Check out Al Maiorino’s published articles appearing in numerous industry magazines around the world.
The commitment to renewable energy targets has been a pillar of progressive climate policies in many countries for years. However, with the help of the Sierra Club’s “Ready for 100” campaign, now many U.S. cities are moving beyond rhetoric on the national level to take real action in the form of a commitment to power 100 percent of the community’s electricity needs with renewable energy by 2050.
Builders and developers need to assess their strategy of building public support to counter local opposition to residential and multi-use projects, as the outcome for a smooth entitlement of their projects will otherwise be at risk.
The State of Wyoming produces more coal than any other state in the nation, but if one global wind turbine manufacturer gets its wish, the state may just be forced to turn its attention to wind energy. According to a New York Times article written by Diane Cardwell, Goldwind, headquartered in China, is making an attempt to attract coal miners in Wyoming into the wind industry.
The new offshore wind turbines at the Burbo Bank Extension Wind Farm in Liverpool Bay can power a single home for 29 hours with just one rotation. Dubbed the “world’s biggest wind turbines,” the new MHI Vestas turbines are 8 MW each, which is more than double the capacity of the 3.6 MW turbines installed at Burbo Bank less than a decade ago.
GE Renewable Energy has been granted approval to begin construction for a unique project, set to be built in Red Lake Falls, Minnesota later this year. The project has been referred to as a cohesive solar wind hybrid project that will be the first of its kind in the United States. Leaders of GE Renewable strongly believe that it will open doors for more like it to come.
It seems the US is finally being blown away with the idea of wind power. At last traditional forms of energy are being reviewed and clean, sustainable wind energy is being taken seriously. There is to be a 200 turbine windfarm off the coast of Long Island. “Today is a big day for clean energy in New York and our nation. Governor Cuomo has set a bold vision for a clean energy future, and this project is a significant step toward making that a reality.
It is evident that when any sort of renewable project is presented, public opposition often follows. Despite the job opportunities, tax revenue and renewable energy the proposed project may bring, protestors dedicate considerable time and effort to halt renewable projects. Ultimately, these protests make it very difficult for companies to gain approval and move forward with construction.
When any type of renewable project is presented, it is often associated with public opposition, making it more difficult to gain approvals on time, or at all. In many cases, a plan will be well underway, before being shut down due to protests, and other various factors. Despite what the disapprovals may be, it is not too difficult at times to bring a project to a standstill.
With each passing year, it seems many countries set higher benchmarks for renewable energy generation as the pace quickens towards reaching the goals previously set. As pressure mounts from a political standpoint to prioritize clean power sources, citizens are presented with greater opportunities to learn about the benefits of industry growth.
An unexpected victory by President Elect Donald Trump has left many in the renewable energy industry asking how new leadership will impact the industry in the United States. On a national scale, advocacy for a sustainable path forward could easily see a shift in messaging, from emphasis on overall reduction of carbon emissions to jobs and economic growth as a basis for expansion of the industry.
Any renewable company or project manager that has navigated the entitlement process understands that it is a fragile process dotted with uncertainties of local politics and public perception.
Society is currently undergoing a shift in many ways from traditional sources of energy to renewable sources of energy to become more sustainable. Although many positive factors come into play regarding the innovative approaches companies propose for their renewable energy developments, projects can still face substantial opposition and must build public support to counter it.
Newton’s First Law of Physics states that an object will remain at rest or in uniform motion in a straight line unless acted upon by an external force. In a sense, this foundation can be applied to the inertia of the permitting world for new renewable energy projects.
While development in general is on the rise in many places across the globe due to economic growth, the successful outcome of renewable proposals is not guaranteed everywhere. Recent changes to renewable energy policies in Scotland, for example, are leaving the industry there with a great deal of uncertainty.
Traditionally from the outset, development proposals are not always launched through a formal announcement by the companies that are proposing them. For many renewable companies, informational resources such as an individual project website, social media pages and collateral related specifically to the new project may initially seem excessive.
Exploratory geothermal drilling is underway in several Caribbean countries, generating new excitement for the potential advances that development in the industry could bring.
In the United States alone, wind power supported a record 88,000 jobs at the start of 2016 according to the new U.S. Wind Industry Annual Report released in April by the American Wind and Energy Association.
Bhutan is small a country nestled between India and China that is making big waves for its commitment to sustainability. It currently harnesses the power of wind and hydropower, but Bhutan is looking for even more ways to expand generation of clean energy.
In the proposal process for any new facilities project, a variety of factors must be taken into consideration, ranging from the availability of suitable labor to the cost of relocating or purchasing new equipment. However, one factor that is vital to the success of the project yet is often overlooked is the public perception of the proposed project and corresponding need to build public support.
The city of Bonn, West Germany's former capital, recently was named a leader in the effort to reduce greenhouse gas emissions. In a study published by the NGO Climate Without Borders, the city's utility company, Stadtwerke Bonn, ranked first among 20 major German municipal utility companies in their responsible use of renewable energies and the efforts to reduce carbon dioxide emissions.
With the close of the Paris Conference on Climate Change, a renewed focus has been placed on expanding the usage of renewable energy resources throughout the globe. As 2016 progresses, many political leaders and heads of state have publicly reaffirmed their commitment to this goal.
In 2015, the United States experienced its third city’s attempt to move to 100 percent renewables. Aspen, Colorado, now joins Burlington, Vermont, and Greensburg, Kansas, as the only cities to achieve 100 percent renewable energy generation in the nation. With the precedent set, one can only assume that new cities will aim to catch up in 2016. As demand for new renewable sources continues to increase, companies must use innovative strategies to make outreach to communities and build the public support needed for local officials’ approval of the new projects.
In September, I detailed the reasons why building public support for wind proposals in Lancaster County, Nebraska, should not be a “Plan B.” Just a few short months later, the County Board has adopted tough noise restrictions on wind turbines, reducing the standard noise limit from 50 to 40 decibels of noise during the day. Similarly, in Boone County, Illinois, a setback was applied to turbines, which now must be placed 2,640 feet from a property line. While these noise limits and setbacks are not outright defeats of any specific proposal during its own individual approval process, companies should be cautious of the manner in which these can derail existing and future proposals.
Geothermal energy is expanding as a sustainable power source, but the growing industry is still not without its barriers, even amongst the top geothermal producing countries. One such country, Japan, has grown its geothermal energy production to 520 MW, making it the world’s third largest producer. However, with many projects either conceptualized or underway, various barriers that cause public opposition are still slowing down the country’s geothermal momentum. Companies across the globe can help to secure this industry growth by building public support right from the time of project announcement.
The islands of the Caribbean are not only some of the most popular tourist destinations, but they are also economically and ecologically diverse regions with growing energy needs. The strength of each island’s tourism industry, which comprises a large portion their gross domestic product, is largely supported by the beautiful ecology that attracts visitors to their shores time and time again.