in application to wind turbines, the report concludes that “there is insufficient evidence at this time to correlate wind turbine noises with any health symptoms other than sleep disturbance and annoyance” and more research is needed to determine effects of exposure to wind turbine noise.

8. Title: Wind Turbine-Related Noise in Western New York
Source: https://www.nyserda.ny.gov/-/media/Files/Publications/Research/Biomass-Solar-Wind/wind-turbine-related-noise-wny.pdf
Author: Electric Power Research Institute, Colden Corporation, Lally Acoustical Consulting, NYSERDA
Publication Date: Jan 2013  
Description: Study examining a 126 MW wind park in Wethersfield, NY  in order to better understand noise issues related to wind turbines in New York. The study’s key findings include the conclusion that it seems “an individual’s level of satisfaction with their living environment does not depend upon the noise levels sampled inside and outside their homes.”

Siting Wind in NY: Wildlife Impact

9. Title: Birds and Bats – Impacts and Regulation
Source: https://www.nyserda.ny.gov/All-Programs/Programs/Clean-Energy-Siting/Wind-Guidebook
Author: NYSERDA
Publication Date: N/A
Description: An excerpt from the New York State Wind Energy Guide providing statistics on causes of bird and bat fatalities in the U.S., as well as a brief overview of relevant federal and state regulations.


10. Title: New York State Wildlife Action Plan  
Source: http://www.dec.ny.gov/docs/wildlife_pdf/swapfinaldraft2015.pdf
Author: New York Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC)
Publication Date: September 2015
Description: Document assessing important habitats and population trends for New York’s flora and fauna, as well as threats to each.

11. Title: Biodiversity and Wind Siting in New York
Source: https://www.nature.org/en-us/about-us/where-we-work/united-states/new-york/stories-in-new-york/working-with-wind/
Author: The Nature Conservancy
Publication Date: N/A
Description: Geographic information system (GIS) tool by The Nature Conservancy in NY and affiliates to assess natural habitats and migratory pathways of birds and bats in New York that may be affected by green energy siting.
 


 

 

Offshore Wind

NYSERDA Resources

  1. Title: Offshore Wind in New York State
    Source: https://www.nyserda.ny.gov/All-Programs/Programs/Offshore-Wind/Offshore-Wind-in-New-York-State-Overview
    Author: NYSERDA
    Publication Date: N/A
    Description: State website for offshore wind development offering resources on a wide range of topics including the process for siting, economic benefits of offshore wind, impact on marine ecosystems, and requirements for prospective bidders. Several resources from this website are listed in this section. 
  2. Title: NYS Offshore Wind Master Plan  
    Source: https://www.nyserda.ny.gov/All-Programs/Programs/Offshore-Wind/Offshore-Wind-in-New-York-State-Overview/NYS-Offshore-Wind-Master-Plan
    Author: NYSERDA
    Publication Date: 2018
    Description: Comprehensive guide to New York’s plan for offshore wind. It describes the objectives and methodology of the State’s planning process, and identifies the 20 studies the State undertook to gather data on environmental, social, economic, regulatory, and infrastructure issues relevant to offshore wind energy development.
  3. Title: NYS Offshore Wind Master Plan  
    Source: https://www.nyserda.ny.gov/All-Programs/Programs/Offshore-Wind/Offshore-Wind-in-New-York-State-Overview/NYS-Offshore-Wind-Master-Plan
    Author: NYSERDA
    Publication Date: 2018
    Description: Comprehensive guide to New York’s plan for offshore wind. It describes the objectives and methodology of the State’s planning process, and identifies the 20 studies the State undertook to gather data on environmental, social, economic, regulatory, and infrastructure issues relevant to offshore wind energy development.
  4. Title: Area for Consideration and Indicative Wind Energy Areas  
    Source: https://www.nyserda.ny.gov/-/media/Files/Publications/Research/Biomass-Solar-Wind/Master-Plan/17-25u-LSR-OSW-siting.pdf  
    Author: NYSERDA
    Publication Date: 2017
    Description: Series of maps identifying potential areas in the Atlantic Ocean that could be used for future offshore wind development.
  5. Title: New York State – Area for Consideration for the Potential Locating of Offshore Wind Energy Areas  
    Source: https://www.nyserda.ny.gov/-/media/Files/Publications/Research/Biomass-Solar-Wind/Master-Plan/17-25u-LSR-OSW-siting.pdf  
    Author: NYSERDA
    Publication Date: 2017
    Description: State study identifying an area in the Atlantic Ocean south of Long Island that, based on the State’s data, is the most desirable location for future offshore wind development.

