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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.

So far in 2019, it’s been a banner year for clean energy at the state level, as lawmakers across the U.S. mandate significant increases in renewable energy use as part of efforts to decarbonize and combat climate change. New York, Maine, Colorado and New Mexico, for example, have all passed legislation that calls for dramatic emissions reductions in the coming decades. Those demands will send developers scrambling to snap up more sites to build the needed infrastructure — a push that will only increase age-old local concerns over large-scale development.


“The more we push renewable energy, the more the sites become more marginal,” said Blank Rome LLP energy development partner Fred Lowther, who works on solar and onshore and offshore wind projects. “Right now, the industry is picking the optimal sites.”

“States’ Green Goals May Fuel Clean Energy Land-Use Fights,” by Keith Goldberg was published in Law360 on August 5, 2019.