News Articles on Obstacles to Offshore Wind Siting 

  1. Title: “Perfect port an elusive goal for East Coast offshore wind” ;                         Source: https://commonwealthmagazine.org/energy/perfect-port-an-elusive-goal-for-east-coast-offshore-wind/
    Author: Andy Metzger 
    Publication Date: June2019
    Description: Article discussing the importance of competent seaports in the Northeast for putting wind turbine parts onto barges and other vessels that will ferry them to construction sites offshore. 
  2. Title: “Jones Act? Not a Problem for US Offshore Wind Market, Avangrid Says”Source: https://www.greentechmedia.com/articles/read/avangrid-jones-act-workarounds-hold-promise-for-other-offshore-markets#gs.iapieg;                         Author: Karl-Eric Stromsta, Green Tech Media                                              Publication Date: June2019                                                                           Description: Article discussing the obstacles to offshore wind siting presented by the Jones Act, which requires that any components moved between American ports be transported using U.S.-flagged vessels, and briefly explaining industry consideration in working in compliance with the Act. 
  3. Title: “Offshore Wind Farms: Allaying Concerns About Hurricanes and About Fishing” Source: https://www.wunderground.com/cat6/Offshore-Wind-Farms-Allaying-Concerns-About-Hurricanes-and-About-Fishing                                                     Author: Jeff Masters, Weather Underground                                                    Publication Date: January 2019                                                                      Description: Article discussing offshore wind farms’ relatively small impact on commercial fishing and detailing the vulnerability of wind turbines to hurricane eyewall winds. America’s only offshore wind farm, Block Island Wind Farm, survived Category 1 winds (65-70 mph), while the largest wind farm in the Caribbean did not sustain any significant damage from winds of at least Category 1 strength and up to 110 mph. The author proposes higher engineering standards for turbines, as even New England waters have been subject to mid-strength hurricanes with winds near design limit. 

General Information on New York’s Clean Energy Sector

Clean Energy in NY: Data & Trends

  1. Title: 2018 New York Clean Energy Industry Report 
    Source: https://www.nyserda.ny.gov/-/media/Files/Publications/Clean-energy-industry/2018-ny-clean-energy-industry-report.pdf
    Author: NYSERDA 
    Publication Date: 2018 
    Description: Detailed report analyzing market trends and employment statistics in New York’s clean energy industry for data on jobs, employer needs, and existing assets to inform policies that help New York meet its climate goals and create jobs and economic opportunity. 
  2. Title: 2018 New York Clean Energy Industry Fact Sheet  
    Source: https://www.nyserda.ny.gov/-/media/Files/Publications/Clean-energy-industry/2018-ny-clean-energy-industry-fact-sheet.pdf
    Author: NYSERDA 
    Publication Date: 2018 
    Description:Fact sheet summarizing the findings of the 2018 New York Clean Energy Industry Report. The analysis shows positive trends in the state’s clean energy economy. 
  3. Title: Mapping Clean Energy: New York 

    Source:https://nyforcleanpower.org/energy-maps/
    Author: New Yorkers for Clean Power, FracTracker Alliance, Environmental Entrepreneurs (E2), and the Alliance for Clean Energy New York                    Publication Date: N/A                                                                                   Description: Interactive map hosted by New Yorkers for Clean Power showing the presence of green energy businesses and sites in New York. 

  4. Title: Clean Energy Standard White Paper – Cost Study  Source:https://www.nyserda.ny.gov/-/media/Files/Programs/Clean-Energy-Standard/Clean-Energy-Standard-White-Paper-Cost-Study-Report.pdf                Author: NY DPS; NYSERDA                                                                            Publication Date: April 2016                                                                           Description: Government-issued study estimating that New York “can meet its clean energy targets with less than a 1% on impact on electricity bills (or less than $1 a per month for the typical residential customer) in the near terms and… net positive benefit of $1.8 billion by 2023.”

Solar Energy Sector in NY

  1. Title: NY-SUN (Solar Initiative): Data & Trends
    Source: https://www.nyserda.ny.gov/All-Programs/Programs/NY-Sun/Data-and-Trends
    Author: OpenNY, NYSERDA
    Publication Date: N/A
    Description: Interactive map providing information on number of solar projects, expected production, total capacity, and annual trends in the counties of New York. The graphs are generated by an OpenNY dataset maintained since 2000.
  2. Title: Solar Jobs Census 2018
    Source:https://www.solarstates.org/#states/solar-jobs/2018
    Author: The Solar Foundation 
    Publication Date: March 2019
    Description: Interactive map showing the number of solar jobs in every state, metropolitan area, county, and congressional district. The website also contains detailed facts sheetson all fifty states. The maps and infographics incorporate four years of data from 2015-2018 to track year-to-year trends in local solar growth.  

Wind Energy Sector in NY 

Title: Assessment of the Economic Potential of Distributed Wind in Colorado, Minnesota, and New York
Source: https://www.nrel.gov/docs/fy18osti/70547.pdf
Author: Kevin McCabe et al., National Renewable Energy Laboratory 
Publication Date: February 2018 
Description: Report analyzing the geo-spatial trends in economic potential for distributed wind energy systems by county for three states, including New York.

Obstacles to Clean Energy in NY

  1. Title: Accelerating Large-Scale Wind and Solar Energy in New York Source:https://www.nature.org/content/dam/tnc/nature/en/documents/accelerating-large-scale-wind-and-solar-energy-in-new-york.pdf                                               Author: The Nature Conservancy and the Alliance for Clean Energy New York Publication Date: October 2017                                                                     Description: Detailed report by The Nature Conservancy and the Alliance for Clean Energy New York from Renewables On the Ground Roundtableidentifying “barriers and [issues] related to land use, agriculture, community engagement, environmental justice, and equity, regulations, taxation, economics, and transmission, and potential solutions to accelerate development of large-scale renewables.”
  2. Title: Breaking Down the Barriers to Siting Renewable Energy in New York State 
    Source: https://nylcvef.org/wp-content/uploads/2019/02/renewable-siting-whitepaper.pdf
    Author: Cullen Howe, New York League of Conservation Voters Education Fund 
    Publication Date: N/A
    Description: Detailed report explaining the Article 10 process and exploring challenges to siting including the absence of standard comprehensive plan elements or zoning requirements, limited access to transmission grids, and the prioritization of farmlands and fisheries. 

Legal Guides

  1. Title: The Law of Solar: A Guide to Business and Legal Issues(5thed.)                 Source: http://files.stoel.com/files/books/LawofSolar.PDF                                    Author: Stoel Rives LLP                                                                                      Publication Date: Sept 2017                                                                              Description: Guidebook exploring a wide range of topics relevant to solar energy siting. While the guide was prepared by a firm from the Northwest and consequently references cases relevant to that geographic area, the materials are generally applicable. 

  2. Title: The Law of Wind: A Guide to Business and Legal Issues (8thed.) 
    Source: https://files.stoel.com/files/books/LawofWind.PDF
    Author: Stoel Rives LLP 
    Publication Date: February 2018
    Description: Guidebook exploring a wide range of topics relevant to wind energy siting. While the guide was prepared by a firm from the Northwest and consequently references cases relevant to that geographic area, the materials are generally applicable. 

  3. Title: Wind Health Impacts Dismissed in Court 
    Source:https://www.energyandpolicy.org/wind-health-impacts-dismissed-in-court/(PDF file from resource folder)
    Author: Mike Barnard, Energy and Policy Institute 
    Publication Date: August 2014
    Description: Report assessing legal cases in five English-speaking countries pertaining to wind energy. The intent is to provide clarity in assessing potential legal liability, and to identify the weaknesses of evidence and expertise that are common in health-related suits against wind farms.The precedence of past legal cases shows health claims against wind energy have not been substantiated in court. 
     

 

Solar Siting in the U.S. 

  1. Title: Solar Powering Your Community: A Guide for Local Governments (2nded.)[1] 
    Source: https://www1.eere.energy.gov/solar/pdfs/47692.pdf
    Author: US Department of Energy; Solar America Communities 
    Publication Date: January 2011
    Description: Comprehensive guidance document assisting municipalities in implementing solar. Includes examples and model case studies, as well as information on benefits of solar technology, the process of organizing support for a local solar effort, the financial costs involved, and “leading by example” with installations on government properties. 

  2. Title: Planning for Solar Energy 
    Source: https://www.growsolar.org/wp-content/uploads/2014/10/Planning-for-Solar-Energy-2014_PAS-575.pdf
    Author: American Planning Association 
    Publication Date: N/A
    Description: Policy guide exploring the U.S. solar market, community engagement and prioritization, land development regulation, and other relevant factors in both the public and private sectors. 

  3. Title: End-of-life Considerations for Solar Photovoltaics 
    Source: https://www.seia.org/sites/default/files/2019-04/SEIA-EOL-Considerations-PV-Factsheet_April2019.pdf
    Author: Solar Energy Industries Association 
    Publication Date: April 2019 
    Description: Fact sheet explaining the various options for responsible replacement or decommissioning of PV systems.  

  4. Title: Agrivoltaics: Solar Panels on Farms Could be a Win-Win
    Source: http://civileats.com/2019/01/22/agrivoltaics-solar-panels-on-farms-could-be-a-win-win/
    Author: Sarah Shemkus, Civil Eats
    Publication Date: January 2019
    Description: News article profiling dual-use solar installations in Massachusetts that allow for growth of crops and animals while generating clean energy. While still in early stages of development, results suggest that some vegetables produced around 60% the volume they would in full sun, and a dual-use system offered around 50% of power generation capacity of a conventional solar system. The Massachusetts solar company installing the trial dual-use systems estimates that the systems pay for themselves in about 8 years. 

Wind Siting in the U.S.

  1. Title: Planning and Zoning for Wind Energy                                                            Source: https://planning-org-uploaded-media.s3.amazonaws.com/legacy_resources/research/wind/pdf/pas566.pdf           Author: American Planning Association, National Renewable Energy Laboratory, American Wind Energy Association, and Clarion Associates                          Publication Date: November 2011                                                                  Description: Comprehensive document by the American Planning Association  discussing the benefits of wind energy technology, case studies of successful wind energy implementation, and the considerations behind implementing utility-scale wind energy at the local level.

  2. Title: A strong relative preference for wind turbines in the United States among those who live near them
    Source: https://rdcu.be/brELn
    Author: Jeremy Firestone, Hannah Kirk                                                             Publication Date: April 2019                                                                            Description: Article assessing a publicly-available dataset from a Lawrence Berkeley National Lab study in order to determine the preferences of people living in close proximity to wind power projects. Notably, the analysis showed that around 90% of people living within 8 kilometers of a wind turbine preferred the presence of the wind project to the siting of a centralized power plant a similar distance away.

  3. Title: National Survey of Attitudes of Wind Power Project Neighbors: Summary of Results 
    Source:https://emp.lbl.gov/sites/default/files/paw_summary_results_for_web_page_v6.pdf(PDF file from resource folder)
    Author: Lawrence Berkeley Laboratory
    Publication Date: January 2018
    Description: Summary of results from five separate areas of research related to public reactions to wind power projects. The findings cover areas including present attitude toward local wind projects, perceived planning process fairness, and annoyance to sound.

  4. Title: Wind Energy Benefits 
    Source: https://www.nrel.gov/docs/fy15osti/62823.pdf(PDF file from resource folder)
    Author: U.S. Department of Energy
    Publication Date: January 2015
    Description: Fact-sheet listing the advantages of wind energy, including low operating costs, widespread use in the U.S., and cost-competitiveness in comparison to other fuel sources. 

Property

  1. Title: Wind Turbines, Amenities, and Disamenities: A Study of Home Value Impacts in Densely Populated Massachusetts 
    Source:https://emp.lbl.gov/publications/wind-turbines-amenities-and(PDF file from resource folder)
    Author: Ben Hoen and Carol Atkinson-Palombo, Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory
    Publication Date: February 2016
    Description: Study investigating the effect of planned or operating wind turbines on urban home values. Although the study found the effects from various negative features (such as electricity transmission lines) and positive features (such as open space) generally accorded with previous studies, it found no net effects due to turbines in these communities. The study also found no unique impact on the rate of home sales near wind turbines.
     
  2. Title: Relationship between Wind Turbines and Residential Property Values in Massachusetts
    Source:https://www.masscec.com/relationship-between-wind-turbines-and-residential-property-values-massachusetts (PDF file from resource folder)
    Author: Carol Atkinson-Palombo, Ben Hoen, Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory  
    Publication Date: January 2014
    Description: Study investigating the effect of wind turbines on property values. The results do not support the claim that wind turbines affect nearby home prices. Although the study found the effects from a variety of negative features (such as electricity transmission lines and major roads) and positive features (such as open space and beaches) generally accorded with previous studies, the study found no net effects due to the arrival of turbines in the sample’s communities.Weak evidence suggests that the announcement of the wind facilities had a modest adverse impact on home prices, but those effects were no longer apparent after turbine construction and eventual operation commenced. The analysis also showed no unique impact on the rate of home sales near wind turbines.
     
  3. Title: The effect of wind farms on house prices 
    Source: https://cdn.ymaws.com/www.renewableuk.com/resource/resmgr/publications/reports/ruk-cebr-study.pdf(PDF file from resource folder)
    Author: RenewableUK
    Publication Date: March 2014
    Description: Study examining whether wind farms have an effect on the value of residential properties within a 5km radius of the site. Notably, there is no evidence to suggest that there was a long-term negative impact on house prices, either during the period of construction or post completion of the wind farms. 
     
  4. Title: The Windy City: Property Value Impacts of Wind Turbines in an Urban Setting 
    Source:https://digitalcommons.uri.edu/enre_facpubs/11/(PDF file from resource folder)
    Author: Corey Lang, James Opaluch, George Sfinarolakis
    Publication Date: March 2014
    Description: Study examining the impact of wind turbines on house values in Rhode Island, where single turbines have been built in relatively high population areas.Across a wide variety of specifications, the results suggest that wind turbines have no statistically significant negative impacts on house prices, in either the post public announcement phase or post construction phase. Further, the lower bound of statistically possible impacts is still outweighed by the positive externalities generated from CO2 mitigation.
     
  5. Title: A Spatial Hedonic Analysis of the Effects of Wind Energy Facilities on Surrounding Property Values in the United States 
    Source: https://emp.lbl.gov/sites/all/files/lbnl-6362e.pdf(PDF file from resource folder)
    Author: Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory, U.S. Department of Energy 
    Publication Date: August 2013
    Description: Study on the effects of wind energy facilities on surrounding home values through collection of a large data sample and use of methods that account for confounding factors and spatial dependence. Across all model specifications, the study found no statistical evidence that home prices near wind turbines were affected in either the post-construction or post-announcement/preconstruction periods.
     
  6. Title: The Effects of Wind Farms on Residential Property Values in Lee County, Illinois 
    Source:https://pdfs.semanticscholar.org/e87b/ed29e465f78a7fecceac9fb83ec29adeb327.pdf(PDF file from resource folder)
    Author: Jason Carter, Illinois State University 
    Publication Date: Spring 2011
    Description: Study utilizing a hedonic price model to assess the impacts on 1,298 real estate transactions in Lee County (which has experienced significant wind energy development over the last decade) from 1998 to 2010.  The analysis indicates that residential properties located near wind turbines in Lee County have not been affected by their presence.
     
  7. Title: Wind Farm Announcements and Rural Home Prices: Maxwell Ranch and Rural Northern Colorado 
    Source:http://www.josre.org/wp-content/uploads/2012/09/wind-farm-announcements-and-rural-home-prices-maxwell-ranch-and-rural-northern-colorado.pdf(PDF file from resource folder)
    Author: Steven P. Laposa and Andrew Mueller 
    Publication Date: 2010
    Description: This study examines the announcement effect of a proposed wind farm development on an 11,000-acre ranch in Northern Colorado on surrounding rural housing prices. This study analyzes 2,910 single family home transactions in two rural census tracts adjacent to the proposed wind farm prior to, and after the wind farm announcement. The results account for the timing of the announcement in March 2007, which coincided with the beginning of national and regional housing price declines, and still shows insignificant and minimal impacts to surrounding home values and sales, adjusted for the economic recession, after the announcement.
     
  8. Title: Wind Farm Proximity and Property Values: A Pooled Hedonic Regression Analysis of Property Values in Central Illinois 
    Source:https://puc.sd.gov/commission/dockets/electric/2017/el17-055/exhibit4.pdf(PDF file from resource folder)
    Author: J. L. Hinman 
    Publication Date: May 2010 
    Description: Study examining whether proximity to the 240-turbine, Twin Groves wind farm (Phases I and II) in eastern McLean County, Illinois, has impacted nearby residential property values and whether any impact on nearby property values remains constant over different stages of wind farm development with the different stages corresponding to different levels of risk as perceived by nearby property owners. This study is the first wind farm proximity and property value study to adopt pooled hedonic regression analysis with difference-in-differences estimators. This methodology significantly improves upon many of the methodologies found in the wind farm proximity and property value literature. The study finds some evidence that supports wind farm anticipation stigma theory and the results strongly reject the existence of wind farm area stigma theory.   
     
  9. Title: The Impact of Wind Power Projects on Residential Property Values in the United States: A Multi-Site Hedonic Analysis 
    Source: https://emp.lbl.gov/publications/impact-wind-power-projects(PDF file from resource folder)
    Author: Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory, U.S. Department of Energy 
    Publication Date: December 2009
    Description: Report investigating the potential impact of wind projects on residential property values through the use of a hedonic pricing model.Based on the data sample and analysis presented here, no evidence is found that home prices surrounding wind facilities are consistently, measurably, and significantly affected by either the view of wind facilities or the distance of the home to those facilities.  Although the analysis cannot dismiss the possibility that individual homes or small numbers of homes have been or could be negatively impacted, it finds that if these impacts do exist, they are either too small and/or too infrequent to result in any widespread, statistically observable impact.

Siting Renewable Energy Technology, Generally, in the U.S

  1. Title: Legal Pathways for a Massive Increase in Utility-Scale Renewable Generation Capacity
    Source: http://columbiaclimatelaw.com/files/2017/06/Legal-Pathways-for-a-Massive-Increase-in-Utility-Scale-Renewable-Generation-Capacity.pdf
    Author: Michael Gerrard, Sabin Center for Climate Change Law
    Publication Date: Summer 2017
    Description: Article discussing the four most important legal processes and obstacles involved in the transition to renewable energy technology: site acquisition and approval, the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA), state and local approvals, and species protection laws. It also presents recommendations for lowering the obstacles and briefly discusses corollary actions that are also needed.
     
  2. Title: Siting Renewable Generation: The Northeast Perspective
    Source: https://americaspowerplan.com/wp-content/uploads/2017/03/NortheastSitingPerspective_SteinOBoyle.pdf
    Author: Eleanor Stein & Mike O’Boyle, America’s Power Plan 
    Publication Date: March 2017
    Description: Policy paper exploring the need for renewable energy in the Northeast and suggesting solutions to land use complications that preclude siting, including the following recommendations: acceleration of the development of offshore wind, mandatory bulk-system and distribution system planning to reduce the need for additional generation and transmission, proactive engagement with communities to build local support for renewable generation, and increase in international imports of clean energy.
  3. Title: Re-Powering Benefits Matrix                                                                                             Sourcehttps://www.epa.gov/re-powering/re-powering-benefits-matrix                       Publication Date: December 2019                                                                    Description: Communities across the country are creating jobs and stimulating economic growth by developing renewable energy projects on contaminated lands. RE-Powering America’s Lands Initiative tracks the economic and environmental benefits associated with completed sites, as identified and reported by parties directly involved with their respective projects. Common benefits reported include revenues from land leases and taxes, electricity cost savings associated with the reduced need to purchase power from the grid, job creation, and reduced greenhouse gas emissions. This resource is for informational purposes only and may not be a comprehensive list of all benefits realized by completed projects on contaminated lands.

Media Highlights

Sample RELDI Matters

Client: Win with Wind

Description: The South Fork Wind Farm project would be 15 turbines stationed 35 miles off the coast of Long Island and is expected to produce 130 megawatts of energy. Win with Wind is a group of South Fork residents who support the project because they wish to see their community become a clean energy leader. RELDI acts as legal counsel to Win with Wind in the Public Service Commission proceeding regarding one piece of the Project, a submarine transmission cable that will bring the electricity from the wind turbines to a landing site onshore.

Status: Pending

ClientFriends of Flint Mine Solar

Description: The Flint Mine Solar project is a 100-megawatt solar photovoltaic facility proposed to be located in the towns of Coxsackie and Athens, New York. Friends of Flint Mine is a group of local farmers, landowners and residents who believe the solar project will benefit their community. In 2019 RELDI represented Friends of Flint Mine in challenging the Town of Coxsackie's ban on solar projects in residential and agricultural zones. Although the Superior Court ruled in favor of the town, the Flint Mine Solar Project could still be approved through the New York State process for siting energy projects. RELDI now represents the Friends in the statewide process before the New York State Board on Electric Generation Siting and the Environment

Status: Pending

ClientCitizens for Agricultural Rights and Renewable Energy

Description: Citizens for Agricultural Rights and Renewable Energy (CARRE) is a community group in Madison County, Iowa, that supports wind energy because of its environmental and economic benefits. RELDI wrote a letter to the Madison County Board of Supervisors on behalf of CARRE advocating for a wind energy ordinance that would allow for sensible siting of wind turbines. RELDI also filed an amicus brief, on behalf of CARRE, to support Madison County in a lawsuit challenging the approval of a 250-megawatt wind farm. Madison County Coalition for Scenic Preservation v. Zoning Board of Adjustment of Madison County (Iowa Supreme Court). RELDI is grateful for the support of our local colleagues the Iowa Environmental Council and Channing Dutton of Lawyer, Lawyer, Dutton & Drake

Status: Pending

Clients: Kevin Erf & Tom Yingling

Description: The Emerson Creek Wind Farm is a proposed onshore wind energy facility to be constructed in Huron and Erie Counties in Ohio. If constructed, the facility would produce 300 megawatts of energy. RELDI intervened in a proceeding on the proposed wind farm before the Ohio Power Siting Board on behalf of two local farmers who support the facility. RELDI is grateful for the support of our local colleague Philip J. Leppla of Leppla Associates, Ltd.

Status: Pending